Word: Original Thesaurus

Online Thesaurus


I've been using AlterVista for thesaurus lookups for years and up until now, I had been content with my boring lists of returned words. It was better than -any- of the mainstream alternatives which bombard you with ads and brings your computer to its knees with its web pages heavy with external libraries and trackers. But I recently wanted a way to visualize my lookups and be able to tunnel from word to word while still retaining my previous lookups. I've used D3.js in the past and so I quickly wrote a force directed graph for my thesaurus using D3.js. But still I was not satisfied. It still felt heavy. I know it's all probably in my head because I -know- there's a bunch of external code being loaded; but there were long pauses while before rendereing which I chalked up to all the bells and whistles D3.js provides. So I wrote my own.

I wrote a bare-bones JavaScript directed graph thesaurus library that is pretty unique in that it doesn't use canvas OR SVG (yet!), it only uses DOM elements, JavaScript and CSS. I know, the node layout algorithm needs a little attention but the basics are there and work. The connecting lines are simply DIV tags with a 4px height that I calculate the length and rotation using some basic trigonometry and apply using CSS. The only trick was changing the transform-origin to [0, 0] instead of the default of center.

So try it out! Enter in a few words, drag a few bubbles around and be amazed at the clever use of CSS and math to get something you would normally need to do with canvas.