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Software Evolution Storylines, Inspired By XKCD

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the top-that-with-sparklines dept.

Graphics 136

jamie tips this mind-blowing data visualization concept from (naturally) data visualization researcher Michael Ogawa, who explains that it was inspired by "this XKCD comic. It represents characters as lines that converge in time as they share scenes. Could this technique be adapted for software developers who work on the same code?"

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inspiration (3, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834044)

A data visualisation researcher hasn't seen this method of visualising data before xkcd? Really?

Re:inspiration (4, Insightful)

kyz (225372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834068)

I thought that too.

The xkcd comic is itself inspired by Charles Minard's 1869 flow map of Napoleon's march to Moscow [wikipedia.org] , a celebrated map in visualisation, and most recently popularised by Edward Tufte, one of the most well known data visualisation experts.

Why would someone, who is supposed to be a data visualisation researcher, not have seen this celebrated work of his own field before he saw a knock-off cartoon?

Re:inspiration (4, Funny)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834096)

knock-off cartoon

Superbly executed knock-off cartoon, if you please.

Re:inspiration (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834516)

Except they aren't "superbly executed" in any fashion.

Most of the xkcd "comics" just mention some meme or make some obscure geek culture reference, without adding any additional value, insight, or humor. Some socially-inept fool here or at Digg or reddit sees such a "comic", and somehow thinks it's "funny" because it mentions something obscure that he knows of.

Mentioning Cthulhu or SQL injection attacks just isn't funny, and shouldn't be considered funny, even to people who are aware of what they are.

Re:inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834822)

Mentioning Cthulhu or SQL injection attacks just isn't funny, and shouldn't be considered funny, even to people who are aware of what they are.

Clearly you aren't aware of what some of those things are, because for the most part xkcd does happen to strike me as funny. Sure, some of them are just mildly amusing, but a lot of them do indeed happen to deserve a laugh, and not just because they talk about obscure things that I understand.

Re:inspiration (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835966)

Clearly you aren't aware of what some of those things are, because for the most part xkcd does happen to strike me as funny.

He's probably running sense of humour 2.24.11-132 or higher. You should upgrade.

Re:inspiration (2, Funny)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33836192)

I'm so glad we finally moved to a standardized sense of humor system so that we'll all think the same things are funny and no longer have awkward moments of only certain people laughing at certain things. I'm especially looking forward to the consolidation of the comedian market as we remove the unnecessary comics and just zone in to the one that tells the jokes that are in keeping with our collective sense of humor.

Re:inspiration (5, Insightful)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834878)

Generally speak, humor is found in the unexpected. If you don't expect to see that reference in the given context, and it is made, or if it's being applied in a context that is unexpected, that is funny. At least to the observer that both gets the reference and doesn't expect it.

That said, SQL injection attacks are not only unexpected in a child's name, but I've forwarded that comic on to a number of developers of a large commercial database product (as well as many others) as a way to teach people to USE F*CKING PLACEHOLDERS. It has been fairly successful, I might add. After spending 15 minutes trying and failing to get across to them why "SELECT * FROM MYTABLE WHERE FOO = $foo" is bad, I go look up the xkcd comic and show it to them. In 30 seconds, xkcd's author gets across what I can't in 15 minutes over the phone (perhaps I could do it in person with a whiteboard to share).

Now, maybe a troll will come along and say that I'm not a very good teacher. Although I have plenty of experience to the contrary, let's assume this to be true. My point still stands: those comics teach against SQL injection more effectively than I can, thus it's an invaluable tool. The unexpected reference makes it funny enough for me to remember it, the pointed truth of it makes it a good teaching tool.

Re:inspiration (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835328)

XKCD comics created some of those memes. Like the "Bobby Tables" joke you don't seem to like.

Re:inspiration (-1, Troll)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834534)

Except for the rather glaring failure of identifying FRODO as BILBO.

Whups.

Re:inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834574)

What? There are two very distinct lines... or are you saying they should be the same?

