Polimero-bio - composable biological visualizations using web components

Daniel Alcaide, Ryo Sakai, Raf Winand, Toni Verbeiren, Thomas Moerman, Jan Aerts

As a visual data analysis lab, we often combine (brush/link) well-known data visualization techniques (scatterplots, barcharts, ...). Although this is possible in general purpose tools like Tableau, the specifics of the biological domain often require the development of custom visuals. This leads to the issue that we end up reimplementing the base visuals over and over if we want to build them into a specific analysis tool. Here, we present a proof-of-principle framework for creating composable linked data visualizations, including an initial collection of parsers and visuals with an emphasis on biology.

With polimero and polimero-bio, we want to create a scalable framework for building domain-specific visual data exploration tools using a collection of D3-based reusable components. Polimero is based on the emerging W3C-standard of web components (as enabled through Polymer; www.polymer-project.org), which allows for creating custom elements, HTML templates, shadow DOM and HTML imports. This makes it possible to create applications that are composable, encapsulated, and reusable. This is valuable both for the developer/designer who can easily create and plug-in custom visual encodings, and for the end-user who can create linked visualizations by dragging existing components onto a canvas using the polimero-designer.

Polimero and polimero-bio are available at http://bitbucket.org/vda-lab/polimero.


BioVis 2015 Information