Monday, April 4, 2011

Using Protovis to Create Simple Flow Charts

Protovis is a Javascript library for creating SVG graphics to visualize datasets. The API is great, and I've been using it to visualize all sorts of data for a project I'm working on. I had a need to display a very simple (< 15 nodes) branching flow chart. The screen is simple enough that it doesn't justify a custom Protovis layout component or anything fancy like that.

I cooked up a scheme where the nodes are absolute positioned div elements that can be styled with CSS, and the edges are drawn with Protovis. I pass an object that defines the edge properties to a Javascript function that uses JQuery to find the exact positions of the nodes, and then I use Protovis to draw the edges.

Example:



HTML:
<div id="workflowContainer">
  <!--
    -- Draw Simple divs to represent workflow nodes, and connect them with Protovis.
    --
    -- Nodes are positioned absolutely.
    -- Node positions can be static and manually determined,
    -- or dynamic and determined by server-side or client-side
    -- code. This example uses hard coded node positions.
    -->
  
  <div id="workflowChart" >

    <!-- Clickable node -->  
    <a href=""><div id="startFlow" style="top 0; left: 440px;">Start</div></a>

    <!-- Foo branch -->

    <!-- Unclickable node -->  
    <div id="foo1Flow" style="top: 100px; left: 200px;">Foo 1</div>
  
    <a href=""><div id="foo2Flow"  style="top: 175px; left: 100px;">Foo 2</div></a>
  
    <div id="fooChoice1Flow"  style="top: 300px; left: 0px;">Foo Choice 1</div>
  
    <div id="fooChoice2Flow" class="inactive" style="top: 300px; left: 165px;">Foo Choice 2</div>
  
    <div id="fooChoice3Flow" class="inactive" style="top: 300px; left: 360px;">Foo Choice 3</div>
  
    <div id="fooOptionFlow"  style="top: 400px; left: 50px;">Foo Option</div>
  
    <a href=""><div id="fooCombineFlow"  style="top: 500px; left: 200px;">Foo Combine</div></a>
  
    <a href=""><div id="fooSplit1Flow"  style="top: 575px; left: 25px;">Foo Split 1</div></a>
  
    <a href=""><div id="fooSplit2Flow"  style="top: 575px; left: 250px;">Foo Split 2</div></a>
  
    <!-- bar branch -->
    <div id="barFlow" style="top: 100px; left: 700px;">Bar</div>
  
    <a href=""><div id="bar1Flow" class="inactive" style="top: 200px; left: 550px;">Bar 1</div></a>
  
    <a href=""><div id="bar2Flow" class="inactive" style="top: 200px; left: 825px;">Bar 2</div></a>
  </div>
</div>

CSS:
/* Contains both nodes and edges. */
#workflowChartContainer {
 position: relative;
 width: 1000px;
}

/* This is where the edges will be drawn by protovis. */
#workflowChartContainer span {
 position: absolute;
 top: 0;
 left: 0;
 background: transparent;
 z-index: 1000; /* SVG needs to be drawn on top of existing layout. */
}

#workflowChart {
 position: relative;
 top: 0;
 left: 0;
 height: 700px;
 width: 1000px;
}

#workflowChart div {
 border-color: #5b9bea;
 background-color: #b9cde5;
 position: absolute;
 margin: 0;
 padding: 4px;
 border: 2px solid #5b9bea;
 background: #b9cde5;
 border-radius: 4px;
 -moz-border-radius: 4px;
 -webkit-border-radius: 4px;
 color: #000;
 z-index: 10000; /* Needs to be drawn on top of SVG to be clickable. */
}

#workflowChart a {
 cursor: pointer;
}

#workflowChart a div {
 border-color: #f89c51;
 background: #fcd5b5;
}

#workflowChart div.inactive {
 border-color: #ccc;
 background-color: #eee;
 color: #ccc;
}

