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SVG in SchoolTool


In reviewing existing CanDo reports last week, it was glaringly
obvious that some data graphics were badly needed.  This is true for
SchoolTool in general as well -- the backstory here is that when we
started this work I wasted a fair amount of time trying to make flashy
data graphics right from the start and have probably overcompensated
in the other direction subsequently.

Anyhow, the time is now.  Justas suggested I look at a javascript
library called d3 which seems just right for the job --

It is more than just a "chart" library, a bit lower level, but that
means we can use the same tool for basic and advanced data graphics --
including lots of cool transformations -- and for building interesting
things like dashboards.  Regardless, the library choice is by no means
set in stone at this point, but d3 is the leading candidate.

d3 can create pure HTML & CSS graphics, but it is really meant to
include SVG, the open vector graphics standard.  SVG is supported by
all current browsers, including IE 9, but not earlier versions of IE.
Also, IE 9 does not run on XP or earlier.  See

I have no problem requiring XP users to download a modern browser in
return for significantly enhanced functionality.  The specific case
where this is an issue is where a school is stuck on XP *and* has a
tightly managed system that won't allow users to install software
*and* the IT staff refuses to add an alternative browser.  There are
schools with this problem -- particularly where SchoolTool use is
semi-official or just totally renegade.

So it is a trade-off.  I'm going to start working on this stuff
(myself) assuming the gain is going to exceed the potential cost.

Anyhow, thoughts?