A streaming data visualization engine for Javascript, Perspective makes it simple to build real-time & user configurable analytics entirely in the browser.




From source

You’ll need emscripten installed and resolveable on your PATH in order to build from source, for example via

source emsdk/

Once installed, you can build perspective via:

npm install
./node_modules/.bin/lerna bootstrap --hoist
./node_modules/.bin/lerna run start --stream

If everything is successful, you should find a few built example assets in the packages/perspective-examples/build directory:

You can run a simple test server on port 8081 by running:

./node_modules/.bin/lerna run host --stream

OSX specific instructions

As of this writing, the latest version of Emscripten does not correctly build on OSX due to a bug in 1.37.22. Instead of latest, you’ll need to install and activate an older version:

./emsdk install sdk-1.37.21-64bit
./emsdk activate sdk-1.37.21-64bit

You’ll also need Boost and CMake, which can be installed from Homebrew:

brew install cmake
brew install boost

From NPM

Perspective is organized as a monorepo, and uses lerna to manage dependencies. The main modules, all available via NPM, are:


A note on WebAssembly/asm.js in the browser

Whether you use just the perspective engine itself, or the perspective-viewer web component, your browser will need to have access to the .asm.js, .js.mem and/or .wasm assets in addition to the bundled scripts themselves. These can be found in the perspective/build/asmjs and perspective/build/wasm_async directories of the package; while the root level perspective/index.js wrapper will automatically determine which runtime to use based on your browser’s WebAssembly support, you’ll need to make sure to copy both directories to the same relative directory you plan to host your site bundle from:

  my_site.js (imports perspective)
  + wasm_async/
  |    perspective.js
  |    perspective.wasm
  + asmjs/

Perspective library

As a library, perspective provides a suite of streaming pivot, aggregate, filter and sort operations for tabular data. The engine can be instantiated in process, or in a Web Worker (browser only)

In the browser

Via ES6 module and/or Babel:

import perspective from 'perspective';


const perpective = require('perpective');

Perspective can also be referenced via the global perspective module name in vanilla Javascript.

Once imported, you’ll need to instance a perspective engine via the worker() method. This will create a new WebWorker (browser) or Process (node.js), and load the appropriate supported WebAssembly or asm.js binary; all calculation and data accumulation will occur in this separate process.

const worker = perspective.worker();

In Node.js

const perspective = require('perspective/build/perspective.node.js');

See perspective-examples/node_server.js for an example.


The basic data primitive of perspective is the table, which you can instantiate via the table() method on a worker. Further data can be supplied to the table via its update() method.

// With data (also works with strings in CSV format)
var data = [   
    {'x': 1, 'y':'a', 'z': true},
    {'x': 2, 'y':'b', 'z': false},
    {'x': 3, 'y':'c', 'z': true},
    {'x': 4, 'y':'d', 'z': false}

const table1 = worker.table(data);

// With a schema
var schema = {
    x: 'integer',
    y: 'string',
    z: 'boolean'

const table2 = worker.table(schema);

// Add a new row to each table
table1.update([{x: 5, y: 'e', z: true}]);
table2.update([{x: 5, y: 'e', z: true}]);

The table() method also takes an options object, with which you can provide the name of an index column in the underlying dataset, which will act as a primary key on the table, replacing updated rows instead of appending them.

// Use the 'x' column as a primary key
const table3 = worker.table(data, {index: 'x'});

Perspective-viewer web component

As a component, perspective-viewer provides a complete graphical UI for configuring the perspective library and formatting its output to the provided visualization plugins.

The perspective-viewer widget is packaged as a Web Component, and you’ll need the webcomponents.js polyfill imported first in order to use it - e.g., from a CDN:

<script src=''></script>

If you are using babel or another build environment which supports ES6 modules, you need only import the perspective-viewer libraries somewhere in your application - these modules export nothing, but rather register the compoonents for use within your site’s regular HTML:

import "prespective-viewer";
import "perspective-viewer-hypergrid";
import "perspective-viewer-highcharts";

Alternatively, you can just import the pre-bundled assets from the relevent NPM packages’ build/ directories:

<script src="perspective.view.js"></script>
<script src="hypergrid.plugin.js"></script>
<script src="highcharts.plugin.js"></script>

Once imported, the <perspective viewer> Web Component will be available in any standard HTML on your site. A simple example:

<perspective-viewer id="view1"></perspective-viewer>

To load data into a <perspective-viewer>, you can call the load() method from Javascript like so:

document.addEventListener("WebComponentsReady", function () {

    var data = [   
        {'x': 1, 'y':'a', 'z': true},
        {'x': 2, 'y':'b', 'z': false},
        {'x': 3, 'y':'c', 'z': true},
        {'x': 4, 'y':'d', 'z': false}

    var viewer = document.getElementById('view1');

    viewer.update([{'x': 5, 'y': 'e', 'z': true}]);


See API Docs for more details.