Gui-Based Graph Builder That Anyone Can Use
Updated November 04, 2014

Gui-Based Graph Builder That Anyone Can Use

Ben Huntley | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • GraphStreaming
  • CoordinateView

Overall Satisfaction with Gephi

Currently, Gephi is being used by the IT Business Systems group and perhaps a few members of Research and Product Development. The IT group is always looking for new and interesting ways to visualize our data, and Gephi was the first tool I found that had a quick and easy way to load and analyze data from a graph-centric point of view. The data i played with was a mixture of both traditional business data (financials, customer support, et al) and some DNA sequence data. I shared some of the graphing models with colleagues throughout the lab, and a few of the scientists with a math background gave Gephi for a test run as well. They too are also on the hunt for new/cool ways to visually represent sequence data.
  • In comparison to other tools such as GraphWiz or Circos, Gephi comes with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that makes it easy to load your data, and quickly start building all sorts of different graphs. There's absolutely no code that needs to be written for either loading or modeling. And without downloading additional plug-ins, Gephi ships with quite a few standard graph models, as well as some "fun" extras such as the Sierpinski triangle, and a variety of force atlas types.
  • Most of the layout types (maybe all) are highly configurable, which can make for extremely customized and unique displays of your data. Again, none of this requires the user to write any code. That said, it is possible to script custom functionality for your models, or even update the Java source code yourself, if you feel like getting technical. Gephi builds are available on GitHub, and the developers encourage people to contribute ideas, improvements, and plug-ins.
  • There's a plug-in for Gephi that allows for streaming data to update your model. This essentially allows you to create near realtime graphs of your data in motion. This plug-in was by far the biggest reaston we invested time in the product; to create animated data visualizations without exhaustive hours in development.
  • At one point, there was an issue with files built in earlier builds not working in newer builds. I typically like to update products as soon as updates are available, but i wound up having to run separate version of Gephi if i wanted to check out what was new. Any models built in prior versions would then have to be recreated in newer versions if I wanted to leverage new features.
  • Documentation; you can never have enough of it. Since much of the product is being built by a variety of contributors, it's hard to document how all the features and plug-ins work. It would be great if the the Gephi team could find a body of resources to manage some sort of global product documentation. There are plenty of 3rd party videos and documents online, however, that do cover some of the specifics.
There are tools out there that can probably handle much larger datasets, however. Gephi's strength is in its ease-of-use and out-of-the box readiness. Again, there's literally no code writing required to do some pretty powerful things. Being able to open the product and get to work makes up for a short list of shortcomings. Long story short, I chose Gephi because I could do something with it, rather than trying to remember what I learned in a Perl scripting class 15 years ago.
While Gephi isn't perfect, it's a powerful tool for mathematical graph modelling that's hard to find in other products, particularly by way of its interface. It grants non-software developers access to a point-and-click way of creating accurate, beautiful visualizations that would normally take hours in other applications. The fact that it allows for live streaming data is also something that's hard to come by, at least for visualization software.
If anyone ever asked me "what mathematical graphing tool should I use", Gephi would be my first answer. At the very least, it's an excellent prototyping tool. I would be wary, however, if someone needed to use the product for large scale production output. It's finicky at times and does require a little "jiggling of the handle" to get things to work, but I'm sure the kinks will be worked out as the product matures.