We just donated 5000€ to make RAWGraphs 2.0 (opens new window) a reality! RAWGraphs is a free and open-source software to easily visualize data. From their Indiegogo campaign:
The idea behind RAWGraphs is to provide a tool that allows people without coding skills to produce visualizations on their own. Originally conceived for graphic designers to complete a series of tasks that were unavailable in other tools, it evolved into a platform that provides simple ways to map data dimensions onto visual variables. Basically, RAWGraphs allows users to easily and quickly create data visualizations that can be exported and edited in a vector graphics software (such as Adobe Illustrator and Sketch).
Every one of us already used spreadsheets to capture and represent data over time, space or another axis. It is a very natural way to capture information and visualize it in a second step. See the sample video (opens new window) of the 1.x version and their gallery (opens new window) of showcases to get a better idea of what is already possible with RAWGraphs today!
At Zazuko, our goal is not just to have two- or multi-dimensional tables but to build a knowledge graph of such information. Imagine what we can do when different spreadsheets can easily be compared and combined to reveal new, valuable information.
For that reason, we are currently building tools to convert tabular data to Linked Data Cubes, some of them will be made public early next year. In reality, management often does not care nor understand why they should go the extra mile and invest time into transformation & semantic interpretation of such spreadsheets. For that reason, we already talked to the RAWGraphs team a few months ago and proposed to think about a better SPARQL integration into RAWGraphs. That way we could easily visualize multi-dimensional tables and add real value to the data everyone will understand.
Interestingly, the RAWGraphs team started discovering SPARQL at a Wikidata Hackathon and was impressed by the amount of data they could pull out of it. So it was natural for them to put SPARQL in a prominent position for RAWGraphs 2.0. We recently had a chat with them and talked about how we could interact. We came to the following conclusion:
It should be possible to feed RAWGraphs directly via SPARQL. In other words, one should be able to write a SPARQL query within RAWGraphs itself and connect to a corresponding triplestore to fetch it.
The RAWGraphs codebase should be as modular as possible to be easily used in other projects.
While it most probably won't be part of a 2.0 version, our idea at Zazuko is to add RAWGraphs based visualization support to tools like YASGUI (opens new window) later so we can replace the proprietary Google Chart or the rather minimal Pivot-Table plugin there. This also means at Zazuko we can use this RAWGraph component for any other customer project and provide customized versions that provide a Tableau (opens new window)-like experience to our customers with no additional licensing cost. It might not be as fancy as Tableau initially but it would surely provide the technical foundation for building something like it!
In conclusion, we would all get:
- An open-source web application with great SPARQL integration
- A SPARQL query component that can be integrated into other code containing the RAWGraphs 2.0 visualizations
- A great base for the future with the potential to become the open-source version of Tableau!
And I would say 5000€ for that is a real bargain! Please consider contributing to the campaign (opens new window) as well, there is still a considerable sum to be found and you will not get so much bang for the bucks in software anytime soon!
Please feel free to talk to us if you would like to know more about the SPARQL related parts, happy to help & coordinate!