Javascript – Understanding how D3.js binds data to nodes


I'm reading through the D3.js documentation, and am finding it hard to understand the method from the documentation.

This is the example code given in the documentation:

var matrix = [
  [11975,  5871, 8916, 2868],
  [ 1951, 10048, 2060, 6171],
  [ 8010, 16145, 8090, 8045],
  [ 1013,   990,  940, 6907]

var tr ="body").append("table").selectAll("tr")

var td = tr.selectAll("td")
    .data(function(d) { return d; })
    .text(function(d) { return d; });

I understand most of this, but what is going on with the .data(function(d) { return d; }) section of the var td statement?

My best guess is as follows:

  • The var tr statement has bound a four-element array to each tr node
  • The var td statement then uses that four-element array as its data, somehow

But how does .data(function(d) { return d; }) actually get that data, and what does it return?

Best Solution

When you write:


D3 creates a bunch of <foo> elements, one for each entry in the array. More importantly, it also associates the data for each entry in the array with that DOM element, as a __data__ property.

Try this:

var data = [ {msg:"Hello",cats:42}, {msg:"World",cats:17} ];"body").selectAll("q").data(data).enter().append("q");
console.log( document.querySelector('q').__data__ );

What you will see (in the console) is the object {msg:"Hello",cats:42}, since that was associated with the first created q element.

If you later do:

  // stuff

the value of d turns out to be that __data__ property. (At this point it's up to you to ensure that you replace // stuff with code that returns a new array of values.)

Here's another example showing the data bound to the HTML element and the ability to re-bind subsets of data on lower elements:

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