Re:inspiration (3, Informative)

gpm (1534) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834638)

No it doesn't. There are green lines for Frodo & Bilbo and a yellow line for the Ringbearer which functions as an overlay. At the start it overlays Bilbo's line, then moves to Frodo's line. At points it overlays Sam & Gollum for short periods.

Re:inspiration (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834782)

I want to see Memento as depicted by this flow graph cartoon mechanism.

Re:inspiration (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834296)

Minard's poster is actually much more sophisticated - for example it includes quantitative info such as army size.

This new "breakthrough" isn't much different to those rock family trees that show how bands are related via common members. Except it uses a computer.

Re:inspiration (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834790)

I guess Super Size Me could be represented with a gradually widening line.

Re:inspiration (0, Flamebait)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835136)

Minard's poster is actually much more sophisticated - for example it includes quantitative info such as army size.

Exactly the kind of sophistication you need when tracking individuals - NOT. Oh, and please try to find out what a timeline is.

Re:inspiration (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33836040)

Exactly the kind of sophistication you need when tracking individuals - NOT.

The article is about code changes. Wouldn't it be relevant to see how big the changes were?

Oh, and please try to find out what a timeline is.

I know what one is, and so did Minard. Are you claiming that's an innovation too?

Re:inspiration (2, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834350)

xkcdsucks and xkcdexplained are the only reasons to read xkcd. For this comic I recall thinking, "I wonder which one will mention Minard?" But xkcdsucks went one step further, noting that comic 540 (by its "Napoleon's forces" label) almost confirms that Munroe had previously seen Minard's excellent diagram.

Re:inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834904)

xkcdsucks and xkcdexplained are the only reasons to read xkcd.

You're not reading it right.

Re:inspiration (1)

@madeus (24818) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834506)

Good catch. I was thinking of that visualisation (I first saw it in Science Museum in London) but couldn't remember the details. I've seen implementations of the same format in The Economist too.

Re:inspiration (1, Insightful)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834602)

Huh? Minard's map isn't even close to the xkcd version:
A) Minard doesn't depict time, except on the few points on the temp scale, he uses both graph axes for location
B) There are no multiple actors in Minard's map
C) XKCD map only trie to convey character proximity over time: the major point of Minard's map is connecting several seemingly unrelated data points: it makes recognizing patterns easier.

So... I agree that Minard's map is a "better" inspiration for this work (and maybe it was the inspiration but xkcd-references were better /. material), but how on earth is the xkcd map is a knock-off of Minardi? That makes no sense at all.

Re:inspiration (2, Insightful)

kyz (225372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835646)

Take a look at the thickness of the line in Minard's graph, ebbing away as Napoleon's troops die. That was the main purpose of the graph, to visualise how someone could leave with 422,000 men and come back with 10,000. That's why it's famous.

Now take a look at Sauron ebbing away as he uses his power to create orcs, and how the orc armies and human armies ebb away as they're killed.

Re:inspiration (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33835146)

Hey! Give him a break, he's probably a grad student. And we, grad students, of course spend more time reading cartoons rather than actual journal publications. Now, from the researcher perspective, xkcd should be providing references to us, grad students, to avoid having "xkcd.com" in the bibliography!

Re:inspiration (2, Funny)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835260)

Why would someone, who is supposed to be a data visualisation researcher, not have seen this celebrated work of his own field before he saw a knock-off cartoon?

An amazing act of hindsight. I would have continued to labor under the false impression that this sort of work required a great deal of creativity and effort, if it weren't for your knowledgeable insight into what the researchers should have been thinking!

Re:inspiration (4, Insightful)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835914)

Why would someone, who is supposed to be a data visualisation researcher, not have seen this celebrated work of his own field before he saw a knock-off cartoon?

You're either a) new to IT / Computer Science, or b) too young to have experienced a revolutionary new paradigm that matches either anything discovered at Xerox PARC Labs or in general 20-30 years ago by professionals who are now "grey beards," but commonly referred to as old fogies when they point our that even IT / Computing and Computer Science has a history.

