TinyBase

Car Analysis

In this demo, we build an app that showcases the query capabilities of TinyBase v2.0, grouping and sorting dimensional data for lightweight analytical usage.

The data from this demo is derived from cars.json in the Vega datasets - thank you UW Interactive Data Lab!

An Overview Of The Data

Before looking at code, let's familiarize ourselves with the data used in this application.

The raw data is loaded from a TSV file into one single Table object: cars, and comprises almost 400 records of cars made in the 1970s and 1980s.

For each, the data includes the manufacturer, the car name, year, and region. These Cell values are 'dimensions' with which the data can be grouped.

Each record also includes a number of quantitative fields, including the car's miles-per-gallon (MPG), the number of cylinders, their displacement, its horsepower, weight, and acceleration. These Cell values are 'measures' which can be aggregated together - in this basic app, to find their average, maximum, or minimum.

The app is oriented around one single query. As the user picks different dimensions or measures in the app's sidebar, that query is re-run and the results (either in graphical or tabular form) reactively update immediately.

Boilerplate

As per usual, we first pull in React, ReactDOM, and TinyBase:

<script src="/umd/react.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="/umd/react-dom.production.min.js"></script>
<script src="/umd/tinybase.js"></script>
<script src="/umd/ui-react.js"></script>

We need the following parts of the TinyBase API, the ui-react module, and React itself:

const {createQueries, createStore} = TinyBase;
const {
  Provider,
  ResultSortedTableView,
  useCreateQueries,
  useCreateStore,
  useQueries,
  useResultCell,
  useResultRowIds,
  useResultSortedRowIds,
  useResultTable,
} = TinyBaseUiReact;
const {createElement, useCallback, useEffect, useMemo, useRef, useState} =
  React;
const {render} = ReactDOM;

For simplicity, we set up a few convenience arrays that distinguish the columns present in the data. In a more comprehensive app, these could certainly be programmatically determined.

const DIMENSION_CELL_IDS = ['Manufacturer', 'Name', 'Year', 'Region'];

const MEASURE_CELL_IDS = [
  'MPG',
  'Cylinders',
  'Displacement',
  'Horsepower',
  'Weight',
  'Acceleration',
];

We also set up the list of aggregations that are available in the user interface:

const AGGREGATES = {
  Maximum: 'max',
  Average: 'avg',
  Minimum: 'min',
};

We set up some constants that we'll use in the app to help arrange the graph elements, and to detect numeric values in the imported files so that they can added to the Store as numbers:

const GRAPH_FONT = 12;
const GRAPH_PADDING = 6;
const NUMERIC = /^[\d\.]+$/;

And finally, while we are here, we create a handy little function to round down numbers to two significant figures. Nothing clever but sufficient for this basic application.

const round = (value) => Math.round(value * 100) / 100;

Initializing The Application

In the main part of the application, we want to initialize a default Store (called store) and a default Queries object. At this point, we are not configuring any queries yet.

The two Store objects and the Queries object are memoized by the useCreateStore method and useCreateQueries method so they are only created the first time the app is rendered.

const App = () => {
  const store = useCreateStore(createStore);
  const queries = useCreateQueries(store, createQueries);
  // ...

This application depends on loading data into the main Store the first time it is rendered. We do this by having an isLoading flag in the application's state, and setting it to false only once the asynchronous loading sequence in the (soon-to-be described) loadStore function has completed. Until then, a loading spinner is shown.

  // ...
  const [isLoading, setIsLoading] = useState(true);
  useMemo(async () => {
    await loadTable(store);
    setIsLoading(false);
  }, []);

  return (
    <Provider store={store} queries={queries}>
      {isLoading ? <Loading /> : <Body />}
    </Provider>
  );
}

The loading spinner itself is a plain element with some CSS.

const Loading = () => <div id="loading" />;

This is styled as a 270° arc with a spinning animation:

#loading {
  animation: spin 1s infinite linear;
  height: 2rem;
  margin: 40vh auto;
  width: 2rem;
  &::before {
    content: url('data:image/svg+xml,<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" height="2rem" viewBox="0 0 100 100"><path d="M50 10A40 40 0 1 1 10 50" stroke="black" fill="none" stroke-width="4" /></svg>');
  }
}

@keyframes spin {
  from {
    transform: rotate(0);
  }
  to {
    transform: rotate(360deg);
  }
}

And finally this simple boilerplate code loads the main App component to start things off:

addEventListener('load', () => {
  render(<App />, document.body);
});

Loading The Data

The car data has been converted into a tab-separated variable format. TSV files are smaller and faster than JSON to load over the wire.

