(Excel) .NetMap: Social Networking tools for Office 2007

Excel lacked a directed graph chart.  Now it has one.  

(Excel) .NetMap (version .57) is NOW ON CODEPLEX: http://www.codeplex.com/netmap  

Over 2,000 downloads to date! (See: http://www.codeplex.com/netmap/stats

(Excel) .NetMap is an Add-in that Tony Capone is building that provides a new chart type, the network or directed graph, to the collection supported by Excel.  Using a template worksheet users can enter “edge lists” that describes sets of relationships between people or entities.  The team also includes Natasa Milic-Frayling, Eduarda Mendes Rodrigues, Adam Perer, Ben Shneiderman, and Eric Gleave.

Reply patterns highlight the existence of two

Features in the current version:

  • Bug fix: Out-of-memory exception when calculating graph metrics on large edge worksheet.   .NetMap was reading the entire worksheet in one step, which led to an exception when not enough memory was available to do this.  It now reads the worksheet in 5000-row chunks.  (This fix was also included in the private 1.0.1.53 build.)
  • Bug fix: Writing graph metric results for large edge lists was very slow.  (This fix was also included in the private 1.0.1.53 build.)
  • Bug fix: In the class libraries, NetMapControl didn’t allow vertices and edges to be selected from within graph initialization code.
  • Bug fix: In the class libraries release, the Adapters DLL was missing.
  • Feature: There is a new “Import Edges” button in the ribbon.  You specify an open workbook you want to import an edge list from, the columns to import, and which columns are Vertex 1 and Vertex 2.
  • Feature:.NetMap is no longer in Excel’s Add-Ins ribbon tab.  It now has its own tab. 
  • Feature:.NetMap now uses a slimmed-down .NET Framework version, called the “.NET Framework Client Profile.”  It speeds up setup on machines that don’t already have a version of the .NET Framework. 
  • Bug fix: The Add-Ins tab sometimes failed to appear when switching among .NetMap and non-.NetMap workbooks.  In my tests, the new .NetMap tab is always visible when a .NetMap workbook is active; it doesn’t disappear. 
  • Bug fix: Setup failed on some XP machines.  If an XP machine doesn’t have the .NET Framework at the time Office 2007 is installed, the Office setup doesn’t install the Office 2007 Primary Interop Assemblies (PIAs) required by .NetMap.  (This isn’t a problem on Vista, which comes with .NET Framework 3.0.)  The .NetMap setup now checks for the PIAs and installs them if they are missing.
  • Feature: A new “Graph Type” drop-down in the Ribbon can be set to either Directed or Undirected.  This determines whether arrows are drawn on the graph.  Also, several of the graph metrics are calculated differently depending on the graph type.
  • Feature: Some of the graph metrics are inaccurate when the graph has duplicate edges, and you’ll now be warned about this before the graph metrics are calculated.  If you choose to calculate the graph metrics anyway, the inaccurate ones will be highlighted in red. 
  • Feature: You can turn off the duplicate edge warning. 
  • Feature: A new Merge Duplicate Edges button in the graph does just that.  It adds a Tie Strength column to the Edges worksheet in the process. 
  • Feature: The graph pane is now visible by default.
  • Feature: Minor change in the .NetMap API: Layouts that are not implemented yet now thrown a NotImplementedExceptionRight-click controls over more attributes of nodes
  • Feature: Two new buttons have been added to the Excel ribbon.  Click “Calculate Graph Metrics” to calculate one or more selected graph metrics, including the new betweenness centrality and clustering coefficient metrics. 
  • Feature: To select which graph metrics to calculate, click the down-arrow to the right of the “Calculate Graph Metrics” button, then click the “Select Graph Metrics” button.
  • Feature: The old “Calculate Vertex Degrees” button has been removed.  Vertex degrees are now calculated with the “Calculate Graph Metrics” button.
  • Feature: New controls over which attributes of a node are displayed
  • Feature: Calculation of clustering coefficients for each node 
  • Feature: Calculation of “betweenness centrality” and “clustering coefficient” graph metrics.  Click the new “Calculate Graph Metrics” button in the Excel ribbon to calculate the new metrics.
  • Feature: Two new buttons have been added to the Excel ribbon.  Click “Calculate Graph Metrics” to calculate one or more selected graph metrics, including the new betweenness centrality and clustering coefficient metrics.
  • Feature: To select which graph metrics to calculate, click the down-arrow to the right of the “Calculate Graph Metrics” button, then click the “Select Graph Metrics” button.
  • Feature: The old “Calculate Vertex Degrees” button has been removed.  Vertex degrees are now calculated with the “Calculate Graph Metrics” button.

Future work areas: 

  • Clustering features stage 1.
  • Review WPF for adding Zoom and Scale graph features.
  • Automated time sliced data: ex: daily slices of an email list
  • Filtering and clustering of nodes: ex: manual and automated groupings of nodes
  • Smart selection: a “lasso” (freeform selection) loaded with a query/criteria allows users to select only those nodes within a bounding region that pass a set of test conditions.
  • Tag or categorize nodes and node collections: label some nodes “teachers” or “students” any with any other label that could be used to cluster nodes.
  • Cluster nodes by shared attributes and labels: allow some node to become merged or composited into clusters
  • Additional layout plug-ins: collaboration opportunities with Lev Nachmanson and Tim Dwyer.
  • Projecting layouts onto “semantic substrates”: ex: plot nodes into a scatterplot
  • Double-Click create a node; click-drag, create an edge
  • Improved label control over location, font, size, color, opacity, etc.
  • Collaboration with the Pajek team!

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