Examples include Alohanet (vs. Wi-Fi / "wireless Internet"), time-sharing systems (vs. thin computing or virtualization), IM (vs talk / irc), CU-SeeMe (vs video IM, ChatRoulette), Jennifer Ringley (vs cam-girls), Xanadu (vs. iBooks, Google Books), and Nikola Tesla (vs. "wireless power" and numerous other things he invented, prototyped, or predicted).

Re:inspiration (3, Interesting)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834134)

It reminds me a lot of the graphs that github creates, showing who committed when, who pulled from whom and merged what with what. I could stare at those graphs for hours.

Re:inspiration (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834280)

Immediately thought about Github when I read the summary too. Been watching Kohana's graph the other day, it's fascinating.

Re:inspiration (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834712)

Yeah It's mildly improved in that the hair-thin lines during stalls in a developer's output would probably make the github graphs better.

But not the first person to ever graph project activity this way by a long shot.

Re:inspiration (5, Insightful)

Exitar (809068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834186)

Probably he did, but citing xkcd granted him an article on /.

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834206)

"Dude, I came across this cool xkcd comic and decided to write some software to do just that."

Re:inspiration (4, Interesting)

Ponyegg (866243) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834258)

I'd be interested in seeing XKCD's take on Being John Malkovic though.

Re:inspiration (4, Funny)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834366)

I think you need the surface of a Klein bottle to draw that graph.

Re:inspiration (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834832)

No xkcd just needs shitty stick figure drawings where the heads are unattached and a severe case of ass burgers to draw something you mouth breathers will laud over. No advanced mathematics need apply.

Re:inspiration (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835160)

Or a mobius loop.

How about pulp fiction? (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834970)

Try to graph that one for me batman.

Re:inspiration (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33836566)

Or The Big Sleep - now that's a challenge.

.

Re:inspiration (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834360)

This is in fact the exact strategy that Kurt Vonnegut used to use to plan his novels. He used to discuss it in terms of Slaughterhouse 5 where Dresden was a large black bar that most of the characters didn't emerge from.

Re:inspiration (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834442)

> a large black bar that most of the characters didn't emerge from.

Drinking around nigger's is dangerous.

Re:inspiration (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834472)

There's a first time for everything. Got anything useful to say? mod parent and nearly every other post so far -1 arrogant.

Re:inspiration (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835130)

I just invented a windmill used to generate electricity. Its inspiration was xkcd 556 [xkcd.com] .

Would it be arrogant to point out, like most responses, prior art for both the idea and deployment of wind turbines?

Also, everyone who has read or even heard of Don Quixote is aware that he tilted at windmills. If you have lived in Spain for any length of time the sight of windmills will bring Cervantes to mind automatically. It is not funny to simply put Don Quixote in a scene involving scary windmills, any more than it is funny to have Macbeth appearing in a Halloween scene just because he was under some witches' spell.

Re:inspiration (1)

eharvill (991859) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835784)

Ahh. That's who that is in the last frame. I should know that, I have a whole collection of Don Quixote DVDs for my kid. Of course, they are in Castilian and my Spanish is severely lacking.

Re:inspiration (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#33836472)

Ahh. That's who that is in the last frame.

It's Don from the drawings by Picasso, to be precise.

Re:inspiration (perspiration) (1)

rapiddescent (572442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835794)

prior art:

Charles Joseph Minard, a french civil servant drew a fantastic line/statistical diagram showing data from Napoleon's March to Russia [wikimedia.org] on the 20th November 1869. This combines many data points and also shows the horrific losses sustained by Napoleon during the winter (and river crossings) and is actually far more complex than examples in TFA.

1. invent new idea
2. write about it on interwebs
3. ...
4. ... (think about profit and all round cleverness)
5. ....
6. errr?
7. .....
8. !profit
8a. because lots of slightly older nerds have seen it all before.
8b. and see you for the young whipper-snapper that you are, wee laddie.

