Monday, February 28, 2011

Jaanga geeDoc: S&P 500 Motion Chart


At last, every symbol of the Standard & Poor 500 index displayed in a single motion chart - Jaanga geeDoc SP500.

You can view the instant instant replay of the last 15 to 20 minutes of trading simply by dragging the slider bar at the bottom of the screen.

The S&P 500 is the reference standard of market indices, so it feels appropriate to use this index as the reference standard for Jaanga development. The standard that needs to be achieved is to display as many of the activities as possible of 500 different organizations in as close to real-time as possible while still open to as much technical augmentation and human interaction as possible.

Putting it another way, you must forget how you do it on paper. The current way of proceeding is to look at an entire market (or whatever data set) but only to be able to see one symbol at a time. It's like having some weird camera pointed towards many people walking up and down a sidewalk that can only show you one person at a time.

The Jaanga camera wants to show you everybody - all the stocks - so you can see just how everybody moves together. Everybody avoids that hole in the pavement. They all stop when the light turns red. Real-time data behaves the same way. The era of looking at one item at a time must come to an end. We must begin to see markets and other data as moving swarms. This is the only way to readily identify outliers or black swan events.

So here is our first release of the Jaanga geeDoc SP500 spreadsheet. It's our "Students and Teachers Version". Please do remember that it is only a Google Docs spreadsheet - with all the power and deficiencies thereof. Being a spreadsheet means that it is possible for you to jump right in, see how it's done and begin to make your own Jaanga motion charts. On the other hand there are so many downsides that we need a whole section of this post to outline them. But first let's look at what you can see and do with the Jaanga geeDoc SP500:

General display
  • Prices are near-real time. Volumes are 15 minute delayed
  • X-axis - gain or loss since yesterdays close - expressed in percent
  • Y-axis - today's volume over the average daily volume - expressed in percent
  • Radius - market capitalization
  • Color - industry sector
Other features include:
  • Drag slider bar - replay latest 15 to 20 minutes
  • Mouse over a symbol - display ticker and company name
  • Click on screen - Zoom into a window
  • Mouse over the color labels - highlight industry sector
  • Select symbol labels - highlight and display motion trails
  • Click axes - View in linear or logarithmic scale


The main issue is the instant replay.  The normal idea for a slider bar is that the right side represents the last or latest position in time while the left side represent the beginning or earliest position in time.

The Google Motion Chart gadgets in Google Docs always opens up with the bar on the left and you have to push the play button or drag the slider to the right.

With our data set, however, we want to open the chart and automatically see the present - and with each update that occurs every minute or so, we always want to see the latest view. But, sadly, each update the Google Motion Chart returns the slider to the left - and there's no way of fixing this.

So what did we do? Simple, we just reversed time. We put the present on the left and the past on the right. As you move the slider bar to the right you go back in time.

It's a kluge and it's not really easy to get used to. Never mind. What you will see, however, is still very important. You will catch a glimpse of five hundred stocks moving as if they are dancing together.

But wait, there's more!

There is no-double click. You can't click on a symbol, see links and go somewhere relevant.

You can only see four parameters at once. What about actual volume or size of trades or a whole host of other factors?

All of these downsides and more point towards the necessity of more sophisticated animated 3D interactive solutions. This is why the upcoming development work is to be concentrated on the weB3D product demos.

But it would be nice to have some help and thoughts and comments on all this and the best way of doing this is to have product demos that you can easily pick up and play with.

Release Early Release Often

The Jaanga geeDoc SP500 project is part of a larger project that are called Jaanga geeDoc MaWaMa and Jaanga geeDoc MaMoMa. MaWaMa (standing for Market Watcher Maker) uses a scripting language that comes with Google Docs called Google Application Script to build new spreadsheets that take a list of symbols and builds a chart with real-time. MaMoMa (Market Motion Maker) takes these charts one step further and adds instant replay to the charts.

Jaanga geeDoc SP500 has MaWAMa built into it as well as some of MaMoMa. Once you have opened the spreadsheet, go to the Tools menu > Scripts > Script editor... The code is as yet incomplete and not yet commented but it's a start to being able to see how this is all done, and it's not that difficult and can produce some quite fascinating results.

Call to Action

Open the spreadsheet using the link below. The first sheet carries out the data acquisition. Columns D and F are updated automatically every minute or so by a call to Google Finance. The second sheet copies data from the first sheet every five minutes and writes it into one of four available time slots. The third worksheet is the chart which assembles the four time periods of data into the motion chart.

As with all the Jaanga geeDoc product demos, this demo pushes the limit as to the use of Google Docs. A fast machine with a good graphics adapter helps. It does take time for the spreadsheet to load and settle down and start displaying data. You may need to reload the page or just let it sit. But once the chart does get up and running you can let it run all day and, occasionally, do pull the slider to catch a unique view on just how five hundred stocks have been dancing and prancing.

Link: Jaanga geeDoc SP500