In this loading function, we extract the column names from the top of the TSV, check each row has a matching cardinality, use the first column as the Row Id, coerce numeric Cell values, and load everything into a standard Table.

const loadTable = async (store) => {
  const rows = (
    await (await fetch(`https://tinybase.org/assets/cars.tsv`)).text()
  ).split('\n');
  const cellIds = rows.shift().split('\t');
  store.transaction(() =>
    rows.forEach((row, rowId) => {
      const cells = row.split('\t');
      if (cells.length == cellIds.length) {
        cells.forEach((cell, c) => {
          if (cell != '') {
            if (NUMERIC.test(cell)) {
              cell = parseFloat(cell);
            }
            store.setCell('cars', rowId, cellIds[c], cell);
          }
        });
      }
    }),
  );
};

Remember, loadStore was the function referenced in the main App component, so once this completes, the data is loaded and we're ready to go.

The Body Component

The user interface of the application has two modes: a graphical rendering of aggregated data, and a tabular one. In both cases there is a sidebar down the left hand side that allows the user to select dimensions, measures, and the aggregation to be used.

The Body component wraps the sidebar and the field selection state, and then the ResultGraph and ResultSortableGrid components render the two modes.

The state of the application is based on selected dimensions and measures, which aggregate is used, and whether the data is rendered as a table. This is set up with the following hooks:

const Body = () => {
  const [dimensions, setDimensions] = useState(['Manufacturer']);
  const [measures, setMeasures] = useState(['MPG', 'Horsepower']);
  const [aggregate, setAggregate] = useState('Average');
  const [showTable, setAsGraph] = useState(false);
  // ...

The first three of these state variables - dimensions, measures, and aggregate - are used to create a query from the cars Table, and group the fields accordingly. We run the memoized creation of the query in a separate hook (which we'll come to shortly), and get its Id so we can use it in the UI:

const queryId = useBuildQuery(dimensions, measures, aggregate);

Here we render the left-hand sidebar, showing the available dimensions, measures, and aggregates. We also show a toggle for the tabular view, and offer a link to the source of the data. (We'll also cover the simple [Select](/api/queries/type-aliases/definition/select) component later.)

return (
  <>
    <aside>
      <b>Dimensions</b>
      <Select
        options={DIMENSION_CELL_IDS}
        selected={dimensions}
        onOptionsChange={setDimensions}
      />
      <hr />
      <b>Measures</b>
      <Select
        options={MEASURE_CELL_IDS}
        selected={measures}
        onOptionsChange={setMeasures}
      />
      <hr />
      <b>Aggregate</b>
      <Select
        options={Object.keys(AGGREGATES)}
        selected={[aggregate]}
        onOptionsChange={setAggregate}
        multiple={false}
      />
      <hr />
      <input
        id="showTable"
        type="checkbox"
        checked={showTable}
        onChange={useCallback(({target}) => setAsGraph(target.checked), [])}
      />
      <label for="showTable">Show table</label>
      <br />
      <small>
        <a href="https://github.com/vega/vega-datasets/blob/next/data/cars.json">
          Source
        </a>
      </small>
    </aside>
    {/* ... */}

We complete the Body component with a simple toggle between the two main views, which of course we will also shortly explore in detail. Both take the query Id and the columns to display:

      {/* ... */}
      {showTable ? (
        <ResultSortableGrid
          queryId={queryId}
          columns={[...dimensions, ...measures]}
        />
      ) : (
        <ResultGraph
          queryId={queryId}
          dimensions={dimensions}
          measures={measures}
        />
      )}
    </>
  );
};

