Observable to Provide a Data Visualization Open Source Library

Observable, the collaborative data visualization company, is launching the beta version of Observable Plot, an open-source JavaScript library that enables developers to create visual representations for exploring and interpreting data.  

“Having worked as an engineer and with developers for more than 25 years, it’s been my mission to understand what it is that empowers them to work better,” said Melody Meckfessel, CEO and co-founder of Observable. “I believe that everyone who uses visualization, in a collaborative and transparent way, will be better at their job. At Observable, we set out to make visualization more practicable and approachable by rethinking how we code, embracing dataflow and collaboration. Now we’re taking another step towards making it more approachable with a new tool for exploratory visualization, Observable Plot.”

Observable Plot distills more than 10 years of industry leading visualization experience into a powerful and easy-to-learn API. Observable Plot helps users think about the data they’re working with and keeps them focused on finding insights.

Observable Plot packs sensible defaults into a concise API that is easy to remember. With just a few lines of intuitive code, users can construct a meaningful visualization. Then quickly change perspective with small additions such as facets, scales, and data transformations.

Observable Plot has powerful built-in functions for working with tabular and time-series data. With one line of code, users can apply a moving average to a line chart or bin data by time period. These techniques are composable—users are not limited to a fixed set of predefined charts.

“The goal of exploratory visualization is primarily speed: how quickly can you construct a meaningful view that answers your question? The less effort it takes to sketch a visualization, the more variations you can afford to try and the better the final result,” said Mike Bostock, co-founder and CTO of Observable, and creator of the popular data visualization library D3.js. “With Observable Plot, it’s easier to sketch, and tweak to quickly explore a dataset from many angles.”

As users get to know their data they can easily and quickly customize all the important aspects of their visualizations. For those who want to push the limits of customization, Plot can be extended with plugins using D3.js.

Observable Plot was purposefully designed to work with Observable or as an independent open-source library.

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