Review: 4 supercool JavaScript tools for data visualization

Free, open source D3, InfoViz, Processing.js, and Recline.js bring dynamic, interactive -- and jaw-dropping -- data-driven graphics to the Web browser

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A Widget view lets you build what other frameworks might simply call a widget. Widget views either display or control some aspect of a set of data. A Widget view would also be used to display or modify an application's generic data. The example given for a Widget view in the Recline.js documentation is QueryEditor, a control that lets you view and modify the current query state of a Dataset.

Recline.js's documentation consists of an overview page, which points you to more detailed explanations of Recline.js mechanics. The explanations are helpfully interleaved with code snippets. Although what's currently available is good, the documentation appears to be a work in progress. For example, though Widget Views are described briefly, the only real explanation you'll find is inside the source's documentation. Finally, a comprehensive glossary would be useful. I often encountered a term that I'm sure someone familiar with Recline.js understood immediately, but was mysterious to me.

Recline.js takes an almost relational view of the world. Its Dataset, Record, and Field components are entities that you would imagine finding in a relational database library.

Recline.js makes no bones about its being built on (and therefore requiring) other JavaScript frameworks. Specifically, Recline.js makes heavy use of Backbone.js -- a JavaScript framework that supplies entities that let you build MVP (model-view-presenter) applications. In turn, Backbone.js uses the utility JavaScript library Underscore.js.

Recline.js also enhances its back-end code with jQuery, as well as view code with libraries, including Leaflet, TimelineJS, and others. Recline.js is a marvelous example of incremental technology and code reuse. It stands on the shoulders of several powerful JavaScript libraries, inheriting and extending their capabilities.

Recline.js can display timeline data (bottom), coupled map view data (right), and other basic chart types.
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