pemo's picture

It would be great to be able to connect to various databases (ODBC, SQL, Postgres etc.), with structured data loading of XML, JSON, CSV, TXT file types (I see this is listed elsewhere in the roadmap) - including multidimensional lists/arrays/matrices.

Of particular interest would be the ability to query NetCDF files via a THREDDS server, using URL strings to query structured scientific data via OPenDAP. This would open up Vuo for scientific visualisation development (my research area) and take it leaps and bounds beyond Quartz Composer. In addition, if some functionality similar to d3.js (e.g. standard graphing types) and WebGL support was implemented - the Data Scientist mind would boggle, given the limits of MatPlotLib, Mayavi etc.

Application scenario: Vuo composition as visualisation front-end for oceanographic data (NetCDF) on a (e.g.) THREDDS server, interaction via Leap and wand devices, 3d mouse, enabling tagging of data for subsequent computational routines in Python etc.

Proposed nodes

(Mockup by Team Vuo.)

For database support, Team Vuo proposes adding the following nodes:

  • Query ODBC Database — Connects to an existing ODBC data source (DSN) on the workstation, and executes a prepared SQL query.
    • ODBC drivers are available for many database servers, including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and MySQL.
    • This node provides an interface to specify the query and its value placeholders — for example, SELECT * FROM company.employees WHERE location = ? AND age > ?. An input port is created for each value placeholder (parameter1 and parameter2 in the mockup below). These input ports have generic types, allowing you to provide either text, integers, or real numbers.
    • If the query returns rows, they are provided as a list via the rows output port.
  • Get Row Value — Outputs the value of the specified column in the row.

Here's a simple composition demonstrating how these nodes could be used:

Screenshots, Mockups, and Videos: 




Notes from Team Vuo

Vuo Pro: 

Yes — requires a Vuo Pro license


●●○○ — A few weeks of work


@pemo: I just posted a mockup

smokris's picture
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@pemo: I just posted a mockup of what we have in mind for database connectivity, and opened this feature request for pledging.

We're still doing some research on THREDDS, and will publish a separate feature request and mockup soon.

We plan to eventually support charting/graphing and the ability to deploy compositions to web browsers (via NaCl and possibly other techniques).

It's a bit complicated: the

pemo's picture
Submitted by

It's a bit complicated: the premise behind this request is the ability to make OPeNDAP requests (programmatically conformed URL strings) to a THREDDS server (Unidata NCAR TDS to sub-set NetCDF data structures stored within an XML data catalogue. NetCDF provides self-describing data structures, susceptible to programmatic queries; THREDDS/OPeNDAP/NCAR-command language affords dynamic concatenation of virtual datasets of heterogenous datatypes. But the real issue is that the graphics are not great: MatPlotLib-type science graphs. Fine for publication, no OpenGL, no realtime interaction. Very basic stuff - that omits the enormous & key human perceptual ability with animation and interaction. (though look at e.g. visPy, mayavi for Python.) But: first you need a question (presuming some fore-knowledge of the data, its type, dimensions etc.) and then an application for it - e.g. detecting weather patterns, ocean patterns, migration of species - something to ask. (via e.g. a repository of wave-height data of a sea on Earth (but it could be on Titan)). There might be other parameters - multidimensional data such as RMS, Max wave height, Means, Frequency etc - all stored in a NetCDF file with embedded metadata. Big Question: Can one make ignorant queries of data via a TDS or via a Ferret LAS ( - tutorial video - And once you're in the process of making interesting queries, via conformed enquiries, the big thing that Vuo could enable is innovative ways to display and interact with them. Not only for scientists but for creative artists as well: unlocking really enormous data resources for innovative public display and scientific insight. The problem is that this stuff is all locked up in file formats and patterns of data query that do not 'talk to each other', so to speak - not only programmatically, but empirically as well. I hope this was a bit illuminating - it's complex, as I said. It'd be wonderful to be able to open this sort of data up to new modes of enquiry via a visual programming paradigm & yes, I'm working towards some $$ for this - but it'll take time. It'd be nice to work out a good strategy. Anyway, my five cents. :)

@pemo this sounds ...

Bodysoulspirit's picture
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@pemo this sounds ... complicated but great :) Thanks for the explanation ;)

But my question was more about : are your 2 requests quite the same or different ?

I mean

  • 1 - This request we are commenting on here itself and
  • 2 - This request here : Scientific Database

If they are quite the same they could be merged, if different, perhaps the titles should be updated for a better comprehension.

If they are quite the same, merging them will give you more votes for the request, and therefore more chance to be implemented (instead of users casting some votes here or there).

And if they are different, an updated title would allow users to see at a glance ah ok this is about this and that is about that ;)

And perhaps remove the beginning of the feature request because there is this specific feature request for that here : Structured Data Loading XML, JSON .... Again, could mislead votes ;) My 2 penny, just an idea ;)

Yep - I see what you mean.

pemo's picture
Submitted by

Yep - I see what you mean. Maybe my URLS are getting confused. I'd drop the the "Query scientific databases via OPeNDAP" and make it a simple "Query Scientific Databases" - because there are lots of ways to query them and lots of types of them - we need something very flexible & clever. Let a thousand flowers bloom! Combine by all means - if it means more eyes on a common purpose with more creativity and action, then of course: let the sun shine! Thanks :)

I changed the title of this

smokris's picture
Submitted by

I changed the title of this feature request, so we now have:

Each of those 2 feature requests describes a different database protocol to implement. We'd be happy to consider additional database protocols — each protocol should be a separate feature request, since each protocol will take a substantial amount of time to implement, and we'd like to know what the community thinks each protocol's priority should be.

Feature status

When we (Team Vuo) plan each release, we try to implement as many of the community's top-voted feature requests as we have time for. Vote your favorite features to the top! (How do Vuo feature requests work?)

  • Submitted to
  • Reviewed by Team Vuo
  • Open for community voting
  • Chosen to be implemented
  • Released


20 votes so far!

Who voted?

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