That's the main outer structure of the application, but a lot of the magic is in the useBuildQuery hook we mentioned earlier. Whenever the dimensions, measures, or aggregate selections change, we want to run a new query on the data accordingly. Here's the implementation:

const useBuildQuery = (dimensions, measures, aggregate) =>
  useMemo(() => {
    useQueries().setQueryDefinition('query', 'cars', ({select, group}) => {
      dimensions.forEach((cellId) => select(cellId));
      measures.forEach((cellId) => {
        select(cellId);
        group(cellId, AGGREGATES[aggregate]);
      });
    });
    return 'query';
  }, [dimensions, measures, aggregate]);

The whole hook is memoized so that the query is not run every time the Body component is run. The query is (imaginatively) called query, and is against the cars Table in the main Store. The query simply selects every selected dimension, and every selected measure. Each measure is then grouped with the selected aggregate.

And that's it! Enough to query the dataset such that both the graphical and tabular views work. We'll dive into their implementations next.

The styling for the main part of the application is simple:

body {
  display: flex;
  height: 100vh;
}

aside {
  background: #ddd;
  flex: 0;
  padding: 0.5rem 0.5rem 0;
}

main {
  background: #fff;
  flex: 1;
  max-height: 100vh;
  padding: 0.5rem;
}

input {
  height: 1.5rem;
  margin: 0 0.25rem 0 0;
  vertical-align: bottom;
}

The ResultSortableGrid Component

We start with the tabular view since it's a little simpler than the graph. There's a slightly more generalized version of this component described in the TinyMovies demo. This one is quite simple.

The component takes the name of the query to render, and an array of the columns to render. The component also stores state for which column is being used to sort the results, in which direction, and whether the records to display are offset from the start of the results (in other words, due to pagination):

const ResultSortableGrid = ({queryId, columns}) => {
  const LIMIT = 10;
  const [sortCellId, setSortCellId] = useState('id');
  const [descending, setDescending] = useState(false);
  const [offset, setOffset] = useState(0);
  const count = useResultRowIds(queryId).length;
  // ...

Since users can dramatically shorten the number of results of the grid by changing the fields to aggregate, we need to defend against previous pagination 'overshooting' the number of rows now available:

// ...
if (offset > count) {
  setOffset(0);
}
// ...

The Pagination component shows the number of records, and offers buttons to paginate through them if more than 10:

// ...
const Pagination = useCallback(
  () => (
    <>
      {count} record{count != 1 ? 's' : ''}
      {count > LIMIT && (
        <>
          {offset > 0 ? (
            <button
              className="prev"
              onClick={() => setOffset(offset - LIMIT)}
            />
          ) : (
            <button className="prev disabled" />
          )}
          {offset + LIMIT < count ? (
            <button
              className="next"
              onClick={() => setOffset(offset + LIMIT)}
            />
          ) : (
            <button className="next disabled" />
          )}
          {offset + 1} to {Math.min(count, offset + LIMIT)}
        </>
      )}
    </>
  ),
  [count, offset, LIMIT],
);
// ...

The HeadingComponent lists the Cell Ids and supports the user clicking on a new one to sort by that Cell (or clicking on the existing one to reverse the current sort):

// ...
const HeadingComponent = useCallback(
  () => (
    <tr>
      {columns.map((cellId) =>
        cellId == sortCellId ? (
          <th onClick={() => setDescending(!descending)} className={cellId}>
            {descending ? '\u2193' : '\u2191'} {cellId}
          </th>
        ) : (
          <th onClick={() => setSortCellId(cellId)} className={cellId}>
            {cellId}
          </th>
        ),
      )}
    </tr>
  ),
  [sortCellId, descending, ...columns],
);
// ...

(We cheekily add the Cell Id as a CSS class so that we can color the measure headings' borders.)

And finally we create a RowComponent for each row of the grid. If a Cell is numeric, we crudely round it to two decimal places.

