The UK Economy, JavaFX and a Dashboard…

I was recently looking for a new idea to exercise my JavaFX skills, and with the economic wows which have affected so many, I wanted to look at how I could represent the last decade’s economic data WITHOUT box charts, histograms, and line graphs! I decided that a dashboard of the data might prove interesting to create, and could be visually “exciting” (I use the word tentatively with this type of data). I wanted to try and represent this data around, say, an old car dashboard which use to be full of dials and knobs. Unfortunately you can’t tap these dials to get a “better” reading like I use to do all those years ago.

First of, where did I source the data? Well it is all freely available and the first place to look is data.gov.uk. This is an extremely useful resource for all you data junkies and I have been a member from earlier this year (before it was live). It is amazing what data is available here, however I do find it a little cumbersome being directed from one website to another to try and get the data I want and then having to re-issue my query. Thankfully the Guardian have a data blog, where you can source a lot of the data available at data.gov.uk but without having to pull your hair out! I was able to source data from both, thanks 🙂

The data I am representing is: Inflation, Interest and unemployment rates (these are monthly), and then the deficit and GDP for the UK (these are yearly). I decided I would represent the first three with dials which would move to the relevant value as each month passed, and the latter two I would represent with gauges which would move up and down depending on the values.

After some searching for inspiration I found a perfect tutorial from which I could grow my idea. So with the three dials defined and all reading their data independently (each dial is its own task, see my previous post for more info). The two gauges, similar to temperature and fuel, with a pointer moving up and down didn’t have to be set up as tasks, I could define them as triggers which would be actioned each time a year clocked over.


UK Economic Dashboard

What do think?

I hope you find the data representation and animation an original idea? I have never seen it represented like this before? I am off to source some more recent data…. I won’t pass opinion on the data itself, it is too close to the election to get drawn into that!

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13 Responses to “The UK Economy, JavaFX and a Dashboard…”

  1. Jonathan Giles Says:

    I tried running your applet, but it comes up saying that there is an error in the JNLP file. You might want to check that it isn’t set incorrectly to refer to files on your machine, etc. The exception is this:

    exception: JNLP file error: Dashboard_v1_1_browser.jnlp. Please make sure the file exists and check if “codebase” and “href” in the JNLP file are correct..
    java.io.FileNotFoundException: JNLP file error: Dashboard_v1_1_browser.jnlp. Please make sure the file exists and check if “codebase” and “href” in the JNLP file are correct.
    at sun.plugin2.applet.JNLP2Manager.loadJarFiles(Unknown Source)
    at sun.plugin2.applet.Plugin2Manager$AppletExecutionRunnable.run(Unknown Source)
    at java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)
    Exception: java.io.FileNotFoundException: JNLP file error: Dashboard_v1_1_browser.jnlp. Please make sure the file exists and check if “codebase” and “href” in the JNLP file are correct.

    — Jonathan

    • itssmee Says:

      Hi Jonathan

      Thank you for trying my dashboard/applet. I am very disappointed to hear you are having this problem. Strangely last night a friend of mine advised me of a similar problem. I am a little confused as it works for me on numerous machines with Firefox, IE 8, and Safari.

      Anyway, I plan to move the code to another site (probably a Google code project) later today (once I have managed to get through my day job).

      Apologies for the problems suffered, and I hope you will get to see it in its full glory shortly.

      Thanks

  2. Jonathan Giles Says:

    I look forward to seeing it in action 🙂 If you could leave a comment on this post when you’ve resolved things I’ll come back and check it out again. If you don’t leave a message, I’ll completely forget about it 🙂

    • itssmee Says:

      Hi Jonathan

      Thanks again for your patience, I believe the problem is now resolved (my friend is now able to play the visualisation). Turns out it was related to the fact there was no mime type assigned to JNLP by my hosting company. What puzzles me is why did it work for me on my test machines (OS X) and my partner’s work machine (Windows Vista). I could only replicate the problem under Windows XP at work.

      Anyway, I hope you find the wait rewarding. Interested in any feedback, enjoy watching how the UK taxpayer bailed out our banks….

  3. JavaFX links of the week, April 19 // JavaFX News, Demos and Insight // FX Experience Says:

    […] has created a JavaFX-based dashboard that shows how the UK economy has progressed over the last 10 or so years. It’s quite an interesting, if a little limited (and […]

  4. Java desktop links of the week, April 19 | Jonathan Giles Says:

    […] has created a JavaFX-based dashboard that shows how the UK economy has progressed over the last 10 or so years. It’s quite an interesting, if a little limited (and […]

  5. kishore Says:

    I too faced the problem with my JavaFX applet, the reason was same “no mime type assigned to JNLP by my hosting company”. If others facing this issues, this is the solution -> Add JNLP to your hosting server to “mime” type, unless browser will display download dialog box for .jnlp files.

    And I guess the reason for able to run in my own computer is because JNLP type is recognized by my computer(maybe because of JDK) and able to start Java Web Start, this is only my guess.

  6. Dave Says:

    Pretty cool! 🙂

  7. 2010 in review – A Wordpress email… « It's Smee Blog Says:

    […] The UK Economy, JavaFX and a Dashboard… April 2010 11 comments” […]

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