Medium open sources a data visualization tool that’s pretty handy


Web publishing startup Medium has open sourced a tool, called Charted, that it built to visualize data within the company. There’s a web version that anyone can use — as long as your data is stored in Dropbox or Google Drive (it requires a URL) and has the proper sharing settings — and the code is available on GitHub for anyone that wants to host a version locally.

The description of Charted on the Medium blog post announcing it is accurate and fair:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]To focus on that single step?—?turning some data into a simple chart?—?we built Charted with a few core principles.

1. Charted does not store any data.
It only fetches and visualizes what the link provides. It also refetches the data every 30 minutes, so the chart is always up-to-date.

2. Charted does not transform or manipulate data.
It displays only and exactly what it receives. Any necessary calculations or adjustments must already be reflected in the data.

3. Charted is not a formatting tool. 
It is deliberately sparse in features. Charted focuses on getting from the data to the visualization with the fewest decisions possible.

The resulting tool has only a few (optional) features, so anyone can just plug in the link and go.[/blockquote]

Here’s what a chart of the career statistics for baseball’s top 50 homerun hitters looks like on Charted.

hrsThe charts are interactive online and the links are shareable (you can see this one here), but the charts are not embeddable, which would be nice.  For a free tool, though, Charted does what it does quickly and easily, which is good for people who have simple data they just want to see as a visualization rather than a spreadsheet. And because it’s open source, anyone who wants to flesh it out a bit for their own purposes can have at it.

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