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GVF - The Graph Visualization Framework

The Graph Visualization Framework is a set of design patterns and approaches that can serve as an example for applications that either manipulate graph structures or visualize them. The libraries implement several basic modules for input, graph management, property management, layout, and rendering. Some modules could be made to operate independently with some modification. For example, the graph management module can, in principle, be used as the data structure part of a program which doesn't necessarily use visualization. An application called "Royère" has been built using the GVF. Royère can be altered and extended to fit the needs of users. Some of the rationale for the design is described in a separate PDF document that has been published in Software: Practice & Experience.

The screen shots below illustrate the ability of GVF/Royere to display hierarchical graphs. Nested graphs can be described with our XML-based graph interchange format called GraphXML. Subgraphs in the hierarchy can be laid out with different layout algorithms and the result can be combined in one view.

Since the project that resulted in GVF ended (see History below), much work has been done by Yugen, who has single-handedly added (and fixed) a large number of features. Hats off to Yugen!

To find out more about the GVF, please visit the project page at SourceForge.


Screen Shots

Subgraph layout selection

Image of a subgraph popup menu
Selecting a layout for a subgraph

Image of a subgraph after re-layout
The subgraph after re-layout

Subgraph class visuals (color-coding)

Image of a subgraph popup menu
Selecting a color-coding scheme for a subgraph

Image of a subgraph using class visuals
The subgraph after applying class visuals

Node moves

Image of a graph before any node moves
A graph before any node moves

Image of a graph after the first node move
A graph after the first node move

Image of a graph after the second node move
A graph after the second node move


Royere has become easier to DOWNLOAD and run. It has been tested on the Windows and Linux platforms. You should look at the Readme file (included in the distribution) before using the software.

History of the GVF and Royere

Royere was originally developed as an experimental platform to test research ideas at CWI in graph visualization. A description of the research used to be available from the homepage of the Information Visualization project but it has been broken by a large systems move that apparently disregarded documents that were still being regularly accessed. Unfortunately, this is just about all that's left. CWI is a national research "Center for Mathematics and Computer Science" located in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Royere was intended to provide a general graph visualization framework as a followup to its predecessor, "Latour", a tree visualization program. Latour was originally developed as a result of collaboration between CWI and the University of Bordeaux. Royere/GVF moved to SourceForge in November 2001, facilitating continued development and use by both researchers and users in the open source community.

Scott Marshall