#workflowChart div:hover {
 border-color: #700000;
}


Javascript:
/* Initialize workflow screen. */
var initWorkflow = function() {
    // List HTML nodes to connect.
    //
    // The edges are hardcoded in this example,
    // but could easily be made dynamic.
    var edges = [
        {
            source: 'startFlow',
            target: 'foo1Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'foo1Flow',
            target: 'foo2Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'foo2Flow',
            target: 'fooChoice1Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'foo2Flow',
            target: 'fooChoice2Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'foo2Flow',
            target: 'fooChoice3Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'fooChoice1Flow',
            target: 'fooOptionFlow'
        },
        {
            source: 'fooChoice2Flow',
            target: 'fooOptionFlow'
        },
        {
            source: 'fooOptionFlow',
            target: 'fooCombineFlow'
        },
        {
            source: 'fooChoice3Flow',
            target: 'fooCombineFlow'
        },
        {
            source: 'fooCombineFlow',
            target: 'fooSplit1Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'fooCombineFlow',
            target: 'fooSplit2Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'startFlow',
            target: 'barFlow'
        },
        {
            source: 'barFlow',
            target: 'bar1Flow'
        },
        {
            source: 'barFlow',
            target: 'bar2Flow'
        },
    ];
      
    // Us JQUery to set height and width equal to background div.
    var workflow = $('#workflowChart'),
        h = workflow.height(),
        w = workflow.width();
  
    // Create Protovis Panel used to render SVG.
    var vis = new pv.Panel()
        .width(w)
        .height(h)
        .antialias(false);
      
    // Attach Panel to dom
    vis.$dom = workflow[0];
      
    // Render connectors
    drawEdges(vis, edges);
    var test = vis.render();
 };
 
 /* Draw edges specified in input array. */
 var drawEdges = function(vis, edges) {
     // Direction indicators,
     var directions = []; 
 
     $.each(edges, function(idx, item){
         // Color of edges
         var color = '#000';
         
         // Arrow radius         
         var r = 5;
         
         // Use JQuery to get source and destination elements
         var source = $('#' + item.source);
         var target = $('#' + item.target);
         
         if (!(source.length && target.length)) {
             // One of the nodes is not present in the DOM; skip it.
             return;
         }
         
         var data = edgeCoords(source, target);
         if (item.sourceLOffset) {
             data[0].left += item.sourceLOffset;
         }
         if (item.targetLOffset) {
             data[1].left += item.targetLOffset;
         }
         
         if (source.hasClass('inactive') || target.hasClass('inactive')) {
             // If target is disabled, change the edge color.
             color = '#ccc';
         }
         
         // Use Protovis to draw edge line.
         vis.add(pv.Line)
             .data(data)
             .left(function(d) {return d.left;})
             .top(function(d) {
                 if (d.type === 'target') {
                     return d.top - (r * 2);
                 }
                 
                 return d.top;
              })
             .interpolate('linear')
             .segmented(false)
             .strokeStyle(color)
             .lineWidth(2);
         
         // Here you may want to calculate an angle
         // to twist the direction arrows to make the graph
         // prettier. I've left out the code to keep thing simple.
         var a = 0;
         
         // Add direction indicators to array.
         var d = data[1];
         directions.push({
             left: d.left,
             top: d.top - (r * 2),
             angle: a,
             color: color
         });
     });
     
     // Use Protovis to draw all direction indicators
     //
     // Here you may want to check and make
     // sure you're only drawing a single indicator
     // at each position, to avoid drawing multiple
     // indicators for targets that have multiple sources.
     // I've left out the code for simplicity.
     vis.add(pv.Dot)
         .data(directions)
         .left(function (d) {return d.left;})
         .top(function (d) {return d.top;})
         .radius(r)
         .angle(function (d) {return d.angle;})
         .shape("triangle")
         .strokeStyle(function (d) {return d.color;})
         .fillStyle(function (d) {return d.color;});
 };
 
 /* Returns the bottom-middle offset for a dom element. */
 var bottomMiddle = function(node) {
     var coords = node.position();
     coords.top += node.outerHeight();
     coords.left += node.width() / 2;
     return coords;
 };
 
 /* Returns the top-middle offset for a dom element. */
 var topMiddle = function(node) {
     var coords = node.position();
     coords.left += node.width() / 2;
     return coords;
 };
 
 /* Return start/end coordinates for an edge. */
 var edgeCoords = function(source, target) {
     var coords = [bottomMiddle(source), topMiddle(target)];
     coords[0].type = 'source';
     coords[1].type = 'target';
     return coords;
 };

3 comments:

  1. is that works? i already try, but nothings happen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice Work. But i am not getting the lines between the nodes. can you help me?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Does this support drag-able thing ?

    ReplyDelete