Tag Archives: BI

Gephi Plugins Developers Workshop at IMVU

by Paco Nathan

At IMVU, the Data team often works with large data sets which represent customer interactions across social graphs. This kind of data cannot be explored very well using relational databases, such as MySQL. Instead, we rely on other tools for analyzing social graphs.

One tool which we really like is called Gephi, an open source platform for visualization and analysis of graphs. Our team uses Gephi as an interactive UI for exploring relationships and patterns in graphs. We also use it for calculating social graph metrics and other statistics which help us to characterize large graphs. One favorite feature in Gephi is how readily it can be extended by writing plugins.

We’ve received much appreciated help and guidance from the Gephi developer community. Now we are glad to be able to host the first Gephi workshop about developing plugins. Bring your laptop, install the required software from sources provided, and work with mentors to learn how to write your own Gephi plugins! And get to network with other people in the Gephi developer community.

To RSVP, please click through the Meetup.com link below.

Title: Gephi Plugins Developers Workshop

Organizers: Mathieu Bastian and Paco Nathan

Date and Time: Thursday, October 6, 2011, 7:00-9:30pm

Location: IMVU, Inc.. 100 W. Evelyn Ave #110, Mountain View, CA

Cost: No cost

Food and drinks: Food, drinks, and wifi will be provided

Agenda: This is the first Gephi workshop dedicated to Gephi Plugins developers! Come and learn how to write your first Gephi plugins and ask questions.

The workshop will start with a 1-hour presentation of Gephi’s architecture and the different types of plugins that can be written with examples. Details about Gephi’s API, code examples and best practices will be presented in an interactive “live coding” way. The Gephi Toolkit will also be covered in details. The second part of the workshop will be dedicated to help individuals with their projects and answer questions. Depending on the audience’s needs we can discuss plugin design, how to code UI, databases, toolkit, data sources or any plug-in idea you have.

Gephi is modular software and can be extended with plugins. Plugins can add new features like layout, filters, metrics, data sources, etc. or modify existing features. Gephi is written in Java so anything that can be used in Java can be packaged as a Gephi plugin! Visit the Plugins Portal on the wiki and follow the tutorials.

Link to event on meetup.com: Gephi Plugins Developers Workshop

Agile Business Intelligence: A Core Component of Agile Engineering

By Curtis Pullen

Business intelligence (BI) is not a term that is frequently brought up in the context of agile development – it seems more appropriate in the context of big, slowly moving companies crunching data on million dollar mainframes. The truth, however, is that business intelligence is a critical and integral part of the agile product development process. The goal of agile is to enable teams to react to feedback, and the goal of business intelligence is to provide that feedback.

Business intelligence in the traditional sense is unfortunately not equipped to provide the kind of feedback that an agile engineering team needs. When multiple teams of engineers are iterating in two or three week sprints, continuously deploying their changes to a production system as we do at IMVU, BI needs to be even faster. Those engineers are inventing new dimensions of potential analysis at an explosive rate and transforming user behaviour so quickly that data more than a few months old is of only archaeological interest, and to maintain that pace they need continuous feedback. They need to know when a mistake has been made so they can fix it; they need to know when they’re on to something revolutionary so they can run with it. They need BI that’s as agile as they are.

So what does agile BI look like? It employs many of the same patterns as agile software development: quick iteration, frequent releases, and close communication. While a feature is under development, BI analysts meet with product management to identify the high-level metrics that will best indicate the status of the project post-release, and with engineers, to determine how that data might best be obtained. When a project ships, BI analysts aggregate the data, translate it into meaningful information, present it, and seek feedback. Any questions or concerns raised by engineering or management trigger a new round of the cycle:

1. Discuss requirements with stakeholders.

2. Collect and interpret data

3. Deliver results to stakeholders and collect feedback

In order for this to succeed, BI needs to be tightly linked to both engineering and management. At IMVU, we accomplish this by having our engineers take on most of our BI work as an integral part of product development, while more sophisticated analysis is undertaken by a BI team with engineering support. We collect the right data exactly when we need it, we don’t waste time scrutinizing obvious patterns, and we illuminate the details as soon as it’s necessary.

Life moves fast, business intelligence should too.

This is an expanded version of some thoughts I put down in a contest for how best to describe agile BI. You can read the entries and then vote for mine here: http://www.pentaho.com/what_is_agile