Quartz Chartbuiler/Gneisschart is Open Sourced

Quick & Dirty Charts

Quartz, the innovative news site recently released a great tool for the public called Chartbuilder. The creator, David Yanofsky, announces the library.

If you blog or need to create Presentations, it's a great charting tool for non-technical users that need simple charts. It's much simpler to create than MS Office tools but doesn't come close to replacing it.

While it's too simple to be a great tool, it will assist in providing more sensible data visualizations than the nearly useless pie charts or 3D versions of other chart types you see on news sites.

There's a public version available for use or you can use it locally. I would like to see improvements to it after being open-sourced and would like to modify the tool to my liking since it uses D3.js.

Setting it up locally is super easy.

Here are two charts I created quickly.

Voter Turnout

Voter Turnout for the last four US Presidential Elections.

Length of my posts in reading time

Estimated length of my posts in reading minutes.

Issues with Chartbuilder

  • You have to refresh the page often if you are changing chart types, data or attributes.
  • The image and SVG tend to produce odd export dimensions, either getting cut off or producing too much white-space.
  • It's difficult to control with large data sets. It's great for small manageable data.
  • The chart doesn't expand or contract based on data so labels collide. Additionally the site layout doesn't allow the left panel to scroll potentially rendering it un-useable on small screens.
  • The script obviously isn't accounting for certain customizations and the controllable attributes are limited.

Since this tool uses D3.js it's totally possible to fix these bugs and missing features. I look forward to the challenge of fixing bugs and adding functionality.