Parasol Resources

In my last post, I introduced Parasol: an open source, interactive parallel coordinates library for multi-objective decision making. For additional background on Parasol, check out the library’s webpage to view interactive example applications, the GitHub repo for documentation, and the paper [Raseman et al. (2019)] for a more rigorous overview of Parasol.

parasol-tutorial

A demonstration of Parasol features like linked plots and data tables, highlighting individual polylines, and brushing and marking data.

In this post, I will describe how to start making your own interactive visualizations with Parasol.

Parasol Wiki

The best place to look for Parasol resources is the wiki page on the GitHub repo. Here you will find the API documentation, an introduction to web development for Parasol, and step-by-step tutorials taking you through the app development process. Because the wiki is likely to grow over time, I won’t provide links to these resources individually. Instead, I’ll give an overview of these resources here but I encourage you to visit the wiki for the most up-to-date tutorials and documentation.

API

The Application Programming Interface (API) is a list of all the features of the Parasol library. If you want to know everything that Parasol can do, the API is the perfect reference. If you are just getting started, however, this can be overwhelming. If that is the case, go through the tutorials and come back to the API page when you want to take your apps to the next level.

Web Development Basics

Creating Parasol apps requires some level of web development knowledge, but to build simple apps, you only need to understand the basics of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Check out the web development tutorial on the wiki for an overview of those concepts.

Tutorials

To start developing right away, go through the tutorials listed on the wiki page. These posts take the user through how to create a minimal Parasol app, they touch on the primary features of the API, and more advanced topics like how to use HTML buttons and sliders to create more polished apps.

Creating shareable apps with JSFiddle

jsfiddle-tutorial-3-completed

Using JSFiddle to create shareable Parasol apps (without having to host them on a website)

I recently discovered JSFiddle–a sandbox tool for learning web development. Not only has JSFiddle made web development more accessible and easier for me to learn, but I realized its a great way to share Parasol apps in an efficient, informal way. Check out the tutorial on the wiki for more details and the following links to my own Parasol “fiddles”:

Give it a try!

As I’ve said before, check out Parasol and give us your feedback. If you think this library is valuable, submit an Issue or Star the GitHub repo, or write a comment below. We are open to new ideas and features about how Parasol can better suit the needs of developers.

References

Raseman, William J., Joshuah Jacobson, and Joseph R. Kasprzyk. “Parasol: An Open Source, Interactive Parallel Coordinates Library for Multi-Objective Decision Making.” Environmental Modelling & Software 116 (June 1, 2019): 153–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.03.005.

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