// ...
const RowComponent = useCallback(
  ({queryId, rowId}) => (
    <tr>
      {columns.map((cellId) => {
        const cell = useResultCell(queryId, rowId, cellId);
        return <td>{Number.isFinite(cell) ? round(cell) : cell}</td>;
      })}
    </tr>
  ),
  columns,
);
// ...

The final ResultSortableGrid component is rendered by placing the pagination next to the table, and using the ResultSortedTableView provided by the TinyBase ui-react module to render the rows according to the sorting.

  // ...
  return (
    <main>
      <Pagination />
      <table>
        <HeadingComponent />
        <ResultSortedTableView
          queryId={queryId}
          cellId={sortCellId}
          descending={descending}
          offset={offset}
          limit={LIMIT}
          resultRowComponent={RowComponent}
        />
      </table>
    </main>
  );
};

The styling for the grid is as follows:

table {
  width: 100%;
  table-layout: fixed;
  font-size: inherit;
  line-height: inherit;
  border-collapse: collapse;
  th,
  td {
    padding: 0.25rem 0.5rem 0.25rem 0;
    overflow: hidden;
    white-space: nowrap;
  }
  th {
    cursor: pointer;
    border: solid #ddd;
    border-width: 0 0 2px;
    text-align: left;
  }
  td {
    border-bottom: 1px solid #eee;
  }
}

The pagination buttons are formatted with some SVG of their own:

button {
  border: 0;
  cursor: pointer;
  height: 1rem;
  padding: 0;
  vertical-align: text-top;
  width: 1rem;
  &.prev {
    margin-left: 0.5rem;
    &::before {
      content: url('data:image/svg+xml,<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" height="1rem" viewBox="0 0 100 100" fill="black"><path d="M65 20v60l-30-30z" /></svg>');
    }
  }
  &.next {
    margin-right: 0.5rem;
    &::before {
      content: url('data:image/svg+xml,<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" height="1rem" viewBox="0 0 100 100" fill="black"><path d="M35 20v60l30-30z" /></svg>');
    }
  }
  &.disabled {
    cursor: default;
    opacity: 0.3;
  }
}

Before we go any further, click around in the tabular view to get a sense of how this component works.

The ResultGraph Component

The graph view has a little bit more going on, but has the same principle as the grid: it takes the query Id, and the list of columns to use - this time distinguished as dimensions (for the x-axis) and measures (against the y-axis).

The graph is rendered in SVG, and to lay it out effectively, we need to know the size of the component on the screen. To track this, we use the browser's ResizeObserver API, and set width and height state variables whenever it changes:

const ResultGraph = ({queryId, dimensions, measures}) => {
  const ref = useRef(null);
  const [{width = 0, height = 0}, setDimensions] = useState({});
  useEffect(() => {
    const observer = new ResizeObserver(([{contentRect}]) =>
      setDimensions(contentRect),
    );
    observer.observe(ref.current);
    return () => observer.disconnect();
  }, [ref]);
  // ...

Next we scan the data from the query to put it into the structure we need for the graph. We want a list of all the compound x-axis labels, and a series of y values for every measure. We also use this phase to get the maximum y value present so we can decide how high to make the y-axis:

// ...
const [xAllLabels, yValueSets, yMax] = useGraphData(
  queryId,
  dimensions,
  measures,
);
// ...

We'll look at the useGraphData implementation shortly.

Next we take those values and prepare the configuration of the graph itself. The useGraphSetup hook (which we will also look at shortly) returns two functions we'll use to lay the SVG elements out. It also returns the exact labels to display on both axes, for example, which take into account how many can be shown, and at a suitable frequency.

// ...
const [xToPixel, yToPixel, xLabels, yLabels, xRange] = useGraphSetup(
  width,
  height,
  xAllLabels,
  yMax,
);
// ...

At this point, we can bail out if the page hasn't fully rendered and the width and height aren't set yet:

// ...
if (width == 0 || height == 0) {
  return <main ref={ref} />;
}
// ...

