Playing with D3js and RethinkDB posted on 17 June 2013

Here is my last week end project.

This project has three purposes/reasons:

  • Kill time
  • Play with RethinkDB’s python driver
  • Draw cool stuff with D3.js

The project is about drawing a graph of similar movies. The users can expand the graph by clicking on a node. Because I am limited to 10 requests per second, I though it wouldn’t be stupid to cache things. Instead of caching things in memory with a home-made memcached, I though it would funnier to use RethinkDB.

So here is what happens every time a user ask for some data

  • We check if we have the data in the database
  • If we do, we just return the results
  • If we don’t, we fetch some data from rottentomatoes, dump it in RethinkDB and send it back to the user.

The main components of the used stack are Flask, RethinkDB and D3.js. There are some secondaries components too like Cherrypy, Bootstrap and Jquery.

I would note two things from this project

  • While the force layout always converge to a “good” representation, it is quite unstable during the first ticks. I tried to tweak a little the algorithm to make it less oscillating at the begining, but could not do it to a certain point.
  • It’s pretty cool to write queries like
movie = r.table("movie").get(id_movie).do( lambda movie:
        # If we didn't find the movie or didn't find the similar movies
        (movie == None) | (~movie.has_fields("similar_movies_id")), 
        # We just return the movie/None
        # Else we add a field similar_movies with the relevant data
            "similar_movies": movie["similar_movies_id"].map(lambda similar_movie_id:
    )).run( g.rdb_conn )

I have started to implement the search feature, but I’ll leave it as it is I think. I have other cool idea in my mind :-)