One of my favorite areas of ADF is Data Visualization. The rich, interactive and (un)usually attractive components that allow me to spice up an ADF application in a very easy straightforward way have a special appeal. We all know that pictures speak volumes. And that a plain table presents data while a carefully designed visualization presents information and perhaps even a call to action. One of my highlights during Oracle Open World 2012 was – not surprisingly – the presentation by the ADF DVT team – Katrina, Hugh and Jairam – together with Yiannis and Vangelis from PCS in Greece who built a wonderful ADF application for private investment management, with beautiful and very effective data visualizations all over the place.
The story of ADF DVT is one that started probably even before ADF with the BI Beans and before that perhaps even with Oracle Graphics. However, forget about all that history and look to the present and the future. No presentation of Fusion Applications is held without showing off its many data visualizations as a means to turn data into information and information into action. Drawing the user to exceptions, deadlines, alerts, patterns and items to act on is part of the essence of Fusion Applications and DVT is instrumental in making that real. The support for DVTs on tablet – with support for HTML 5 Canvas instead of Flash for rendering interactive graphs and with multi-touch and gesture handling – introduced in in PS 5 is pretty impressive. The support of DVTs in native ADF Mobile applications is cool and so is the continuous evolution of the set of components available for Data Visualizations.
Below an apparent prediction of the US presidential election using the Thematic Map …
The guys from PCS demonstrated their application. Absolutely stunning:
Announced last year and further fleshed out this conference, some new components are on the verge of making their appearance – hopefully in the upcoming PS6 release (end of 2012/early 2013??) and PS7 release (Spring 2013?). These include TimeLine, TreeMap, Sun Burst and Diagram. Let’s take a brief look at these:
TimeLine is one of my favorite visualizations. It is used in newspapers and news broadcasts to illustrate the build up of certain stories and the same is done for example in history books. TimeLine allows us to plot events against time, with various levels of granularity (hours, weeks, years, centuries) and aggregation. Since animation is supported too, we could create moving time-travels as well as present real-time monitoring. This picture gives a pretty straightforward example of the time line, demonstrating over time when our employees were hired.
Another new component is the Sun Burst. Last year, I first saw the Sun Burst and did not quite understand what it would do for me. Hugh explained it and now I know: it is like a hierarchical, multi-level pie-chart. The two inner circles in this next picture for example is the initial pie chart, demonstrating the distribution of household income over the various regions of the United States of America. The first level is all of the USA, the second level is a distribution over West, South, Mid West and North East. Red indicates high income, blue indicates low income. The West Region does not do very well, the South is looking pretty good. However, that is at a very high level looking across a very coarse grained layout of the US. With Sun Burst, we can drill down to additional levels of detail. In this case, we went down two additional levels. At the outer ring, we are looking at individual states. And now it turns out that for example within this well-off South Region, the states of Virginia and Maryland are the not as high on income as from the top level it may have appeared. At the same time, Oregon turns out to be pretty good in income, even though the Western Region it is situated in as a whole is not doing so great.
Note that on the iPad the rings of this Sun Burst can be rotated for easier interpretation of the data.
The TreeMap is another new component. It provides a means to display the distribution over different segments, similar to a pie chart. It also supports hierarchies – similar to Sun Burst. With TreeMap, it is easy to focus on specific branch in the hierarchy, zooming in for example on only the North Region and further exploring only that region.
The final new component is the Diagrammer. This component allows a very flexible presentation of ‘complex networks of nodes and links’. Information that consists of entities and relations between them can be presented in highly customizable ways. The diagrammer also supports editing (as far as I know) -allowing us to create in browser, visual diagram editing tools for our own types of diagrams. Potentially a very powerful component – also the hardest to create (for the DVT team) and to understand (for us). I am looking forward to getting my hands on it!
One other example of Diagrammer from the live demo at OOW:
Note: DVT (Data Visualization) is fully part of ADF Essentials!
Here a video of Jairam demonstrating some of the new ADF DVT components on an iPad (using the HTML 5 rendering):
Shay Shmeltzer’s blog on PS 5 and tablet support (February 2012): https://blogs.oracle.com/shay/entry/adf_faces_now_with_better
Slides for Session CON4174 – Visualize This! Best Practices for Data Visualization in Desktop and Mobile Apps in the OOW Content Catalog