New beta: Vega-Lite block

Hello!

Vega-Lite is a library for creating sophisticated charts, visualizations, and interactive graphics.

The new Vega-Lite block brings the power of this library into your base.

→ Click here to join the beta. Once you click that link, the “Vega-Lite” block will be available in the list of blocks when you go to install a block.

We’d love your feedback – please reply with thoughts and suggestions in this thread!

P.S. we’ll be open sourcing this block in the next week or two, stay tuned.

6 Likes

This is one of the smartest moves by Airtable in 2020. As I suggested in 2018 (or maybe it was 2017) -

When it comes to charting and data visualizations, no company can predict the features that a customer base will need. Charting and other visualization solutions must favour the deep knowledge of open-source libraries that are based on massive input from actual customers.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!!!

Now, imagine a Script Block that generates Vega-Lite code. :wink: How will Script Blocks push code content into a Vega-Lite Block?

2 Likes

Um, how about also making the Vega library part of the Script Block platform? Then, developers can integrate arbitrary data, build dynamic Vega definitions, incorporate more complex script processes, etc.

The source code for this block is now available: https://github.com/Airtable/blocks-vega-lite

Oh man… this is so cool! I echo @Bill.French – this is an incredible addition. I’m not a data-scientist at all, and very amateur at creating data visualizations, but even just the ability to overlay graphs is a massive boon

@Kasra, I’m sure you are already aware, but I do want to point out that the editor is incredibly sluggish – frustratingly so. But none-the-less, a super cool block.

1 Like

Hmmm, I have not had the displeasure of experiencing this. I wonder if it’s because my tests [so far] have been with smaller tables. I do run a workstation with 64GB memory in a 4 core platform.

Indeed, one of the biggest trends emerging is the goal of making us all into data scientists. Airtable is in a unique position to blend the simple and elegant world of data creation and management with the complex and often unreachable aspects of powerful data visualizations. This is all about affordable luxuries.

Airtable must not be seen as just a database/spreadsheet/forms platform - it must transition into a tool that helps every-day business users tell stories with data. The Vega-Lite block is just one additional bold step in that direction. And I would ask that the dev team double down on this idea by considering these incremental enhacements:

  • Support 100% of the Vega-lite declarations including data (charting is not always about a single table).

  • Make it possible for Vega-Lite grammars to work in Script Blocks.

  • Make it possible for Script Blocks to inject data and grammars into the Vega-Lite Block.

  • Make it possible for the data node in Vega-Lite to pull from a field containing JSON data.

  • Make it possible for a field (containing JSON data) to plot a sparkline chart must the way attachments render a thumbnail.

  • Make it possible for the API to create Vega-Lite blocks.

3 Likes

And for those wondering - what’s the big deal? The charts block is just dandy, right? Take a look at what’s now possible with Vega-Lite and some JSON declaration statements.

Try to do this in Chart Block:

Or this…

Or this…

4 Likes

Ya, I guess it’s definitely a limitation of my machine then. I probably had far too many apps running in the background, as is my wont :confounded:, eating up my limited 16GB memory.