Adding javascript functionality to WordPress posts

Adding your own javascript implementation to posts in your wordpress blog is slightly more difficult then one might think. The difficulties stem from two things.

  • WordPress editors format html and javascript in posts.
  • The process to use a javascript file in a post is not straightforward.

Avoiding automatic formatting

There are probably several ways to accomplish this, but if found that a plugin called Text Control gives you lots of options as to how your posts are formatted, allowing javascript to be written in posts without a lot of difficulty.

Using javascript in a post

Since I want to use plots often, I choose to add the javascript files to the theme header.php file. The files can be included before the title tag in the header.php. The php command to include javascript files are as follows:

<?php
   wp_enqueue_script('data',plugins_url('/pathtojs/plots.js'));
?> 

This registers the javascript file with WordPress so that it knows where to look when a file referenced in a post. You need to include every javascript file you are using, not just the one you will be using in an eventual post.

Inside posts you only need to add files which contain methods that you use. These files are declared like this:

<script type="text/javascript" src="/pathtoplot/plots.js">
// <![CDATA[// ]]></script>

The javascript code using the declared files go in similar tags:

<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
//lots of great javascript stuff calling plots.js
// ]]></script>

An example of this in action can be seen in my previous blogpost concerning javascript scatterplots.

Adding interactive scatterplots to your website

To use the scatterplots presented in my previous post, this is what you need.

  • My scatterplot javascript code (LGPL) available for download here.
  • A dataset stored in JSON, with the structure explained below
  • Add .js files to HTML header
  • HTML canvas elements in your html
  • Assignment of data to axes and plots to canvas in javascript

Dataset structure

Datasets for use in my scatterplot code is structured as a JSON array named “dataArray” containing n maps. Each map contains n “name”:value pairs which each is considered a single datapoint. The values to be used in a scatterplot of course need to be numerical. An example of a valid dataset structure is shown below. This is all put in a .js file, and returned by a function named datasetForVisualization() as shown below.

//of course more data in a real dataset
datasetForVisualization() {
   return {"dataArray":
      [{"punctuationprword":2.0,"ekstrem":0.0"},
      {"punctuationprword":6.0,"ekstrem":0.0"},
      {"punctuationprword":0.1111111111111111,"ekstrem":0.0}]
}

Add .js files to head

To add the .js files to your page, add these tags inside the head tag of your website:

<script src="data.js"></script>
<script src="geometry.js"></script>
<script src="guielements.js"></script>
<script src="selection.js"></script>
<script src="plots.js"></script>
<script src="dataset.js"></script>

HTML canvas elements

HTML5 canvas elements are created in the html parts of you website, and are created like this:

<canvas id="plot" width="640" height="480"><canvas>

The id parameter is needed since this is what you need to refer to when drawing to the canvas using javascript.

Assignment to canvas

The following javascript code will assign datasets parts to axes in the scatterplots, as well as tie the plot to a specific canvas and link with another scatterplot

<script type="text/javascript">
   //Select data for plot
   var data = create2DDataFromJson("punctuationprword","ekstrem");

   //Reference to canvas element created above
   var canvas = document.getElementById("plot");

   //Create plot
   var plot = new Scatterplot(canvas,data,540,400,
   "Punctuation pr word","Instances of ekstrem",false);

   //Link plot to other scatterplots
   plot.addLinked(plot2);
   plot2.addLinked(plot);
</script>

Hopefully this explains how to use the scatterplot as part of a webpage. To successfully use it within a WordPress blog is slightly more difficult. One of my next posts will go more into detail about that specifically. If you have any questions about usage please post a comment.

Comments and HTML5 scatterplots

To try and learn some Javascript and use of the HTML5 canvas, I decided to make a visualization tool. After some googling I decided on scatterplots that allow linking and brushing. My idea was to allow such plots to easily be added to any webpage or blog. At the moment they only work well in Webkit based browsers (Chrome, Safari) though.

If you are not familiar with visualization lingo, brushing basically means that you can select datapoints in some fashion. Linking means selections are propagated across two linked views. So if I select some datapoints in one plot the same datapoints are selected in a linked plot. Below is an example of the canvas based scatterplot implementation I ended up with. To try the linking and brushing scroll down to here.

canvas

As you might have understood from the axis names, instead of generating a dataset, I wanted to apply this to some real world data. The idea was inspired by "kommentarfeltdugnad", which aim to not let extremism run unchallengde in public newspaper discussions. I have a hard time finding anything I want to do less then argue in a newspaper comment section, instead i figured studying the people doing this would be more interesting. Using visualization for this was inspired by Correll et al's excellent paper on text visualization. If possible I would like to implement several more of their approaches later on.

Kommentarfeltdugnad also got me thinking about alternative approaches to discussion and forum moderation, especially wondering if it is possible to profile writers over time based on their writing, and ban or even hellban users which pass a certain threshold of badly argued or impossible to decipher posts.

The dataset I'm using in this post was derived from this article due to the amount of comments. All HTML is stripped away and descriptive parameters derived from the remaining comment data.

The aim of the initial exploration of this dataset is to see if it is possible to connect some derived parameters, and possibly tie these to certain usage of some words. You are of course compelled to explore the datasets yourself using the interactive scatterplots below.

I quickly figured out that a large percentage of comments were to short to make out any meaningful statistic. I decided that comments below 50 words were not to be included. Even though 50 is quite arbitrary and decimal oriented.

From the remaining posts I derived several parameters describing each post:

  • Percent of capitals.
  • Percent of punctuation.
  • Amount of words.
  • Percentage of occurrences of specific words (islam, muslim, sosialism, …).
  • Letters in post.

Initially I thought I would start with something obvious as a test of my data data. I think it reasonable to assume a very strong correlation between the amount of letters and words in a post. This can be seen in this plot.

Less obvious is whether there is a correlation between the percent of capitals and an excessive amount of punctuation in a post. Is it so that excessive capitals typers are more likely to either forgo or misuse punctuation?

Even more hypothetical is whether there is a correlation between mentions of islam or muslims and excessive use of capitals?

Below three scatterplots are linked together, with the first showing percentage of capitals and punctuation, the second showing word count and letters in post, the third shows percentage of capitals and percentage of words that are (islam/muslim). This allows for exploration of some of the questions above, as well as some other questions.

canvas2 canvas3 canvas4

There seems to be a small correlation between the amount of capitals and punctuation in a post. It would be very interesting to compare this dataset to a dataset with properly typed text. I also think that punctuation is very broad, and just focusing on exclamation and question marks might also be interesting.

The percentage of capitals and occurrences of islam seems not really related, though curiously, very long posts with a high amount of capitals do not seem to mention islam for some reason.

I guess that concludes my very superficial analysis of this dataset. Feel free to do whatever with the dataset, and once cleaned up I'll link a zip with the JS source for convenience. My next posts will detail how to scrape the data, and how to add scatterplots to your own webpage or wordpress blog.