This news post needs (1, Funny)

MistrX (1566617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834050)

The obligatory XKCD comic.

Re:This news post needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834332)

best xkcd ever!

Timeline for Primer (-1, Redundant)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834052)

xkcd didn't really have to bungle up the Primer timeline as much as they did, though that does sort of defeat the joke:

http://www.terminally-incoherent.com.nyud.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/primer_timeline.jpg [nyud.net]

Re:Timeline for Primer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834144)

Two errors: not permitted and 404.

Re:Timeline for Primer (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834392)

I think the parent post was referring to this image: http://www.freeweb.hu/neuwanstein/primer_timeline.jpg [freeweb.hu] . The original URL gives a 404, but I managed to locate the actual link by searching for the proper Blog article on that site for the date specified in the original URL.

It would be useful to see this on mature projets (4, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834072)

Very often it is difficult to see at a glance whether a project is mature and stable or just dead. It would be interesting to see whether this type of visualisation can tell you at a glance how healthy the project is. If so it would be nice to have this view on sourceforge, etc.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (2, Funny)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834098)

Or Across projects. So you can see which developer / client / manager is the most destructive to projects. Or how projects are given to others (like the One Ring in the XKCD example) before ending up in /mnt/doom.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (1, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834170)

"Mature and stable" is just a euphemism for "dead". If your project REALLY has no bugs, and all its users are fully satisfied with the current feature-set, that just means you don't have any new users. It is far more likely that all your current users have long-since learned to live with bugs you don't feel like fixing, or have built ad-hoc work-arounds for bugs and missing features since your project is too "stable" (read: dead) to accept patches or proposals.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (3, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834426)

That's simply false; some programs do something, do it well, and know where responsibility is best handed off to another program. When was the last time ls needed an update?

ls history (3, Informative)

rolando2424 (1096299) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835276)

According to this [gnu.org] there are 5 files that start with "ls".

Except for ls.c, all those files have only one entry on their history. The "initial revision" on 1993-06-16.

On the other hand, you can check the history of ls [gnu.org] by yourself. Ignoring a "build" commit done on 2010-09-18 (and by the same guy who did the "initial revision" ones), the last commit is from 2010-07-01 with the message header of "ls: use the POSIX date style when the locale does not specify one".

While not extremely important, it does show that ls keeps receiving updates to this day.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (1)

elsJake (1129889) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835336)

Or qmail for that matter.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (2, Funny)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835398)

ls is boring, they should add a feature "ls --im-feeling-lucky" to list a random directory to add some spice back into it.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834612)

Mature and Stable can mean that the new functionality is being add in a layer above ....

When you stop adding features to the core and abstract them away into another level then the core can stabilize

The reason most stable projects are dead is because new features are no longer added at all ....

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834670)

Most of the time. I'd say you are right but there are exceptions. One example is Privoxy [privoxy.org] . It'a been nearly the same since the 3.0 release in 2002, but there's been constantly tiny little fixes so it's not abandoned and has had an average 175000 downloads/year not including Linux distros etc. so obviously many people find it useful.

So they're not taking over the world. But is there any point to try to be another jack-of-all-trades software? It does one thing and it does it well, or if you'd want to do it differently you probably need to do it in the browser. Either way there's really no reason to make it part of the same application, this one is "done".

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834906)

I completely agree, but anyway, does somebody around here want to volunteer to support GNU truefalse? It simply didn't keep up with the users needs recently.

Re:It would be useful to see this on mature projet (1)

Guignol (159087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835392)

this is hilarious, awesome, not so untrue, just as cynic as I like it to be
thanks

FFS! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834100)

It's xkcd, not XKCD...

Re:FFS! (1)

amnezick (1253408) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834328)

has anyone ever read it as "excased" ?

