Developing MultiLinePlotter App for Loklak

MultiLinePlotter is a web application which uses Loklak API under the hood to plot multiple tweet aggregations related to different user provided query words in the same graph. The user can give several query words and multiple lines for different queries will be plotted in the same graph. In this way, users will be able to compare tweet distribution for various keywords and visualise the comparison. All the searched queries are shown under the search record section. Clicking on a record causes a dialogue box to pop up where the individual tweets related to the query word is displayed. Users can also remove a series from the plot dynamically by just pressing the Remove button beside the query word in record section. The app is presently hosted on Loklak apps site.

Related issue – https://github.com/fossasia/apps.loklak.org/issues/225

Getting started with the app

Let us delve into the working of the app. The app uses Loklak aggregation API to get the data.

A call to the API looks something like this:

http://api.loklak.org/api/search.json?q=fossasia&source=cache&count=0&fields=created_at

A small snippet of the aggregation returned by the above API request is shown below.

"aggregations": {"created_at": {
    "2017-07-03": 3,
    "2017-07-04": 9,
    "2017-07-05": 12,
    "2017-07-06": 8,
}}

The API provides a nice date v/s number of tweets aggregation. Now we need to plot this. For plotting Morris.js has been used. It is a lightweight javascript library for visualising data.

One of the main features of this app is addition and removal of multiple series from the graph dynamically. How do we achieve that? Well, this can be achieved by manipulating the morris.js data list whenever a new query is made. Let us understand this in steps.

At first, the data is fetched using angular HTTP service.

$http.jsonp('http://api.loklak.org/api/search.json?callback=JSON_CALLBACK',
            {params: {q: $scope.tweet, source: 'cache', count: '0', fields: 'created_at'}})
                .then(function (response) {
                    $scope.getData(response.data.aggregations.created_at);
                    $scope.plotData();
                    $scope.queryRecords.push($scope.tweet);
                });

Once we get the data, getData function is called and the aggregation data is passed to it. The query word is also stored in queryRecords list for future use.

In order to plot a line graph morris.js requires a data object which will contain the required values for a series. Given below is an example of such a data object.

data: [
    { x: '2006', a: 100, b: 90 },
    { x: '2007', a: 75,  b: 65 },
    { x: '2008', a: 50,  b: 40 },
    { x: '2009', a: 75,  b: 65 },
],

For every ‘x’, ‘a’ and ‘b’ will be plotted. Thus two lines will be drawn. Our app will also maintain a data list like the one shown above, however, in our case, the data objects will have a variable number of keys. One key will determine the ‘x’ value and other keys will determine the ordinates (number of tweets).

All the data objects present in the data list needs to be updated whenever a new search is done.

The getData function does this for us.

var value = $scope.tweet;
        for (date in aggregations) {
            var present = false;
            for (var i = 0; i < $scope.data.length; i++) {
                var item = $scope.data[i];
                if (item['day'] === date) {
                    item[[value]] = aggregations[date];
                    $scope.data[i] = item
                    present = true;
                    break;
                }
            }
            if (!present) {
                $scope.data.push({day: date, [value]: aggregations[date]});
            }
        }


The for loop in the above code snippet updates the global data list used by morris.js. It simply iterates over the dates in the aggregation, extracts the object corresponding to a particular date, adds the new query word as a key and, the number of tweets on that date as the value.If a date is not already present in the list, then it inserts a new object corresponding to the date and query word. Once our data list is updated, we are ready to redraw the graph with the updated data. This is done using plotData function. The plotData function simply checks the user selected graph type. If the selected type is aggregations then it calls plotAggregationGraph() to redraw the aggregations plot.

$scope.remove = function(record) {
        $scope.queryRecords = $scope.queryRecords.filter(function(e) {
            return e !== record });

        $scope.data.forEach(function(item) {
            delete item[record];
        });

        $scope.data = $scope.data.filter(function(item) {
            return Object.keys(item).length !== 1;
        });

        $scope.ykeys = $scope.ykeys.filter(function(item) {
            return item !== record;
        });

        $scope.labels = $scope.labels.filter(function(item) {
            return item !== record;
        });

        $scope.plotData();
}

The above function simply scans the data list, filters the objects which contains selected record as a key and removes them using filter method of javascript arrays. It also removes the corresponding labels and entries from labels and ykeys arrays. Finally, it once again calls plotData function to redraw the plot.

Given below is a sample plot generated by this app with the query words – google, android, microsoft, samsung.

 

Conclusion

This blog post explained how multiple series are plotted dynamically in the MultiLinePlotter app. Apart from aggregations plot it also plots tweet statistics like maximum tweets and average tweets containing a query word and visualises them using stacked bar chart. I will be discussing about them in my subsequent blogs.

Important resources

Published by

Deepjyoti Mondal

A web and mobile application developer and an enthusiastic learner. I like trying out new technologies. JavaScript and Python are my favorites