Microsoft & .NET.NETA Quick Introduction to SandDance

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SandDance was originally introduced in 2016, as a system for exploring and presenting data using unit visualizations. SandDance shows every row of a dataset, instead of aggregating data first, and then showing the resulting data-sums as charts. SandDance shows each of these rows as a colored mark that can be organized into different areas on the screen. SandDance provides 2D and 3D visualizations, bar charts, scatter plots, stacked charts, density plots, plus interactive data-filtering and data-faceting.

SandDance originates from Microsoft Research and is released through Microsoft Garage, which is an “outlet for experimental Microsoft projects.” This means that it isn’t a polished product but more of a work-in-progress or an experimental platform.

It has now been re-released as an open source project on GitHub. It also has been re-written as an embeddable component that works with modern JavaScript toolchains. SandDance is comprised of components that work in native JavaScript or React apps, as well as various open source libraries.

SandDance also is available as an extension to Visual Studio Code and Azure Data Studio, plus it has also been re-released as a Power BI Custom Visual.

SandDance takes data visualization to a whole new level. Data gets transformed into relevant figures and facts that are rich with context and insight. The data then gets sorted and arranged it to form relevant images, such as shapes, countries, and many others. The datapoints that form further can be arranged into 3D stacks so that the data can be viewed at any angle, allowing users to reveal various critical perspectives.

Download SandDance here.


This was a quick introduction to SandDance. As soon as more information becomes available, I will update this article.

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