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The Development of a Visual Database Explorer with Ruby

By Peter Cooper / December 12, 2006


Ilya Grigorik has put together a great article explaining how he has used Ruby, along with the Scruffy graphing library, to develop a basic visual database explorer.

Last night I wrote a quick database explorer for one of my projects (screenshot above). I had a database of lead stories for BBC, Yahoo News and NY Times over a period spanning Sept. 2004 to Aug. 2005 and I wanted to juxtapose and visualize different queries. The concept is simple, given two words (ex: war / peace), I wanted to see some aggregate calculations over the available document corpus.

At first, I wanted to write about a great Ruby graphing library (Scruffy) I found, but later realized that I could nail three different concepts at once: writing a simple threaded web-server, interfacing with a database, and generating live graphs (SVG/XML). It’s a nice trifecta and I learned a few nice tricks along the way, hopefully you’ll pick up something as well.

Check it out. I look forward to reading more stuff from Ilya.


  1. ariekeren says:
    argh wordpress error...

  2. Peter Cooper says:

    Looks like it's okay again now.

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