This project was done in collaboration with Distill
Oakland International Airport wanted to distribute monthly and yearly financial data to various stakeholders and interested parties. But compiling that data and generating nicely designed reports can be time-consuming and costly, so they needed an automated solution. Working with Alex and Amadeo at Distill, I helped research and test a number of technologies that would generate data visualizations on-the-fly (chartio, etc). However, none of the available options would allow Distill to define the exact look and feel of the charts, and none of the solutions offered dead-simple data entry for our client. Some of theme even required database manipulations. Yuck!
We decided to brew our own.
The solution I programmed uses a combination of Google spreadsheets, the Google spreadsheet data source API, Google gadgets, and Google sites to display the data visualizations. OAK’s staff enters data straight into a spreadsheet, and it updates the charts in a pixel-perfect implementation of Distill’s design. The charts and graphs are all modular components that are pasted into the Google site’s wysiwyg editor, so the documents can be easily updated and expanded in the future. Special keywords in the spreadsheet are used to indicate if a block of cells should be rendered as a table, a bar-graph, a pie-chart, or a line-chart. Still deeper control is afforded, allowing the orientation and labeling features of various charts to be controlled from the spreadsheet.
Note: all financial data in the screenshots below was entered for testing purposes only