Presented By O'Reilly and Cloudera
Make Data Work
Feb 17–20, 2015 • San Jose, CA

Building Interactive Data Visualizations

Jonathan Dinu (Zipfian Academy)
9:00am–12:30pm Wednesday, 02/18/2015
Design & Interfaces
Location: 210 C/G
Average rating: **...
(2.43, 7 ratings)
Slides:   external link,   2-ZIP 

Materials or downloads needed in advance

In the tutorial, we will be using city sensor data from Data Canvas to create our visualizations.

Please download the data from the following link before the session:

Also it will be helpful if you have:

  • a text editor installed (my favorite is Sublime Text)
  • a modern web browser (my favorite is Google Chrome)
  • More info on the dataset here

Learning before you Learn (optional)

There's lots you can learn here. The more you know, the farther you'll be able to get in the session (but by no means are you expected to know the content here).

You'll be better prepared if you have a basic understanding of the technologies (see Dashing d3 Tutorial #4) and be comfortable with the basics of HTML, CSS, and Javascript (Exercises 2-3 in the d3 Tutorials by Scott Murray).

  1. d3 Tutorials by Scott Murray

    Best for: Not super comfortable with Javascript

    Exercises 2-3: Getting Set up with HTML/CSS

  2. Dashing d3 Tutorials

    Best for: Comfortable with Javascript and want to dive into d3.js

    Tutorial 4: Landscape of Technologies and Environments



Connecting data to business value depends on the capacity of CEOs, managers, and project leaders to understand and trust data insights. The most robust solution to bring trust in data is to allow decision-makers to explore relevant data and correlations through interactive visualizations that accurately represent data. This tutorial teaches participants the theory and know-how to design and build interactive data visualizations.

In the tutorial, we will first look at case studies of visualizations that are great examples of data-driven narratives, including those created by the New York Times, Stamen Design in San Francisco, and independent developers. Building upon these examples, the tutorial will dive into the set of tools (frameworks, knobs, brushes, etc.) in the Javascript library D3.js, reviewing best practices for their use. Tutorial participants will be invited to work alongside the instructor in sketching out and improving a data visualization with some of these features, and will be provided resources for continued study.


Although there is no required prerequisite knowledge, participants who are familiar with JavaScript and/or programming will find more value in the hands-on portion of the workshop.

Jonathan Dinu

Zipfian Academy

Jonathan Dinu is the Co-founder and CTO of Zipfian Academy, an advanced training program for data scientists and data engineers in San Francisco. His background is in Computer Science and Physics at University of California – Berkeley. Previously, Jonathan built distributed machine learning algorithms for predictive analytics on Hadoop at Alpine Data Labs. Jonathan is a passionate teacher and speaker. He has run data science tutorials at DataWeek and PyData, and built a Data Visualization course at Udacity. Jonathan has also been a mentor at Dev Bootcamp, taught at General Assembly, and was an instructor at Hack Reactor. At Zipfian Academy, he teaches humans, who are more fun to teach than machines.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Jonathan Dinu
02/23/2015 2:48am PST

Thanks again for attending, I had a great time workshopping with all of you!

I cleaned up the live code examples, included instructions to setup your computer (on Windows or Mac/Linux), added a plethora of resources to learn D3, setup a Q&A forum, and included some next steps if you want to continue learning. You can access all of the materials here (including the presentation): “”:

Also, any feedback on the workshop helps me tremendously. If you could take 1 minute to fill out a feedback form above it would be much appreciated :)

And please do not hesitate to reach out over email ( or twitter (@clearspandex) about anything at all

Ahmed Soliman
02/18/2015 3:10am PST

Can you please share resources for continued study?

Vasudevan Vijayaragavan
02/18/2015 1:15am PST

With products like Tableau, Spotfire being available with lot of data visualization options, do you see a D3 being used in business groups which have access to the above products ?