Strange Loop

September 26-28 2018


Peabody Opera House


St. Louis, MO

Visualization Driven Development

How do software developers understand the code that they write? How do they diagnose and correct problems when they appear? Most of the time they reach for unit tests, debuggers, REPLs, or logs. These tools work but have limitations. Debuggers and REPLs show a single point in time on a single thread. Logs become huge and difficult to comprehend. Unit tests cannot solve problems you didn't predict.

We've heard before that visualizations can help but we're tired of waiting for a future when these tools will be delivered. The solution is to build our own interactive visualizations displaying the algorithms we're developing.

Visualization Driven Development is the practice of using interactive visualizations to understand the algorithms of our applications. It works alongside and supplements traditional testing. This talk will demonstrate techniques for easily creating these visualizations and connecting them to your code. I'll show simple but powerful examples using basic HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and with more advanced visualization tools such as D3.

Jason Gilman


Jason Gilman is a software engineer working for Element 84 in the DC area. He has been working with and developing high performance systems for searching NASA Earth Science data for the last 8 years. He speaks at Java and Ruby meetups and developer conferences and co-organizes the ClojureDC meetup.