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Henk Harmsen

You close your review with the question: "I'm left wondering what users of graphic software can do with this information...".

First, the book gives a background on Mondrian, which you failed to mention. Get it at http://rosuda.org/Mondrian/.
Second, the book is more for those wanting to have a background on visualization software like Mondrian rather than designing software.
Third -what you can do with it? I use Mondrian all the time for large datasets [environmental data analysis]. It blows your socks off. Never seen anything more practical.

Kaiser

Henk: If the book is intended as a manual or introduction to Mondrian, then I think the authors are being too shy about it, e.g. they could have titled the book Interactive Graphics for Data Analysis using Mondrian. Apart from the appendix which is the Mondrian manual, I did not get the sense that it is only about Mondrian; in the main text, the authors use other software like DataDesk and R to illustrate concepts, in addition to Mondrian.
So thanks for pointing that out, and am glad to hear of the positive experience.

Martin

It might be worthwhile to comment on the both views - which are both ok, depending on what your perspective is.

Our idea was to illustrate concepts and principles of interactive graphical data analysis as generic as possible. We explicitly wanted to avoid writing a manual/cookbook on Mondrian. That said, you can either think "these are the things I should implement in a graphical tool for data analysis", or "when I use (something like) Mondrian, these are the things I should expect to do." while working on the first part of the book - I guess the latter group of readers is far bigger than the first one.

The second part (the examples) though, should finally get you to the "real work" on data sets. Using Mondrian for this part is certainly far easier than most other tools - but if you are an R addict, you can also work on it with R.

Rick Wicklin

I attended a short course by Martin and Simon at JSM 2009 that was based on their book. It was very well presented. I also recommend the book by Antony Unwin, Theus, and Heike Hofmann call Graphics of Large Datasets, which has a similar perspective on creating effective graphics (and software).

To be clear, there are several commercial products that share features that are present in Mondrian. For example, I work at SAS, and we produce both JMP and SAS/IML Studio. As you mention, DataDesk is another similar product.

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