Frankie goes to graph

Back in early 2013 I was working on a very cool project building a survey system. I was the Senior Technical Lead of a team of 5 devs, 2 BAs, 2 testers and a PM. We were all scattered around on a particular floor as there were plans for the team to move upstairs to a new and secure area but contract negotiations with building management were taking longer than expected! At the time I was sitting in a pod of 4, next to another developer in my team and two developers from another team, working on a different project.

An interesting and amuzing story

I'd become friendly with all members of the pod but particularly connected with Alister (with an 'e') as we shared a similar sense of humour. Our desks faced towards the walkway most people took to get to the kitchen (to make a cup of tea, grab their lunch, etc.). During the weeks of April and May 2013 a curious thing occurred. An employee of the same company (let's call him Frankie) began passing our desk to and from the kitchen with surprising frequency. Added to this, each time he passed, he would try to make eye contact, give a big smile or even say 'hi'!

Frankie seemed like a lovely guy but when you're a developer, long uninterrupted periods of time are crucial to being effective and immersing oneself in complex problems.

Now don't get me wrong, Frankie seemed like a lovely guy but when you're a developer, long uninterrupted periods of time are crucial to being effective and immersing oneself in complex problems. Now the frequent passes made by Frankie, albeit seemingly good natured, became rather disruptive to our concentration!

Now these passes continued for three weeks during the latter part of April. So on Wednesday 1st May 2013, I decided to record the passes each day to gather some hard data on this interesting phenomenon. I did this for the whole month of May - my findings are presented graphically to the right and below :-)

Chartist.js

Google Charts

D3.js

Charting libraries

This gave me a good excuse to investigate some javascript charting libraries I've been keen to play with.

After some googling into the free javascript charting libraries available, I decided to have a play the following:

Chartist.js

A very easy to use library with some interesting options. Creates good looking charts/graphs that are responsive and even allow you to do some funky animation (using CSS3).

Google Charts

As you'd expect from Google, there framework is functional, snazzy and well documented. Has the usual quirks and long method names but you're able to generate some decent looking graphs/charts.

Ember.js

Simple, open-source framework. Was easy to use, the graphs look decent and are customisable. Not as professional looking as Chartist.js or as details API as Google Charts but definitely worth having in your arsenal when you need to display graphs with little effort!