Visualization with Gourse

Reading time ~2 minutes

Recently I made this visualization for contributors to for the last two years (2012-2013). This visualization was done with gource. It was a bit of hacking, so I would like to describe here how I did it.

1 Getting the data to be visualized

For each translation or vote on the time and the name of the author is saved as well. So, we would like to get this information from the database, as well as the project to which this translation belonged, for all votes and translations.

First have a look at this diagram: db_diagram.png just to get an idea of the structure of the database.


Then look at the script below which I used to extract the data.

  SELECT v.time,, (v.time=t.time) AS new, project, origin
  FROM votes v
  LEFT JOIN users u ON (u.ulng = v.ulng AND u.umail = v.umail)
  LEFT JOIN translations t ON (t.tguid = v.tguid)
  LEFT JOIN strings s ON (s.sguid = t.sguid)
  LEFT JOIN locations l ON (l.sguid = s.sguid)
  LEFT JOIN templates tpl ON (tpl.potid = l.potid)
  LEFT JOIN projects p ON (p.pguid = tpl.pguid)
mysql -u root -D btranslator_data -B -e "$query" > contrib.txt

This is simply a join of the tables and extracting the fields that are needed. When the time of vote is the same as the time of translation, then this is a new translation and the field new is true.

2 Transforming data to the right format

In the result file contrib.txt fields are separated by TAB, so first I replaced tabs with commas (,) for easy processing. I did it with find/replace on Emacs, but any other editor can do this.

Gource expects the input file (which is called log file) in the format timestamp|username|action|filename. Gource was designed to work with version control systems (like git, subversion, etc.) in order to visualize the project activity, so the action is expected to be A, or M, or D etc. (respectively for adding, modifying, deleting a file) and filename is the file that was touched.

I had to transform the data to this format and I did it with a script like this:


while read l
    time=$(echo $l | cut -d, -f1)
    name=$(echo $l | cut -d, -f2)
    new=$(echo $l | cut -d, -f3)
    project=$(echo $l | cut -d, -f4)
    origin=$(echo $l | cut -d, -f5)
    timestamp=$(date -d "$time" +%s)  # convert to timestamp
    if [ "$new" = "1" ]; then action='A'; else action='M'; fi
    echo "$timestamp|$name|$action|$path"
done < contrib.txt > contrib.log  

I also made sure that there are no lines containing NULL and that the file is sorted in increasing order by the timestamp:

sed -i contrib.log -e '/NULL/d'

sort -t'|' -k1 contrib.log > contrib-1.log
rm contrib.log
mv contrib-1.log contrib.log

3 Feeding the data to gource and generating the output

First make sure that the tools that we need are installed:

sudo apt-get install gource ffmpeg

Then generate the video with a script like this:


gource contrib.log -s 0.1 -i 0 --max-files 0 \
       --date-format "%B %Y" --hide dirnames,filenames \
       -640x360 -o - \
  | ffmpeg -y -r 25 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm -i - \
           -vcodec libvpx -b 10000K contrib.webm

How did I know that these are the right options? I didn't know (especially for ffmpeg), I simply googled and found some examples, then I played with some options of gource in order to get it right.

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