Monday, February 12, 2007

Edward Tufte's "Beautiful Evidence", Sparklines & CSVPNG

Edward Tufte is out with a new and inspirational book: Beautiful Evidence which includes a full chapter on the idea of sparklines - small word like graphic elements that can be integrated fully with text and that allow for massive amounts of statistical data to be presented in a compact format that encourages comparison between elements.

Not many software tools are yet available to help create the sparkline graphical elements. One exception is the T4 & Friends utility: CSVPNG that we have talked about in previous posts. CSVPNG has some introduced some new basic capabilities that can let you experiment with creating your own sparklines without having to write all the code yourself. The latest version of CSVPNG can be downloaded from the Trends That Matter download page


Jim Duff said...

Hi Steve. Actually, there has been a bunch of work done based on sparklines, particularly by Joe Gregorio. There are libraries for generating them in at least the following languages: python, php, ruby, java, javascript, perl, and (gasp) excel.

There is a good list of external links at the Wikipedia Sparkline page.

Steve Lieman said...

Thanks for the pointers to the sparkline links on the wikipedia page. These are most helpful.