— Forest and the Trees


I’m speaking at Boston Flex User Group on Tuesday September 13 at 7pm at Adobe in Waltham. It’ll basically be the same talk I gave at Harvard. But, probably a bit more technical and I’ll add some mobile stuff (HTML5). You should come! It’ll be fun!

Flex Group Announcement

EventBrite link

Description below…

Doug Marttila, Lead Visualization Engineer at PatientsLikeMe will talk about the importance of patient reported data in healthcare; the user experience and architectural challenges that PLM faced in creating a platform for all diseases; and the design and code used in creating the patient charts.

For more details go to patientslikeme.com, search for patients with specific conditions, or, click below to see two examples of public patient charts:



PatientsLikeMe is the leading user-reported medical site in the world. With over 110,000 members, they have enormous amounts of patient reported data. In April of 2011, they released an updated version of their site which can support all of the approximately 3,500 diseases in the world.

Doug Marttila is Lead Visualization Engineer at PatientsLikeMe where he makes many of the user facing charts. He’s been building charts for the web (mostly in Flash) for the past 12 years. His rarely updated blog is forestandthetrees.com.
Please join us after 6:30pm for discussion and refreshments. Talk begins promptly at 7pm.

To get future event announcements, sign up at http://groups.google.com/group/bostonfug
Please RSVP at http://bfug20110913.eventbrite.com.

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Adobe released a new sdk for Flex which fixes a cross-scripting security threat. So, you download the sdk, unzip it, create a new directory for 3.4.0 in your flex sdks directory. Also extract the data viz zip and put its files in the appropriate directories in the 3.4.0 directory that you just added. (You could do this different ways as well.)

Then in Flex Builder, right click on a project, choose Properties, Flex Compiler, Configure Flex SDKs. And add your new SDK.

So, pretty sure there are plenty of posts on how to do the above. But, now you need to extract the DataViz source. This post explains that. And here’s what you can copy and paste into Terminal to get it to work if you’re on a mac.

java -jar “/Applications/Adobe Flex Builder 3 Plug-in/sdks/3.4.0/lib/DMV-source.jar” “/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Flex” “/Applications/Adobe Flex Builder 3 Plug-in/sdks/3.4.0″

The blog changes the straight quotes to curly quotes, so, you’ll probably have to change that.

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This just came up. I’ll be giving my mashup talk again (twice in one week – really getting some good value), this time to BFPUG.

Info here…

Wednesday, March 25
The New England Institute of Art
Center Campus (Brookline Village) http://www.artinstitutes.edu/boston/AboutUs/MapsDirections.aspx
Room 1001-1002

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Here’s a link to a pdf of the mashup talk I just gave to the Harvard Flash User Group.

A special thank you to Oscar Cortes. I shamelessly stole content from the mashup talk he gave to both the Design Patterns group and the excellent Flex Camp Boston.

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Now I can copy and paste this code instead of having to remember a.name().toString();

Anyway – this takes
var x : XML =
<node name=’Doug’ hadAGoodTimeSleddingOnSunday = ‘true’/>
o.name = “Doug”;
o.hadAGoodTimeSleddingOnSunday = “true” //yup you’d want to type that as a Boolean.

var o : Object = {};
var atts : XMLList = x.attributes();
for each (var a : XML in atts) {
var propName : String = a.name().toString();
o[propName] = a.toXMLString();

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Getting near the end – Oregon and Kentucky hold their primaries today. Looks like Clinton will win Kentucky (51 delegates). Obama will win Oregon (52 delegates). And Clinton will continue to smoke the high grade and think she can somehow win. I updated the election center and added a summary tab. The tab contains two charts: a pie chart showing current totals; and a bar chart showing how many delegates each candidate needs to win. Most telling is Clinton needs to win 72% of the remaining delegates to win.

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Updated the counts and added some more charts. Not perfect, but, better. Here it is. Also, lots of bugs when you resize!

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I had been working w/ the Flex beta (where you couldn’t get at the source) for so long, I just gave up. But, you can get at the charting component source if you buy Flex Builder Pro. Not open source, but, all I want to do is override methods. (via Pearls of Flex)

Check out this link if you need to extract the source. For 3.0 it seemed to auto-extract. But, for Flex 3.1, I needed to extract.

Also, check this post for the command to type into terminal.

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Google has released a data visualization API. Some of it is Flash – specifically the code they got when they purchased Gap Minder.

Update: Infosthetics has a good post about this as well.

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I’ve finally found a way to blog regularly – update primary data. Mississippi data added to the Election Dashboard.

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