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JavaScript Cookbook, 2nd Edition by Shelley Powers

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Chapter 16. Data Visualizations and Client/Server Graphics

Graphics capability with JavaScript has changed significantly in the last few years. Thanks to an increase in support for both SVG and Canvas in the primary browsers and other environments, libraries to support effects related to both have increased in quantity and complexity. And the support doesn’t end at the two-dimensional either.

An issue, though, with graphics is that today’s hot item typically becomes tomorrow’s aged and no longer supported library. A few years back, using the Canvas object to add effects to static images was very big, but libraries that supported such effort aren’t receiving the interest they once did and are no longer being actively supported. Even the support for WebGL and 3D, which are only now receiving broader support in browsers, seems to be peaking before it has begun.

However, one area of advanced graphics usage has already transcended the fad stage, and that’s data visualization. Being able to present data in a visually compelling manner is never going out of style, and because of the broad support for Canvas, SVG, and WebGL, has a natural fit in the web page. People appreciate getting a graphical representation of data—they like to be able to see the data at a glance. Thankfully, we now have a host of tools and libraries that make data visualization more of a fun and interesting challenge, than the tedious, overly complex job it could be.

Data visualization isn’t the only new avenue of creativity ...

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