.NetMap feature requests and next steps

Jul 19, 2008 at 2:54 PM
Edited Jul 19, 2008 at 2:56 PM
Need a feature that is missing from .NetMap?  Request new features here!
Aug 20, 2008 at 4:55 PM
After many user requests, we are currently working on implementing clustering and community detection in .NetMap.
Our first algorithm will implement Newman's Fast algorithm for detecting community structure in networks.  Do you have any other favorite algorithms that have been useful to you in the past?

Let us know, preferably with some examples of success!

Aug 28, 2008 at 8:57 PM
Silverlight support?
Aug 28, 2008 at 9:16 PM

We're looking into providing an alternative visualization layer based on WPF/Silverlight.  That would make it easier to implement some features we have on our request list, including zooming and scaling.  It's still in the investigation phase, however.

-- Tony

Sep 4, 2008 at 2:15 AM
This is a great start!  It's about time Excel had network analysis functionality and the current implementation is already better in some ways than many of the exisitng dedicated packages.  The one thing I'd add to the wishlist is greater control over vertix labels.  I work with country-by-country networks and I often use a circular node layout.  The problem with most packages, including NetMap (for now), is that they place all node labels in the same positions.  In a circle layout, this places many of the labels on the inside of the circle, where they are hidden by or themselves hide the edges.  Your primary label option fixes this problem, but introduces another one: the rectangular vertix boxes obscure some of the edges, which makes it tough to tell which edge connects which vertices (this is particularly true for the vertices located near one another in the circle).  The way out of all this, would be to enable context-sensitive labeling, which would automatically try to stay out of the way of the edges.  A simpler solution would be to introduce a special label option for the circular layout, which rotates the labels in increments to create a spoke pattern on the outside of the circle.  Just a thought.
Sep 8, 2008 at 3:21 PM
Edited Sep 8, 2008 at 5:15 PM
Great work Tony and Marc!  Is there a way to suppress arrowheads?   I would like to show some edges without them.  Alternatively if we could size arrowheas smaller than the width of the line that would effectively suppress them.

Second issue--   is "skip" the way to exclude unwanted nodes from visualization?

Relatedly, is there an easy way to extract a subset of nodes along with all of the incident edges into a new worksheet?

Thanks, htw
Sep 8, 2008 at 11:06 PM

Thanks for the interest in (Excel) .NetMap!

Undirected graphs will not display arrow heads (and several network metrics will be calculated differently) if the toggle for directed and undirected graphs is selected in the ribbon.

Skipping selected nodes is simple to do with a formula in the "Visibility" column.  Try something like =IF(CellRef=Condition,1,0) to test if a cell meets a condition.  If the condition is true, place a "1" in the cell, if the condition is false, place a "0" in the cell.  Any row with a Visibility = 0 will not be displayed.

Your request for a feature that could be called "Remove all non-selected nodes" is a good one and we will add it to the feature request list.



Sep 9, 2008 at 3:52 PM

Our vertex labelling is weak right now, as you've discovered.  The labels always go in the same location with respect to the vertices, which sometimes works but often doesn't.

Automated label location with maximum visibility is a difficult problem in the general case.  We do have a work item, however, that will offer control over the location of each label.  And I just amended that work item with your suggested solution for the circular layout case, which sounds like a good idea.


-- Tony
Sep 9, 2008 at 4:39 PM
HowardT (htw):

To expand on Marc's reply:  There is an option to control the size of the arrowheads.  In the graph pane, click the Options button, then look for the "Arrow size" box.  Arrows are sized relative to the edge width, so increasing the edge width also increases the arrow size.

Setting a Visibility cell on the Vertices worksheet to "Skip (0)" or "0" causes that vertex and any edges that contain the vertex to be skipped.  "Skip" means "don't read this row into the graph."  You can get more details on this by hovering over the yellow "How Vertex Visibility Works" and "How Edge Visibility Works" comments in the workbook.

You can use Excel's table filtering feature (the down-arrows to the right of each table column header) to filter out unwanted rows, and then copy-and-paste the remaining rows to a new worksheet.  However, if you do this on the Vertices worksheet, the filtered-out vertices will probably still be present in the Edges worksheet, so this won't give you the results you want.  I've added your request to our feature request list.

Sep 26, 2008 at 8:04 PM

I would also like to see some of the items mentioned above:

 - WPF support (WindowsFormsHost works ok for now, but having native WPF support would make it a lot easier to cutomize the look & feel). 

 - more layouts

 - better labeling for existing layouts

Great work guys, keep it going.