Render your data in graphs with WebSharper

Sometimes we just want to show our data in a nicely rendered graph on our website. If we have enough data, everything could be done. Just think about it: Everyone loves graphs.

In WebSharper we have an extension for this: an F# API for Cytoscape.js. With Cytoscape creating and rendering graphs from your own data is easy and this combined with F#’s power is really useful tool!

To get Cytoscape in our project we just have to get it from NuGet under the name of Zafir.Cytoscape (or WebSharper.Cytoscape if you’re using WebSharper 3).

If we have our extension imported, we just have to open it with open WebSharper.Cytoscape (both for WebSharper and Zafir). With this we are ready to use the extension and we are ready to show off our data in all kinds of fancy graphs.

An easy example

Just to show how it’s working I’m going to show you the original example graph from the Cytoscape website. We’re just going to create a simple WebSharper Single Page Application. Here’s a picture about the result we’ll get:

The example graph

Let’s get started with the index.html : We only need a container div somewhere in our <body></body>. Let’s call this div “main”:

<div id="main"></div>

With this we’re done with the index.html file. Let’s move on to our Client.fs :

All we have to do is writing the example JavaScript code in F#. Here’s the JavaScript code:

To construct an object here, we’ll have to use some record types in F#. The extension already has those. Let’s see the constructor first, this uses the record called CytoscapeOptions:

let cy =

The container is going to be really familiar to the original one (but we have a div with id “main”):

Container = JS.Document.GetElementById("main")

The elements need another record type called ElementObject and ElementData :

Elements =
ElementObject(Data = ElementData(Id = "a"))
ElementObject(Data = ElementData(Id = "b"))
ElementObject(Data = ElementData(Id = "ab", Source = "a", Target = "b"))

In the ElementObject we construct the Data which is an ElementData . Here everything has an id , but the edges also have source and target .

The style needs a record type as well: StyleConfig

Style =
selector = "node",
style = New [
"background-color" => "#666"
"label" => "data(id)"
selector = "edge",
style = New [
"width" => "3"
"line-color" => "#ccc"
"target-arrow-color" => "#ccc"
"target-arrow-shape" => "triangle"

For the style we don’t have an object, but we can create anonymous objects with New ["label" => value;...] .

Only one thing’s left and that’s the Layout . It is a simple record, we only want a grid layout with a single row:

Layout = LayoutOptions(
Name = "grid",
Rows = 1

Here’s the whole code:

With Cytoscape extension you’re able to do more complex graphs and even practice graph and set theory. I’ll post another story about those.

Be sure to leave a 💚, it helps me know what stories you want to read, and leave a comment if you have any question! Hope you had fun reading the post and found your love for F# and for WebSharper.