"Flare" data visualization tools for Flash

No, by “flare” I’m not talking about the shiny crap pinned to my old Olive Garden waiter’s getup.  (I lasted 10 days or so before taking my butt to a dotcom.  The horror…)  The Flare visualization toolkit is a set of Flash ActionScript classes for building “a wide variety of interactive visualizations,” including basic charts, complex animations, network diagrams, treemaps, and more.  Check out the cool demo, making sure to hit the Smoke & Distortion tabs at the bottom. [Via Mark Baltzegar]

Seeing these visualizations, I’m inspired to wonder (again) how we could leverage Adobe Bridge’s support for Flash-based UI to present data in more interesting ways.  A SWF running inside Bridge can display any format for which Bridge can generate a preview (as Bridge creates a JPEG cache for each file).  Flash-based apps like Retrievr, the Related Tag Browser, the 3D-ish TiltViewer, and many others demonstrate novel ways to connect a rich interface to a database of images.  Hmm… if you have any thoughts, let ’em rip. (It’s times like these I wish I could code my way out of a paper bag.)

For more inspiring visualizations, see VisualComplexity.com.

J. (retching)

PS–As I was typing this entry, we got rocked with a nice California earthquake.  Nothing like having all your worldly possessions (including yourself) getting bounced around to put things in a little perspective.

0 thoughts on “"Flare" data visualization tools for Flash

  1. Flash could indeed be a really handy interface for Bridge. If nothing else, it would allow developers to hide their code and make it harder to misappropriate. But first you may need to seed the market with a few really practical examples where the Flash-Bridge interaction is explained not in developer-speak but in ordinary English.

  2. Flash could be good as long as you avoided time-consuming fades or transitions. Retrievr, Related Tag Browser, and TiltViewer are fun (and really well built), but Bridge is for getting something done (work). Maybe you could Save Out of Bridge as a floaty presentation or something.
    When I hear the marketing phrase rich internet application I think of rich chocolate cake — don’t add too much sugar or it’ll make you sick and dizzy.
    Still, I really liked the tree graphs in Flare. That kinda thing could actually be used in place of clicky folder-views in Bridge (if done quickly enough).

  3. TiltViewer is amazing. It’s times like these I wish I wish I had learned Flash better. I can’t draw in it as well as in other apps and I can only code basic PHP, so AS is not exactly a skill I carry in my utility belt. Which is a shame, as I think the ability to turn C code into AS3 might take the web to a different level. I always found Flash a little lost between being a drawing, animation program and an IDE. Or maybe I’m just anthropomorphizing it with my own issues : )

  4. OK, John. Now I get it. Very cool.
    The organic quality of these Flare visualizations is what I find most intriguing. The next step is to move away from a linear interface that’s driven by the desires of the engineer toward a non-linear interface that works the we think. The ability to make those leaps from one thought to another…
    Check out Visual Thesaurus.

  5. I checked the demos there. Those are really cool. But the chart showing under Pie is not a Pie actually, its a doughnut or donut whatever you call.

  6. Thanks for the links!
    At work, i have developped a simple tool in flash to handle a project hierarchy of complex psd file (with a tree control).
    More recently, because the validation process was not done appropriately, we ended with files that where not in sync with their logical description and a very big problem: the logical descrition in itself was not reliable!
    I have used Graphiz and a few other tools to generate a visualisation of dependency of the psd files (from information that was kept in the layer name).
    The graph was complex, but it was incredible how much more information on the problem it was possible to get in just one look (instead of comparing two different tree representation).
    Eventually, a graph edit mode would be a better fit (just like it’s common with advanced 3d package).. but if i would be able to implement the visualition in flash (for analysis) instead of having to go through GraphViz.. that could be a start!
    I’ll have a look at flare for sure!

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