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Touring examples of data visualization

From: Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data

Video: Touring examples of data visualization

This course is really about two things. First of all, it's about the Drupal software of course, but just as importantly it's about the organization of information. That is how to take what you already have and put it in forms that make sense and are easy to understand. Let's take a look at a few examples of data organization. Some of these won't be Drupal sites although all of them could be replicated using Drupal. I think a quick tour of popular sites will give you an idea of how others have approached data presentation problems and will help you plan to get the best solutions for your site.

Touring examples of data visualization

This course is really about two things. First of all, it's about the Drupal software of course, but just as importantly it's about the organization of information. That is how to take what you already have and put it in forms that make sense and are easy to understand. Let's take a look at a few examples of data organization. Some of these won't be Drupal sites although all of them could be replicated using Drupal. I think a quick tour of popular sites will give you an idea of how others have approached data presentation problems and will help you plan to get the best solutions for your site.

We will start as everybody should with lynda.com. As you know, lynda.com has dozens and dozens of courses available and these all had to be arranged in some way. At the top we have these pop-up menus where you can choose by Subject, Product, Vendor and so forth. Let's just choose any subject. Oh, why don't we say Web Development and we get a list of varying products that are available for web development and all the courses that lynda.com offers for those products. This is an example where each product was actually tagged according to which subject it was in, so for AJAX, ASP, and of course Drupal these were all considered web development topics.

In addition to choosing by Subject, you could choose by Product or Vendor or by Author. So, for example, we can take a look here and see everything that Don Barnett has done. This is an example of taking some information and presenting it in several different ways. It's done by tagging each course, so this particular course for example might be tagged as Typography and Don Barnett and we'll show you how to do that in this course. Another example of data presentation is Google. If we do a search for something for example, oh let's say Drupal. We get a list of different web pages that mention Drupal in one way or another. What most people don't realize is that the Google Corporation had to figure out what information to present at any given time. So for example, on this first page after you have searched you see the title of the page, you see the URL and you see a very brief excerpt of information. Along with those, you can see additional links and in some cases you see subparts of that site if it's an important enough site.

This is once again an example of taking a large amount of data and presenting it in a useful way. In this case part of the criteria was that it be short enough so many hits could be displayed on one page. A third example of data presentation is eBay. Let's do a search for unicycle and we of course get hits of people who are selling unicycles and unicycling accessories. Once again choices had to be made as to what to show on this page. In this case, we get a picture, the title, the price, how long is left to bid on it and if you click through on any of these, you get a different set of information.

All of this is drawing data out of a database and choosing to present it in different ways depending on where you are coming from to see it. We will show you how to do that in this course as well. lynda.com, Google and eBay are all data driven sites that are mostly text-based with some graphics, however data can also appear in other forms, for example, as maps. Here is one example of a Drupal site that's presenting mapping information along with other sorts of data. It's for a real estate company in Phoenix and if we scroll down a little bit we see the map.

Now let's say that we want to see only products that are in the Goodyear area. We click on that little button and we see more information about the area, what things are available there, as well an outline around the map section that's specific to Goodyear. This is a fairly simple example, but with a bit of work Drupal can even turn out amazingly beautiful maps like these two by the Washington DC based company Development Seed. The Stumble Safely site correlates popular nightclubs and nightspots with areas of high crime. So you can decide whether you want to go there or not. Another site by Development Seed is called DC Bikes. In this case, it correlates bike thefts with different areas of the city. One more example. This site, Understand Rap, explains certain terms in rap music which you might not understand if you are not familiar with the culture, but it does more than just have a list of terms. It links up the terms with the artists and the albums and the location, so as we come down we see a map. We can click on say Dallas. Oh, Vanilla Ice, he is popular. Click on Vanilla Ice, see the albums that he has recorded, see any terms that are specific to him and then click through there and get more information. All of this incidentally is done on Drupal.

Obviously this very brief look at a few sites only scratches the surface. For example, we haven't talked much at all about charts and graphs and data visualization on the whole comprises a whole academic subject. But I hope this introduction gives you a sense of what's possible and I want to remind you that most of what you have seen here is possible in Drupal and in fact was done in Drupal.

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This video is part of

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Drupal 6: Online Presentation of Data

50 video lessons · 11242 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 12m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Reviewing requirements
      3m 35s
    3. Using the exercise files
      3m 11s
    4. Touring examples of data visualization
      4m 58s
  2. 27m 56s
    1. Planning data structure
      8m 26s
    2. Importing and manipulating data
      6m 40s
    3. Looking at Drupal's database
      6m 13s
    4. Deciding whether to store personal data as nodes or users
      6m 37s
  3. 1h 13m
    1. Understanding the Content Construction Kit (CCK)
      4m 57s
    2. Creating new content types with CCK
      7m 26s
    3. Hiding the Body field
      2m 46s
    4. Reflecting CCK field data in the Title field
      7m 28s
    5. Managing CCK field placement
      7m 34s
    6. Exploring CCK's other features
      8m 22s
    7. Using other CCK field types
      3m 25s
    8. Adding date information as a CCK field
      8m 43s
    9. Including images as CCK fields
      10m 23s
    10. Connecting content to existing nodes
      5m 58s
    11. Using taxonomies to categorize and group data
      5m 59s
  4. 53m 54s
    1. Understanding why views are useful
      6m 12s
    2. Using SimpleViews to create basic content views
      5m 49s
    3. Diving into the Views interface
      11m 16s
    4. Adding fields to a view
      7m 12s
    5. Understanding iconic controls in the Views interface
      7m 15s
    6. Surveying the Sort, Filter, and Field options in Views
      5m 40s
    7. Adding view displays as pages, blocks, and RSS feeds
      10m 30s
  5. 43m 34s
    1. Overriding default settings on view displays
      8m 56s
    2. Attaching more information to views
      10m 57s
    3. Improving view appearances with grid, list, and table formatting
      9m 20s
    4. Surveying other basic display settings in Views
      11m 3s
    5. Altering a view's appearance through CSS
      3m 18s
  6. 55m 8s
    1. Importing, exporting, and cloning views
      6m 9s
    2. Controlling access to views
      7m 19s
    3. Learning from built-in views
      5m 52s
    4. Creating views that aren't based on nodes
      10m 6s
    5. Extending views with arguments
      10m 17s
    6. Extending views with relationships
      7m 2s
    7. Going further with relationships
      8m 23s
  7. 46m 40s
    1. Understanding geographic data
      4m 26s
    2. Setting up the Location module
      16m 20s
    3. Entering geographic data with the Location module
      10m 10s
    4. Displaying basic maps with the GMap module
      6m 43s
    5. Integrating the GMap module with Views
      9m 1s
  8. 54m 21s
    1. Exporting data in tabular form
      11m 25s
    2. Planning with the calendar modules
      11m 31s
    3. Using the Charts module and Google Charts
      7m 11s
    4. Graphing data with Open Flash Chart
      4m 50s
    5. Making important data pop out with tag clouds
      7m 46s
    6. Putting it all together in an attractive package
      11m 38s
  9. 36s
    1. Conclusion
      36s

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