What will happen if I... (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834106)

We've got a CVS repository of about half a million lines of C++ code, running back at least 5 years. I'm almost afraid to run code_swarm on it.

Re:What will happen if I... (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834142)

Argh! code_swarm is the previous visualization scheme. Source is not yet available on this one. And I've already lost hope. As I unzipped the archive, I thought I saw .jar files. File extensions beginning with that letter are not welcome where I work...

Re:What will happen if I... (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834288)

Must be tough browsing the web without JPEG images.

Re:What will happen if I... (4, Funny)

Paua Fritter (448250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834458)

As I unzipped the archive, I thought I saw .jar files. File extensions beginning with that letter are not welcome where I work...

That must be awkward ... most file extensions do begin with . after all.

Re:What will happen if I... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834838)

File extensions beginning with that letter

most file extensions do begin with .

So Morse is your native language?

Re:What will happen if I... (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835280)

hehe, seeing the name i thought "i've seen it before... wasn't it that repository visualisation stuff, codeswarm ?"

that one was quite nice - unfortunately, abandoned soon so for non-coding users some customisation was missing. so these are very nice concepts that can be sometimes used, but so far they don't seem to attract developer attention to get them going.

Re:What will happen if I... (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835776)

What's wrong with Java? I love it, personally, I think it's elegant.

But what does it tell me? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834122)

The XCKD comic was a great example of visualization because after a brief time acclimatizing to the layout, I could immediately comprehend it and draw conclusions out of it. Doing the same with a software project would be interesting, but right now all I see is a bunch of tangled lines -- they don't mean anything to me.

Anyone who has worked on this project -- do they mean anything to you? Anyone else -- what do you see in these graphs?

Re:But what does it tell me? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834178)

I see in the Python timeline that Guido van Rossum forked into "guido" (red line) and "gvanrossum" (dark green line).

Re:But what does it tell me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834190)

Dead people. Lots of them.
And I hear 'em too.

Re:But what does it tell me? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834634)

I was under the same impression.
I work with data and data visualization. I prefer drill-down visualization techniques starting with a general view and extending interaction via drill-downs.
The samples presented don't tell much. The level of visualization is too granular for a general view. IMO, it+s a bunch of tangled nonsense, helping in no way. But it's "shiny" and nicely colored - so managers might like it a lot :)

Timeline... (5, Funny)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834164)

I bet the Windows timeline looks like the one for Primer.

"researcher" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834182)

He specializes in data visualization and yet his charts are completely unhelpful. Splendid. Oh what's that? He's writing a research paper about this completely useless visualization method? Excellent.

Re:"researcher" (2, Insightful)

vagabond_gr (762469) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834230)

Thankfully, SoftVis 2010 (the ACM symposium where his paper is going to be presented) does not take into account reviews from anonymous cowards on slashdot.

Re:"researcher" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834278)

...but in all likelihood they'll shrug it off as unhelpful just the same.

Could this technique be adapted for software? (4, Funny)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834220)

Sure; we've tried every other fad that's come along, might as well try this one also.

Obligatory XKCD comic (2, Funny)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834224)

Oh wait... :)

Special request (0, Flamebait)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834226)

Could somebody please draw me a diagram for Mr Ogawa you have too much free time on your hands? Much appreciated.

Re:Special request (1)

silverglade00 (1751552) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835472)

now----------------------->infinity

Apparently, my comment looks too much like ascii art without this statement. It also needs fewer junk characters without this statement. No wonder nobody else drew you such a simple timeline. These characters are not junk, stupid filter! This is a new, exciting visualization method.

Seems scary. (2, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834290)

Say what you want, these graphs look like some evil worms from below, kind of parasites that prey on the Deep Ones... Scary.

He may have been inspired by XKCD (5, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834306)

...but XKCD pretty clearly was inspired by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wallchart_of_World_History [wikipedia.org] (first version 1890).

It's a pretty cool visualization, illustrating in a very superficial way how each state mutates and evolves politically into its descendants.

