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Graph Storytelling with Studio 2.0.0

By Bob Briody -  June 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

One sign of great data visualization is that you can quickly and accurately interpret the data without having to think much about the mechanics of the visualization itself. In Studio 2.0.0 we added a few features to the Graph View that enable this type of seamless storytelling.

Let’s begin with a simple example graph that represents the fantastic Studio Development Team.


Each vertex represents a member of the team, and each edge represents a reports_to relationship. By default, Studio assigns color to each vertex based on its Label (which you can think of as it’s “type”). In Studio 2.0.0 we added the ability to style vertices by their property values using the new “Color By” and “Size By” features. For example, let’s imagine that we want to learn a little bit about where the members of the Studio team are originally from. Here’s the same graph, only this time the vertices are colored by the country_of_origin property. This makes it easy to see the network structure and country_of_origin simultaneously.

country_of_origin is a categorical variable, so each unique value is assigned an arbitrary color. Studio can also assign size and color to continuous scalar values using a linear scale. For example, let’s use the "Size By" feature to set the vertex size based on how long each of the Studio team members have worked at DataStax.

The bigger the vertex, the longer that person has worked at DataStax. This is pretty good, but perhaps we can do even better. Let’s see what happens when we also assign color by the days_at_datastax property using a linear scale.

Nice! Now we have 2 dimensions, size and color, working together to help us quickly compare how long each team member has been at DataStax. The bigger and “hotter” the vertex, the longer they have been with the company.

This visualization does a great job of providing rough comparative info at a glance while still showing the network structure, but what if we need even more detail about the days_at_datastax values? For precise comparison of scalar values, the tried-and-true bar chart is tough to beat. Let’s see what happens when we use Studio’s dynamic charting capabilities in concert with the graph view for total clarity.

That’s pretty nice. The graph view conveys the network structure along with a rough comparison of days_at_datastax, and the bar chart provides a definitive secondary reference. Studio also enables you to mouse-over each bar or vertex to see the exact value of days_at_datastax. Lastly, this wasn’t a competition, but congrats to Jim Bisso anyway!


As you just saw, sometimes the best way to tell the story is with some simple shapes. However, there are also cases where you just can’t beat the interpretability of some well-chosen icons. In Studio 2.0.0 we added the ability to assign Font Awesome Icons to vertices based on their Label (i.e. type), and we think it can add a great deal of clarity in certain situations. To highlight this, let’s take a look at two renderings of the same graph.

As you can see, the icons greatly reduce the amount of thought required to identify the label of each vertex, and that’s what good data visualization is all about. Studio 2.0.0 hasn’t been out for very long, but users are already creating exceptional presentations and instructionals using the new Icon feature.

We sincerely hope that you will enjoy using these new features in Studio 2.0.0. We sure had a great time building them. Happy coding!

Click here to download DataStax Studio 2.0.0.

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