[Networkit] Graph Drawing & Dropping the "viz" Module

Christian Staudt christian.staudt at kit.edu
Wed May 20 16:56:29 CEST 2015

Hi NetworKit developers,
as agreed, we are going to clean up the code base for the next release to focus more on a strong core of functionality.

At this point graph drawing is not a strong selling point for NetworKit. We have already dropped the “viztools” module, a student project which contained some code for layout and drawing in Python. I also propose that we drop the code under networkit/cpp/viz from future releases. Some reasons:

- the classes are not pythonized
- the code is not release-ready in my opinion, e.g. it contains things like hard-coded paths for the output files
- it implements postscript-based graphics from scratch, relatively much low-level code for relatively little functionality
- it is one of 4 (!) rudimentary options in NetworKit for drawing graphs on the screen, which is probably confusing for users. We should get down to 2 proper ones (see below).

Does any of that code implement a competitive method for graph drawing that other tools do not provide (better)? Are there other reasons for keeping the layout code in a release? If yes, it should be definitely refactored: Layout algorithms should return simply 2D-coordinates for nodes. Drawing the actual graphics is not NetworKit’s job and can be delegated completely to other tools:

- NetworkX for small graph drawings within the IPython Notebook
- Gephi for anything larger

I recommend that we focus on a good interface to Gephi to support visual inspection of graphs.


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