Re:He may have been inspired by XKCD (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834422)

But there's no picture in your link! It must have a picture or I'll lose interest!!!!!

Ehm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834450)

Isn't that basically a swim lane diagram?

Re:Ehm... (4, Interesting)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834556)

Not the way I understand (or my organisation uses) swimlanes.

As is implied by the word swimlane, the diagram shows several horizontal 'lanes', these represent individual people or organisations. Then a flowchart is overlayed onto the swimlanes. Whenever an action is performed by a organisation, the flowchart box for that action is in their lane.
This shows for instance who is responsible for what in a process.

I believe that if, say, LOTR was to be shown as a swimlane. You could have the characters that come into contact with The Ring as lanes across the diagram. And a line moving from one lane to the next as the ring passes ownership but going from left to right as it stays in their grasp.

The diagrans in the article show, in many ways, the opposite. The lanes come together and separate over time showing who is in contact rather than who is doing what.

Re:Ehm... (1)

bosef1 (208943) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834710)

Bite your tongue. "Swimlanes" and "rice bowls" are probably the cause of half of the problems in my office. I understand that it's necessisary to break down an organization into subcomponents in order to make it managable (to avoid a Brooksian catastrophe), but we haven't implemented anything to allow people to easily change lanes (turn signals?). So the only time people come into your "swimlane" is when upper management has decreed it, which means that project is more favored than yours, which means you are going to get dicked over. If we made it easier for lane changes to happen, such that it happened enough that it became commonplace, people wouldn't be so dangerously backstabbing and paranoid.

Re:Ehm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834720)

No, it's not.

it's a nightmare (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834536)

Even with SVG!

Re:it's a nightmare (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835622)

Even with SVG!

Yep. Unlike the XKCD version, the graph examples in TFA are unreadable messes of spaghetti lines. While the concept is a great one, this implementation from (naturally) data visualization researcher Michael Ogawa is embarrassing.

FirSt post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834592)

future. Ev3N Fly...don't fear

Its a git graph! (1)

Bluemumba (1320257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834648)

Am I the only one who thinks this looks suspiciously like a git commit graph, as represented in gitk/qgit/etc.? Like, a really, really badly managed graph?

Ohloh should give him cash (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33834666)

TFA says he'll open source it anyway, but this would be a great addition to the line up of code metrics at Ohloh.

Primer == Fortran (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834818)

GW Basic, etc.......

Sounds like an excellent design tool!

I have reviewed the provided links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33834842)

I understand that the first image from the so-called 'ex kay see dee' world wide web location is referring to popular videograph features that are enjoyed by the younger generation these days, but what is the second link showing? More videographic material? I suspect that it must be a visioning of masterpieces such as 'Cum Guzzlers 2' and 'The More The Merrier 8', including the scene with all of the actors and actresses together in the forest glade (where all the lines in the linked image come together), and including that scene with the two leading ladies and that unfeasibly well hung gentleman.

Plug for Montessori Elementary (1, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835010)

Timelines are a key part of Montessori at the elementary level. Had the researcher attended Montessori school, he would not have had to rely on xkcd :-) See photo of group of students working with a large timeline on Bergamo Academy's home page.

Re:Plug for Montessori Elementary (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835414)

We did lots of timelines in my perfectly ordinary elementary school a couple of decades ago.

Re:Plug for Montessori Elementary (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 3 years ago | (#33836144)

Yeah, well, did your elementary school impress upon you an absurd sense of your own self-worth?! Hah! Didn't think so!

How is this mind-blowing? (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 3 years ago | (#33835766)

It's a chaotic mess. If a data visualization technique doesn't bring clarity to a subject, but instead just results in a Jackson Pollock jumble, what exactly is it?

Is it art? If this is its primary goal, I have no argument.

If it, however, is meant to clarify the history and relationships of principals involved with the creation and maintenance of a program's codebase, it's a complete failure. There is no clarity here, less so than even a simple table would provide.

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