Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tag Clouds vs. Pie vs. Bar Charts

When I was freshman in college I learned a lesson about making sure to emphasize important points. I got a C- on the very first paper I wrote as a college student. When I looked at the comments made by the Teaching Assistant (TA) who graded my paper, they were all very positive. In fact there were no comments at all to explain why I got the grade I got. When I asked the TA to tell me why he gave me a C-, he said that I made two mistakes. I did not meet the minimum pages requirement (my paper was 18 pages instead of 20); and I did not provide a summary. He gave me some advice about how to handle both issues in the future:
  • First, make sure to introduce the topic (i.e., talk about what you are going to talk about)
  • Next, discuss the topic (i.e., talk about it).
  • Last, summarize it (i.e., talk about what you just talked about).
So in that spirit let me summarize now my recent posts on Tag Clouds. One of my points was that Tag Clouds were a good way to display BI data in a meaningful way. Consider for example a Tag Cloud as originally described in this post:
vs. a Pie Chart
vs. a Bar Chart

on the same data (

Don't know about you, but seems to me that the Tag Cloud does a much better job of displaying the data in a meaningful way.

In my next three posts I described:
And to re-emphasize the re-usability point, consider this example where I just specify a different form and get a different set of data presented in the Tag Cloud.

In the not to distant future I will be blogging on another use of this AJAX template: a expanding/collapsing tree view of a summary data set:
Before that however I will digress a bit to talk about using PROC STREAM and SAS Server Pages in Base SAS to produce reports.

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