But if they are, we can go ahead and build the SVG chart. Firstly the bounding box and x-axis:

// ...
return (
  <main ref={ref}>
    <svg
      xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"
      viewBox={`0 0 ${width} ${height}`}
    >
      <path d={`M${xToPixel(0)} ${yToPixel(0)}H${xToPixel(xRange)}`} />

Next, the x-axis labels, offset a little and rotated 90°:

<>
  {xLabels.map((xLabel, x) => {
    const textX = xToPixel(x) - GRAPH_FONT / 2;
    const textY = yToPixel(0) + GRAPH_PADDING;
    return (
      xLabel && (
        <text transform={`translate(${textX} ${textY}) rotate(90)`} key={x}>
          {xLabel}
        </text>
      )
    );
  })}
</>

Then, the y-axis labels, right-aligned:

<>
  {yLabels.map((yLabel) => {
    const textX = xToPixel(0) - GRAPH_PADDING;
    const textY = yToPixel(yLabel) + GRAPH_FONT / 2;
    return (
      <text
        transform={`translate(${textX} ${textY})`}
        text-anchor="end"
        key={yLabel}
      >
        {yLabel}
      </text>
    );
  })}
</>

And finally a <path /> for each measure, as well as series of (by default hidden) <circle /> and <text /> elements tht serve as hover-over labels for each data point:

        {/* ... */}
        {yValueSets.map((yValueSet, s) => (
          <g className={measures[s]} key={s}>
            <path
              d={yValueSet
                .map(
                  (y, x) =>
                    `${x == 0 ? 'M' : 'L'}${xToPixel(x)} ${yToPixel(y)}`,
                )
                .join('')}
            />
            {yValueSet.map((y, x) => (
              <>
                <circle cx={xToPixel(x)} cy={yToPixel(y)} r={GRAPH_PADDING} />
                <text x={xToPixel(x)} y={yToPixel(y) - GRAPH_FONT}>
                  {xAllLabels[x]} {measures[s]}: {round(y)}
                </text>
              </>
            ))}
          </g>
        ))}
      </svg>
    </main>
  );
};

There's some styling for the SVG chart, which also takes care of the behavior of the hover-over tooltips.

svg {
  stroke: #666;
  stroke-width: 1;
  fill: #333;
  text {
    stroke: #fff;
    stroke-width: 4;
    paint-order: stroke;
    font-size: 12;
  }
  path {
    fill: none;
  }
  circle {
    stroke-width: 2;
    fill: #fff;
    opacity: 0;
    & + text {
      text-anchor: middle;
      display: none;
    }
    &:hover {
      opacity: 1;
      & + text {
        display: block;
      }
    }
  }
}

We have also had a cheeky convention of setting the CSS class names to be Cell Ids. This allows us to have a consistent color scheme for the measures, across both the sidebar, the table, and the graph:

.measure(@color) {
  stroke-width: 2;
  stroke: @color;
  border-color: @color;
  fill: @color;
}

.MPG {
  .measure(#FFB300);
}
.Cylinders {
  .measure(#803e75);
}
.Displacement {
  .measure(#FF6800);
}
.Horsepower {
  .measure(#A6BDD7);
}
.Weight {
  .measure(#C10020);
}
.Acceleration {
  .measure(#98ce62);
}

Structuring the Graph Data

The following two hooks are needed to configure the data and layout for the graph.

The first takes the query and the two types of columns. For each Row, it concatenates the dimensional cells together (to create the labels on the x-axis) and puts the quantitative measure cells into columnar series so we can plot each line. It also determines the maximum y value to be displayed on the chart.

