A collection of computer systems and programming tips that you may find useful.
 
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ortho - JavaScript Graphics Library

I've written a JavaScript library called Ortho (http://www.craic.com/ortho) on top of Prototype for creating 'diagram-style' graphics in JavaScript. You can create histograms, graphs, timeline plots, 'maps' of genomic data, annotated images, tree diagrams, etc.

Unlike Canvas, it seamlessly integrates text with graphics and the output looks the same across browsers and in *print*. Unlike Flash it does not require third party software.

It uses associated CSS styles to draw rectangles (divs with a border) and horizontal or vertical lines (divs with a border on one side). A bit of a hack? You might say that, but it turns out to be very effective for the sort of graphics that I need to create on the fly.

It cannot draw curved lines or arbitrary shapes - hence the name 'ortho' for orthogonal. But for a range of applications it may offer a simple solution for creating sophisticated graphics.

It is built on top of the wonderful Prototype library. As a result it is very amenable to being extended with Prototype and Scriptaculous.

Ortho is released under an MIT-style license.

The initial release only covers 'static' graphics but functions for user interaction and Ajax are under development.

The Ortho project site (http://www.craic.com/ortho) has a number of examples that show you what you can do with the library.

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