Candela JavaScript API


Components often have a width and height option, which specify the width and height of the component in pixels.

Field matchings

Axis scales

Several components have options that relate to the axes of the visualization. These are commonly called x and y but may also have more descriptive names. The component will often automatically detect the type of values in the field being mapped to an axis and will create an appropriate axis type, such as evenly-spaced values for string fields and a continuous-ranged axis for numeric and date fields. Visualizations showing continuous-ranged axes often allow pan and zoom of the axis by dragging and scrolling in the visualization area.

Color scales

Many Candela components contain a color option, which will color the visual elements by the field specified. When possible, color will detect the type of the column and use an appropriate color scale. For fields containing string/text values, the visualization will use a color scale with distinct colors for each unique value. For fields containing numeric or date values, the visualization will use a smooth color gradient from low to high values.

Data types


A Candela table is an array of records of the form:

    "a": 1,
    "b": "Mark",
    "c": "Jun 1, 2010"
    "a": 2,
    "b": "Andy",
    "c": "Feb 6, 2010"
    "a": 3,
    "b": "Joe",
    "c": "Nov 27, 2010"

Visualization components

VisComponent is the base class for Candela visualization components. This class is intentionally minimal, because there are only a few common features of all Candela components:

  1. Candela components work on the web, so the constructor looks like new VisComponent(el), where el is (usually) a DOM element. The VisComponent constructor attaches el to the object, so you can always refer to it using this.el.
  2. Candela components perform some type of visualization, so they have a render method. The base class render simply raises an exception.

You can create a concrete visualization component by extending VisComponent. The following best practices maximize clarity, reusability, and interoperability of your components (in the rest of this document, imagine that Component is declared as an extension of VisComponent, such as BarChart):

  1. The constructor should take an additional parameter options encapsulating all runtime options for the component.
  2. The component should report its expected inputs in Component.options.
var component = new Component(el, options)

Constructs a new instance of the Candela component.

  • el is a valid container for the visualization. The container will often be a DOM element such as <div>, but may need to be another type for certain visualizations.
  • options is an object containing the initial options for the visualization. This includes any data, visual matchings, or other settings pertinent to the visualization. Options are specified in the form {name: value}.

Note: The constructor for the abstract superclass is empty. You should use the constructor for specific subclasses of VisComponent.


Renders the component to its container using the current set of options.

Note: The VisComponent render() method simply throws an exception; if you truly want your component to do nothing when it renders, simply redefine the method to be a no-op.


The serializationFormats field is a list of strings of supported formats. Formats include:

  • 'png': A base64-encoded string for a PNG image. The string may be placed in the src attribute of an <img> element to show the image.
  • 'svg': A base64-encoded string for an SVG scene. The string may be placed in the src attribute of an <img> element to show the image.

Serializes the component into the specified format.


This static property is an array of Option specifications, containing a description of the options this visualization accepts. This may be used to introspect the component to implement features such as automatic UI building.


A static field containing the type of container this visualization can be added to. The most common is DOMElement.

Option specification

An option specification describes an input to a visualization as part of the Component.options array. It is an object containing the following properties:

name (String)
The name of the option.
type (String)
The type of the option. Type and format follow Girder Worker types/formats.
format (String)
The format (specific encoding within a type) of the option. Type and format follow Girder Worker types/formats.
domain (Domain)
Optional. A restriction on this option’s set of allowed values.

Domain specification

The domain of an option restricts the set of allowed values for an option. It is an object with the following properties:

mode (String)
The domain mode, one of 'choice' or 'field'. The 'choice' mode will allow a fixed set of options set in the 'from' field. The 'field' mode will allow a field or list of fields from another input. If the option type is 'string', the option is a single field, and if the option type is 'string_list', the option accepts a list of fields.
from (Array or String)
If the mode is 'choice', it is an array of strings to use as a dropdown. If the mode is 'field', it is the name of the input from which to extract fields.
fieldTypes (Array)
If mode is 'field', this specifies the types of fields to support. This array may contain any combination of datalib’s supported field types which include 'string', 'date', 'number', 'integer', and 'boolean'.


Candela utility functions.


Returns an object with the fields width and height containing the current width and height of the DOM element el in pixels.

Utilities for generating Vega specifications.
util.vega.chart(template, el, options, done)

Generates a Vega chart based on a template instantiated with options.

template is the [Vega template](#vega-templates) representing the chart.

el is the DOM element in which to place the Vega visualization.

options is an object of {key: value} pairs, containing the options to use while compiling the template. The options may contain arbitrarily nested objects and arrays.

done is a callback function to called when the Vega chart is generated. The function takes one argument that is the resulting Vega chart.

util.vega.transform(template, options)

Returns the instantiation of a template with the given options. This is the underlying function used by :js:func`util.vega.chart` to instantiate its template before rendering with the Vega library.

template is the Vega template.

options is an object of {key: value} pairs, containing the options to use while compiling the template. The options may contain arbitrarily nested objects and arrays.