When D3 came out in 2011, it became clear pretty quickly that it was going to be a powerful tool for creating data visualizations. But it’s certainly not the first — or only — tool. Why did it succeed when so many other libraries have failed?
First of all, it works on the web. Data visualizations are only good if people see them, and there’s no better place to see them than on the internet, in your browser. Protovis was the first library to make any real headway in this direction, despite other libraries and services that tried. Manyeyes is cool, but it lacks graphic flexibility and the resulting visualizations can’t just live anywhere seamlessly. Prefuse and Flare (both predecessors to D3) are nice, but neither one runs in a browser without a plugin. Quadrigram (previously Impure)... keep reading