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Location: San Diego, California, United States

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Data Loom for Windows

Yesterday I released the Windows version of Data Loom, my implementation of Alfred Inselberg's Parallel Coordinates visualization.

I was quite happy with the Mac version of the program, and the most important features from it translated perfectly well to Windows. The best features are translucent traces - so where there is a concentration of many traces, it appears more prominent than in areas of less dense coverage - and simple but powerful selection: you can select simply (just drag around trace vertices), or toggle-select (hold down the Shift key), or accumulate-select (hold down the Ctrl key), or - and this has always been the most useful, to my surprise - hold down both Ctrl and Shift to refine-select, that is to select from among the already-selected traces.

This new implementation is written in C# and requires the .NET libraries (which I'm finding is a significant impediment to adoption, in both this and my exploratory sequence analysis program). I didn't look, even once, at the original Mac C++ implementation, and it still took just two easy weeks. I left off some of the bells and whistles of the original - we'll see whether there's any demand to restore them - but still, I'm very pleased with the pace that C# lets me work at. And TDD - until I got to the interface elements, this was almost 100% test-driven. I still don't "get" how to test-drive user interfaces, despite Phlip's best efforts - but I keep trying.

If you'd like to use Data Loom, Windows or Mac, you can get it from the Yahoo group.

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