Updated plugin and future development

11 April 2016 12

Released in 2012, the sigma.js plugin for Gephi allows for the interactive display of network data in a web browser using open-source technologies, principally sigma.js. The HTML framework and Gephi plugin were a collaborative effort by Scott A. Hale, Joshua Melville, and Kunika Kono at the Oxford Internet Institute as part of a small summer project funded by Jisc.

We have been overjoyed by the enthusiastic reception of the plugin/code. Visualizations produced with the plugin have been used on over 10,000 websites including Elsevier, Harvard, the Wikimedia Foundation, and MastodonC. Collectively, these visualizations have been viewed over one billion times by more than one million unique users.1

Since the initial release of our plugin, the size/scale and types of data people wish to visualize have changed, and the technologies for displaying and summarizing data have also evolved. Nonetheless, we believe our core goal of creating easy-to-use alternatives to static images remains just as relevant, and we will be continuing to develop the plugin as part of the Nexus project at the OII.

The Nexus team—Jonathan Bright, Scott Hale, and Graham McNeill—are testing alternative ways to visualize network data with geographic and/or temporal properties. As a first step of this project, we have released an updated plugin for Gephi 0.9.x. For the moment, this plugin simply reproduces all the behaviour of the previous plugin for Gephi 0.8.x, but more updates will be coming. The largest update will be a switch to the newer 1.1 version of Sigma.js, which greatly improves support for mobile devices. Later, some of the features for geospatial and/or temporal data created within the Nexus project will also be incorporated.

Users of our plugin may also be interested in a separate development direction towards capturing self-reported network/friendship data in a rich and detailed way through technology and structured interviews, for which Josh Melville has developed Network Canvas.


1. Statistics are from Google Analytics and represent a lower bound as the code can be easily modified (as we hope people do!) and the analytics removed. Figures are from January 1 2013 to January 1 2016. Unique users are unique across all outputs produced with the plugin. ↩

12 thoughts on “Updated plugin and future development

  1. Lawrie

    I’ve been using the plugin for a while, but I assumed development was mostly finished. This is great news.

    Reply
  2. Lawrie

    This is great news.

    Would you consider adding an option to use Sigma’s WebGL renderer? That could be really helpful for performance on larger graphs.

    Reply
    1. Scott A. Hale Post author

      Hi Lawrie,

      The new version of the plugin will use the latest version of sigma.js, which will make adding additional plugins and other features easier. I won’t promise anything on the WebGL renderer specifically, but the new version should make using it a simple change in the JavaScript even if we don’t specifically ask about default renderer in the settings box in Gephi.

      Cheers,
      Scott

      Reply
  3. John McIntyre

    Hi Scott,

    Good to hear you are still working on this.

    I can’t seem to find the 0.9.x version anywhere – are you able to add a link, or point me in the right direction?

    Many thanks,

    John

    Reply
    1. Scott Hale Post author

      Hi John,

      After you have installed Gephi, the plugin should be available via the Tools->Plugins menu option in Gephi. If this doesn’t work, please let me know.

      Best wishes,
      Scott

      Reply
  4. Brendan

    The plugin now no longer seems to render the graphs opened in Google Chrome (only works in Safari). Any support updates soon to fix this?

    Reply
    1. Scott Hale Post author

      Hi Brendan, Chrome has additional security restrictions that mean the network will not load when the files are open locally. It will work fine once uploaded to a webserver. Cheers, Scott

      Reply
      1. Brendan

        Thanks Scott – I just made a local server and it rendered. Also, what part of the js do I need to change to make the label size bigger for the nodes. In main.js I changed defaultLabelSize: 14, to be 20 or so and it made no difference, just shifted the text over.

        Reply
        1. Scott Hale Post author

          I’ve tracked the defaultLabelSize issue down to a missing space. The easiest workaround is to add a trailing space to the fontStyle property in config.json. That is, change:
          “fontStyle”: “bold”,
          to:
          “fontStyle”: “bold “,
          in config.json. A newer version of the plugin really is on its way and will correct this!

          Reply
  5. Martin

    Hi Scott, I do really love your plugin and I’m looking forward to the update working with Sigma.js v1.1. Can you give an estimate when it will be released?

    Reply

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