HTML5 Graphing and Data Visualization Cookbook

HTML5 Graphing and Data Visualization Cookbook by Ben Fhala
$44.99 at Amazon

Although I’ve been using HTML5 for a few years now, I haven’t yet done much with the Canvas, the new drawing element. Having started, it reminds me of nothing so much as moving the turtle around in the old Logo programming language.

In HTML5 Graphing and Data Visualization Cookbook, we start out by learning to create basic shapes in Canvas, with the gimmick of creating various national flags. This takes up only the first two chapters of the book, as it is presumed that the reader is already comfortable with HTML and JavaScript; the remaining eight chapters involve creating and using maps, graphs, and charts, both simple and animated. Towards the end of the book, we actually get into using the Google Maps API to overlay our data onto a world map.

In each chapter, we start by typing in some new code and run it; after that, the book discusses what the code is doing. I liked the format because you see results right away – each code segment is relatively short – and then after seeing what happens, you see how it works. I also liked the little mathematical explanations and programming asides that pop up here and there. The chapter organization also makes it easy to jump to the section of the book you’re interested in, so I think this will make a good reference.

There were two things that irritated me about this book. The first was that the spacing in code is a little odd, with extra spaces where I wouldn’t expect to see them and no space where I do expect one. This doesn’t affect how the code works, but it’s a little distracting. The book is also written in a fairly informal manner, complete with smileys; at times I felt like I was reading blog posts rather than a professional programming book. That said, neither of those really takes away from the usability of the book, and are more a matter of personal preference than anything else. For the topic this book covers, I haven’t seen anything better.

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book.

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This entry was posted by William on Saturday, August 31st, 2013 at 9:00 pm and is filed under Technical . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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