Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Text is Beautiful!

There's a new web site that provides visualizations to give you insight into your text: Text is Beautiful. It has a Wordle-like word cloud, plus two other visualizations that make explicit the affinities between words in your source material.

It's a beautiful site, and I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 4, 2011


For whatever reason, a spate of requests have recently come in for Armenian language support. I'm happy to report that I've deployed a new build of Wordle with Mark Williamson's MPH 2B Damase font built-in. It's a very high-quality font, with support for many Unicode scripts. It's not particularly stylish or fanciful, but at least Armenian-literate folk can now enjoy the use of Wordle.

I hope that my Armenian-literate users will let me know if anything doesn't work as expected.

Oh, and there's now support for カタカナ and ひらがな, through the Chrysanthi Unicode font.

Monday, May 30, 2011


A couple of Swedish developers have released an iPhone/iPod/iPad app called WordFoto, which takes any image as input and spits out that image, but composed of words. Having dabbled with such an algorithm myself, I'm very impressed with the fact that theirs works essentially instantaneously. People are starting to add it to their personal toolkit of image-creation techniques. Go play with it.

* Full disclosure: they gave me a free copy of of their $1.99 app. I believe that this blog post is worth somewhat less than that, so I probably still owe them some cheese and crackers, or maybe a bag of taffy or something.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WordCram: An open-source Wordle-like library

If you're a programmer, and you want to create Wordle-like effects in your own software, then you couldn't do much better than to start with WordCram. WordCram is an excellent new open-source project, designed to work as an extension library for the Processing programming environment. I like the way it's designed. I like how simple it is to use. I love that the source is freely available, so that you can study it, learn from it, and improve it. Please go check it out, and give the author some love.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wordle as "Beautiful Visualization"

O'Reilly has a nifty series of books on "beauty" in technology. Editor Julie Steele asked me to contribute a chapter about Wordle to the book on Beautiful Visualization. If you're a visualization fanatic, then you may want to go buy a copy (for which all royalties go to Architecture for Humanity). However, if you're merely curious about how Wordle came to be, or how it works, you might enjoy this PDF of Beautiful Visualization, Chapter 3: Wordle.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Berylium is Back

Due to popular demand, I've put Berylium back. Who knew it had such a following?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tagxedo is amazing

Not so much an "alternative" to Wordle as much as "Wordle - the next generation". It's a leap forward both in the layout algorithms (which permit sophisticated shape-filling) and the design of the tweaking interface. It's very unusual to find a programmer who has both the sophisticated algorithmic know-how and the keen sense of user-centered design that Hardy Leung exhibits. He clearly has had an eye on the various warts in Wordle, and has addressed them with energy and determination. I wish him and his project(s) well. Go check it out!