Note that the Row Ids are sorted according to the values of the first measure selected. In a real analytical scenario, this would be better to be configurable.

const useGraphData = (queryId, dimensions, measures) => {
  const table = useResultTable(queryId);
  const sortedRowIds = useResultSortedRowIds(queryId, measures[0] ?? undefined);
  return useMemo(() => {
    const yAll = [1];
    const xAllLabels = [];
    const yValueSets = measures.map(() => []);
    sortedRowIds.forEach((rowId) => {
      const row = table[rowId];
      xAllLabels.push(
        dimensions.map((dimensionColumn) => row[dimensionColumn]).join(', '),
      );
      measures.forEach((measureColumn, m) => {
        yAll.push(row[measureColumn]);
        yValueSets[m].push(row[measureColumn]);
      });
    });
    return [xAllLabels, yValueSets, Math.max(...yAll)];
  }, [table, sortedRowIds, measures, dimensions]);
};

The second hook is responsible for configuring the graph's layout. It takes the width and height of the containing element, all the available x-axis labels, and the maximum y value. It then returns two functions for mapping from x/y values to SVG pixels, the set of actual labels to display on each axis (taking into account spacing them so they don't overlap), and the ranges of the two axes.

It's not particularly important to understand the mathematics of this hook to understand TinyBase! These are mostly just to create well-spaced labels on the axes, and in a real-world application, you'd be more likely to use more powerful charting support from something like D3 or Vega.

const useGraphSetup = (width, height, xAllLabels, yMax) =>
  useMemo(() => {
    const xOffset = height / 4;
    const yOffset = width / 15;
    const xWidth = width - yOffset - GRAPH_PADDING;
    const yHeight = height - xOffset - GRAPH_PADDING;

    const xRange = xAllLabels.length - 1;
    const xLabels = xAllLabels.map((label, x) =>
      x % Math.ceil((GRAPH_FONT * xRange) / xWidth) == 0 ? label : null,
    );

    const yMaxMagnitude = Math.pow(10, Math.floor(Math.log10(yMax)));
    const yRange = Math.ceil(yMax / yMaxMagnitude) * yMaxMagnitude;
    const yMajorSteps = Math.ceil(yMax / yMaxMagnitude);
    const yMinorSteps = yMajorSteps <= 2 ? 5 : yMajorSteps <= 5 ? 2 : 1;
    const yLabels = Array(yMinorSteps * yMajorSteps + 1)
      .fill()
      .map((_, i) => (i * yMaxMagnitude) / yMinorSteps);

    return [
      (x) => yOffset + (x * xWidth) / xRange,
      (y) => GRAPH_PADDING + yHeight - (y * yHeight) / yRange,
      xLabels,
      yLabels,
      xRange,
      yRange,
    ];
  }, [width, height, xAllLabels, yMax]);

The [Select](/api/queries/type-aliases/definition/select) Component

To build the Body application sidebar, we use some <select /> elements. This simple [Select](/api/queries/type-aliases/definition/select) component provides a wrapper around that to callback with either the array of values, or a single value, when selected.

const Select = ({options, selected, onOptionsChange, multiple = true}) => {
  const handleOptionsChange = useCallback(
    ({target}) =>
      onOptionsChange(
        multiple
          ? [...target.selectedOptions].map((option) => option.value)
          : target.value,
      ),
    [onOptionsChange],
  );
  return (
    <select
      multiple={multiple}
      size={options.length}
      onChange={handleOptionsChange}
    >
      {options.map((option) => (
        <option
          value={option}
          selected={selected.includes(option)}
          className={option}
        >
          {option}
        </option>
      ))}
    </select>
  );
};

Note that each option is given a CSS class so that we can display the consistent colors for each measure.

The [Select](/api/queries/type-aliases/definition/select) component has some styling of its own:

select {
  border: 1px solid #ccc;
  display: block;
  font: inherit;
  width: 10rem;
  option {
    border-left: 2px solid transparent;
  }
}

Default Styling

We finish off with a few final pieces of CSS that are applied across the application.

@font-face {
  font-family: Lato;
  src: url(https://tinybase.org/fonts/lato-light.woff2) format('woff2');
  font-weight: 400;
}

@font-face {
  font-family: Lato;
  src: url(https://tinybase.org/fonts/lato-regular.woff2) format('woff2');
  font-weight: 600;
}

* {
  box-sizing: border-box;
}

body {
  color: #333;
  font-family: Lato, sans-serif;
  font-size: 0.8rem;
  line-height: 1.4rem;
  margin: 0;
  user-select: none;
}