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Guide to graph visualization tools and how they're different

When you're looking to visualize your network data, the sheer number of tools out there can be really confusing. Which one to pick?. But not all tools are alike. In this article, we'll talk about the general categories of graph visualization tools that are out there: network diagramming tools, graph visualization code libraries and network visualization tools. We'll show you which tools are the right ones for the job.

Category 1: Network diagramming tools

Quick, when you think of the word “diagram”, what do you think of? If you answered along the lines of “drawing boxes with arrows and lines”, you'd be quite right. In this category are tools that focus on you drawing the shapes and lines of your data, rather than on the data itself. While these work for one-time charts that you'll never use again, you wouldn't choose these to draw network graphs of data that you'd want to share, keep updated, etc. Here's an example:

Category 2: Graph visualization code libraries

Graph visualization code libraries are packages of code that let you write code to more easily generate graph visualizations. They don't absolve you from writing code; on the contrary, these code libraries actually require a fair amount of coding expertise. A couple examples of such code libraries:

Category 3: No-coding network visualization software

This is the category that Rhumbl resides in. These are graph visualization tools that produce network visualizations from data, so you don't have to manually draw things, but they also don't need you to write code. Choose this category if you want a data-driven network graph, but don't want to waste time getting dirty in code. An example:

There you go — 3 categories of network visualization tools, 3 distinct use cases. For a more comprehensive list of tools for graph visualization, check out this Medium article.