Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Widgets For Christmas

For Christmas, I generally want electronic widgets, but after six months of development, all I wanted this Christmas was htmlwidgets, and Santa RStudio/jj,joe,yihui and Santa Ramnath delivered early with this RStudio tweet on December 17th.

The major benefit of htmlwidgets is it provides all three methods of bridging R with JavaScript/HTML mentioned in my Aug. 16, 2013 post I Want ggplot2/lattice and d3 (gridSVG–The Glue).  For htmlwidgets to be successful though, not only do htmlwidgets need to work, easy creation of widgets is absolutely essential.

As a quick example, we can look at the DiagrammeR package released yesterday by Richard Iannone.  DiagrammeR launched in non-htmlwidgets form severely hampering its ability to be easily used in multiple contexts.  Converting it to htmlwidgets seemed like a great opportunity to illustrate both the ease of htmlwidgets creation and the powerful infrastructure offered by htmlwidgets.  So, in a couple hours—easy to create, check—yesterday (most of the time spent on examples, documentation, and testing) with only a couple of lines of JavaScript—easy to create, check again—I was able to transform the DiagrammeR package into htmlwidgets.

I thought a finance diagram would be a great example for this blog, so off to Google Images I went looking for a good and also simple application and chose this from the Department of Finance Canada.


Here is what it looks like with DiagrammeR + mermaid.js.


If I can come up with the resolve and commitment, I might have an announcement for 2015 – the year of the widget.

Happy New Year, and thanks for 4 good years of TimelyPortfolio.

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