GSoC 2017-netjsongraph.js milestone 2

After a month of efforts, netjsongraph.js has been greatly improved.
First, I added some API and options are compatible with previous versions, except those that can not be added to the WebGL element. Followed by updating the documentation and some examples so that users can better understand and try out our projects. Finally, I have optimized interaction and performance.

netjsongraph dark theme
netjsongraph dark theme

Interaction

  • added highlight effect on nodes and links when hovered.
  • added tooltips with node information
  • added pan and zoom interaction
  • added node and link information panel when clicked
  • adjust the size of the canvas when the window resized

Performance

The large part of the performance of force-directed layout is consumed in each element position calculation in every tick. So if the position calculation of the elements is before canvas rendering, it is effective to reduce the performance loss.
So I made a static layout https://github.com/netjson/netjsongraph.js/issues/44, there is no animation when rendering, directly render a static force-directed layout in the page.

Other

Besides, I have refactored the event controller, in order to make zoom and pan or other events added easily.
But now the overall rendering results are not good as our expected. There is a little lag in animation, I currently have no idea about the reason, perhaps because this is not best practice of three.js. In the next stage, I will focus on solving performance problems and improving the visual effect.

Next Plan

The links below may be useful:

  • http://taligarsiel.com/Projects/howbrowserswork1.htm
  • http://igoro.com/archive/what-really-happens-when-you-navigate-to-a-url/
  • https://github.com/alex/what-happens-when
  • https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/window/requestAnimationFrame

GSoC 2017-netjsongraph.js milestone 1

netjsongraph.js(GitHub) is a visualization library for NetJSON. During the first month, gratifying results have been achieved. I have done most tasks for the first stage of netjsongraph.json. Thanks for the nice mentor and this great chance to let me learn a lot of skill and techniques. Here are some results:

Minor version published

Npm is currently the largest open source package management community, it is very convenient for developers to release or iterative update netjsongraph.js.

Development workflow imporved

I have imported some modern front-end development tools to simplify the development process, including webpack (build tool), yarn (package management), babel, eslint, jest (test framework). Developer can run or test the project by one line command. all tools are advanced and familiar to JS developers, so they can contribute more easily.

Rewrited visualization by webGL

I had developed three demos with three different technologies: Sigma.js, Pixi.js and Three.js.
Sigma.js code looks very concise, but importing of its plugins (such as force layout plugin) in modern way is so hard. Pixi.js and Three.js I used it only to render d3 force layout. And three.js looks slow than Pixi.js but its slowness may caused by lines render way.
But I finally decide d3 4.0 and three.js is the best choice currently. Because they are both famous and iteration rapidly. Pixi.js is also great but it only support 2d render, so if we want to expand our visualisation to 3D in the future, we can only choose three.js. Three.js is a library which lightweight webGL packaging in order to avoid writing WebGL directly that is very hard and verbose.
Then I refactored the demo to a Class and write some API backward compatible, including function to fetch data, theme switching, autosize, metadata and nodedata panel and zoom, hover, click event handler. It looks like:
netjsongraph.js
Metadata and node data panel are on top left and right corner, force graph for Netjson visualization in the center.

Tests added

Some unit tests have beed added and CI has beed integrated by Travis and Coverall. Because I wrote tests rarely before, so I meet some trouble and read a lot docs and examples to learn how to write test and how to use Jest. One problem I’ve met is test failed when import object with WebGL renderer. I’ve send a issue: https://github.com/facebook/jest/issues/3905 .

Next stage

I will complete the compatible API in the next week, and below are tasks for next milestone:

  • add optional geographic map
  • add a way to redraw graph by supplying new data
  • add more interactions
  • improve force layout details

Conclusion

Next version which have more interaction and rendered by WebGL is comming soon. and it will be soon integrated in the brand new OpenWISP 2 Network Topology module.

During this period I learned a lot of things, including how to use git rebase, how to write commit messages more clearly, how to write test, KISS principles, worse is better principles and so on. Great thanks for GSoC, Freifunk and mentor Federico.

GSoC 2017-netjsongraph.js: visualization of NetJSON data

Project intro

NetJSON is a data format based on JSON(What is NetJSON?), and netjsongraph.js(GitHub) is a visualization library for it. This library has attracted quite some interest from around the world, but there are some defects, such as tests and modern build process lacking.

Therefore our goal is to improve the features and development workflow of netjsongraph.js. To be specific:

  • make it faster with large numbers
  • make it more mobile friendly
  • use modern tools that are familiar to JS developers, so they can contribute more easily
  • add automated tests so we can be more confident of introducing changes
  • get rid of complex features
  • make it easy to extend, so users can experiment and build their own derivatives
  • make it easy to redraw/update the graph as new data comes in, at least at the library level we should support this
  • geographic visualization (like https://ninux.nodeshot.org/ (nodeshot project)

Arrangement

About me

I’m a graduate student from China and also a front-end developer with more than one-year working experience. And now I am interested in the Data Visualization and already made several visualization projects of network structure. So lucky my proposal selected by Freifunk in Google Summer of Code 2017. It’s a great opportunity to participate in a promising open source project. Thanks for my mentor’s guidance and hope I can finish an excellent job. So I listed the following plan:

Tasks and Schedule

  • create a new branch: build the project with yarn, Webpack and Babel. 1 week
  • To build a (mostly) backward compatible version 1 week
  • draw a demo graph using canvas or WebGL. 2 week
  • make a example page to show visualization results. 1 week
  • add test(using Ava and XO) and CI. 1 week
  • discuss and design visualization view 1 week
  • import and integrate with OpenStreeMap or Mapbox to make a map. 1 week
  • visualization implemention. 8 weeks
  • beautify the visualization. 1 weeks
  • improve visualization and test. 4 weeks
  • design interface for plugin (to make this library extensible) *2 week