Backend machine path visualization for a web-request

Mar 15, 2012 at 9:46 AM

I need a directed graph visualizer for my project. The visualization is for a web-request flowing through different component of backend-servers. This closely matches with the capability that NodeXL provides (group collapse/expansion, directed edges, etc). But there are couple of things that is making it difficult to use. Here is a list of things that I want

1) I have a request going from machine A to machine B and then a response coming back from B to A. When I define these 2 edges, NodeXL merges these 2 edges and make 1 bi-directional edge. I need to separately label these 2 edges. Is there a way I can separate these 2 edges on NodeXL graph.

2) In my machine path, I have a hierarchy of machines. I want to position certain nodes above other. Is there a way to define order/position of nodes in NodeXL.

   If the above are not supported in NodeXl, is there any other visualizer, that can best fit the requirement that I have ?

Thanks & Regards

Saurabh Shrivastava

Mar 15, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Edited Mar 15, 2012 at 4:36 PM


1) NodeXL lays parallel edges right on top of each other, so you can't distinguish them in the graph pane.  This is an obvious problem and we've discussed how to fix it, but we haven't gotten to it yet.  I'll relay your "vote" for this to the NodeXL team.

2) Do this:

    A. In the ribbon, go to NodeXL, Show/Hide, Workbook Columns and check Layout.  This shows the Layout Order column on the Vertices worksheet, among others.

    B. Hover your mouse over the Layout Order column header on the Vertices worksheet to get instructions for setting the vertex stacking order.

I don't know the answer to your last question about other visualizers.  Maybe other readers can help.

-- Tony

Mar 15, 2012 at 9:10 PM


It is possible to make different edges different colors, which has some capacity to differentiate unidirectional and bidirectional edges.

One of the best visualization tools for networks is Gephi (  NodeXL and Gephi share the GraphML data format for exchange of data sets.