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Ideas anyone? [Jan. 25th, 2003|12:00 pm]
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[mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

Using a free graphing library, I threw together a quick and dirty program for visualising your friends neighbourhood. It screen-scrapes userinfo pages to grab lists of friends, and their friends, and then draws them. It's very much a one-hour prototype right now, I wanted to see how it'd look before investing any real time on things like interface or navigation.

I got this far into the prototype, and sort of lost faith because the whole thing is just too dense to get any real information out of. I could make it a little more readable by changing the colour/opacity/z-order of the nodes based on how well-linked they are, but I have a feeling I need something more before this can be a worthwhile toy.

It's fun, though.

Any ideas on how the data could be better visualised? I thought at first that hiding "unimportant" nodes would help, but the outliers (nodes with a single link to them) are the only things that prevent the graph from totally collapsing in on itself. It's not the edges that are the problem, it's the big, honking mess in the middle.


[User Picture]From: bubblebabble
2003-01-28 05:28 pm (UTC)

whiny user desires feature :-)

The applet first finds a list of my own [the starting user's] friends. Good place to start.

It then finds full lists of all of my friends. Also wouldn't be useful without this step.

Would it be possible at this step to NEVER display a friend-of-a-friend that isn't also my friend? What this would give you is a picture of which of your friends know each other/cluster near each other. Without the exponential growth (and associated jumble of labels) of FriendsFriends.

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[User Picture]From: charles
2003-01-28 07:41 pm (UTC)

Re: whiny user desires feature :-)

Version 0.2, to be released in about 24 hours from now, works exactly the way you described, but with the additional feature that you can expand on individuals so you can see (for example) how your friends intersect with someone else's.
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