The Red Hot Chili Peppers of the World

The Red Hot Chili Peppers of the World

Disclaimer: this is my first blog post

There are actually a few other firsts going on here.  It all started with the creation of my first blog so I could write my first post about my first Iron Viz entry.  Read about the contest here.  While that seems like a lot of firsts, this is not my first dashboard.  In fact, I’ve built about hundred of them.

It only seems appropriate to introduce myself a bit.  I have been using Tableau everyday for about two and half years both professionally and personally.  I have given several dozen Tableau demos over this time period.  The highlight of which was speaking at Tableau Conference 2015.  The main thing I have learned over this time is that I still have a lot to learn.  It is amazing to me that new users can start using Tableau right away to see and understand their data, but yet it is so deep that even the most experienced data nerd will almost immediately turn into a kid in a candy store when they start to realize its potential.  I am constantly learning from the community (i.e., #MakeoverMonday) and from helping others on the forums and within my organization.

click to enlarge
click to enlarge

Ok, back to Iron Viz.  I am originally from Buffalo and immediately started looking for chicken wing data like any good Buffalonian.  That didn’t turn out so well, unless you want to know how many chicken wings are eaten during the Super Bowl.  This just wasn’t going to cut it!

After recently trying the world’s hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, my next idea was to explore the world’s chili peppers and the scoville scale that determines the capsaicin in each pepper.  I could not find any good data sources, so I got my out my new favorite tool, ParseHub, to scrape the big list of hot peppers on cayennediane.com.  ParseHub is awesome!  After 10 minutes of work, my project was ripping through about 150 webpages creating my data source.  I utilized Craig Bloodworth’s web data connector initially.  Simply Genius!

I went through several iterations of design and some peer reviews until I was happy.  My vision included analysis of the pepper origin country, the scoville range, and the creation of an index that would load the pepper description and image via an embedded webpage with a hover action.  It all looked great on desktop, but all of the images were cutoff when I published!  No!

I ended up resizing and hosting my own versions of the images.  At this point, it was easier to switch to a CSV file where I could add the resized image URL.  So I begrudgingly dropped the WDC.  After a few hours, I published the new version, but the image rendering speed was not fast enough for me.  No!

click to launch the interactive version
click to launch the interactive version

I changed methods yet again and went with custom shapes instead of the web page.  The file is huge, but it was a little faster and I was not going to rebuild this again!  I created an animated GIF to share on Twitter so people could get a feel for the interactivity.

In the end, I am really happy with the result!  There are so many great entries out there, it is an honor just to be in the same group of participants.  I am already looking forward to round 2, when I will submit my blog post on time.

I hope you will visit our site again in the future.  Thanks for reading!

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