Gossip: The architecture of spreadplots
A spreadplot is a visualization that simultaneously shows several different views of a dataset or model. The individual views can be dynamic, can support high-interaction direct manipulation, and can be algebraically linked with each other, possibly via an underlying statistical model. Thus, when a data analyst changes the information shown in one view of a statistical model, the changes can be processed by the model and instantly represented in the other views. Spreadplots simplify the analyst's task when many different plots are relevant to the analysis at hand, as is the case in regression analysis, where there are many plots that can be used for model building and diagnosis. On the other hand, the development of a visualization involving many dynamic, highly interactive, directly manipulable graphics is not a trivial task. This article discusses a software architecture which simplifies the spreadplot developer's task. The architecture addresses the two main problems in constructing a spreadplot, simplifying the layout of the plots and structuring the communication between them.