Book review: "Practical D3.js"

In the past there have been some books on [D3.js]() that were quite helpful for me to get started. In the need of a more sophisticated visualization I searched the book market again, as the older books on D3.js I have did not provide an answer to my question and neither the web.

I found Practical D3.js by Tarek Amr and Rayna Stamboliyska1 which appears to be very helpful. The learning design of the book makes it easy to just read it, as the examples are very simple and always focus on the threshold concepts of the mighty library.

The book consists of two parts, dealing with the idea of visualizations, story telling, data mining and cleaning in the first one. In the second part the authors start by teaching the basics of SVG and why a solution for programming like D3.js comes in handy. The reader starts to build simple vizzes using simple shapes first. Then - and this was the chapter I was looking for - you learn the magic of layouts, a technique for automatically styling data in a holistic approach. There is the so called “Meatballs Layout”, an example showing how to create a layout of your own that is reusable and can be combined with parts of the library or your own inventions.

I like the book as it does not come up with recepies and simple solutions but focusses on the concepts you need to know to be creative with the library. The use of various data sets more and less complex demonstrates how D3.js can be applied to real life problems.

Image credits: Steamgraph by Psychonaut (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Amr, T., & Stamboliyska, R. (2016). Practical D3.js. Berkeley, CA: Apress. [return]