Grokker Java applet makes Monday's New York Times business section.
Would it be shameless to plug a new release of a interesting new
search visualization product just because it happens to be featured in
Monday's New York Times (May 9th)?
In the Business section, on page
C-3, with a nice color screenshot and a teaser at the top of page C-1?
Perhaps it would.
But only if I failed to mention a former colleague,
who used to manage the J2SE client group, now works at
the company who produced this press-worthy Java client software. So
far he hasn't agreed to provide any incentives in return for promoting
the new free
front-end for Yahoo search. If the Groxis
is any indication, they don't really need my help.
Grokker application screenshot with highbrow art search results.
Grokker is a visualization for search results that organizes matches
into hierarchical groups, where the members of each group all belong
to a category. As you can see in the screenshot above, categories are
displayed as circles, membership by containment, relevance by scale,
and so on. An enormous amount of information can be put on the screen at
once, thanks in no small part to some expert use of Java2D. There's
also support for dynamically filtering the results. So if you want
exclude matches that are newer than 1997, you can just grab a slider
and interactively exclude just as much of the past as suits your
purposes. Grokker is available now as an applet for everyone, you'll
find it on
It's also available as a stand-alone application. I've used screenshots
of the stand-alone version from an somewhat dated
column because I'm lazy.
The library here at Sun provides a Grokker interface for our entire
collection, as does the Stanford University library. I've talked
to the librarian for Sun about it. Apparently Sun library patrons have
found Grokker to be really effective; sometimes saving hours
of time relative to conventional list-of-text search systems.
The feedback from Stanford
researchers has also been really positive. As a Java client developer
I can honestly say that I'm pleased to hear that this Java applet
is a useful tool; but did anyone notice the GUI's awesome rollover highlights?
And the animated segues? And the snappy performance?
Grokker is a great example of what's possible with Java2D and Swing
and the complete Java platform. And, it's a pretty good search
visualization tool too.
Grokker Application Screenshot: drilling into the roll-over highlights.