Farm Startup — Year One Expenses
Tim Boucher

Year One Expenses — Visualized

Experimenting with embedded Silk data visualizations

Using the data from my Farm Startup — Year One Expenses, I thought I would give Silk a try, as I know they now have embeds that work in Medium.

I found the Silk manual entry option to be really clunky and counter-intuitive to use, so I dumped that data and instead pasted in a simple spreadsheet I made in OpenOffice Calc and this worked ten times better. I still think for ease of use and organizing data, I prefer Airtable — but I didn’t see any visualization options with them and their embeds don’t work on Medium (yet!).

Here is just a simple table view of my data after importing my pasted in spreadsheet (incidentally, the embed instructions provided by Silk above are wrong — here is a correction):

Outside of the simple table view, there are a number of other options, only a sampling of which I will include here.

Here is a somewhat cluttered pie chart showing all 18 expense areas:

I tried to render a second pie chart that groups the various areas into 7 different categories to give a somewhat clearer picture, but I found that the data that Silk put out for me to have inaccurate percentages.

Personally, I don’t have the time to pour into an application that doesn’t work the way I expect it or need it to, so encountering this kind of simple hiccup in adding up items by category is kind of a deal-breaker for me. I had to go and create a new collection by pasting in a new spreadsheet that I made in Calc, and then rendering that as a new pie chart. I think this more accurately breaks down the expenses by category or group:

Anyway, Silk certainly offers some interesting avenues to explore for data visualization, but I just haven’t found it personally reliable enough to continue using. I can, after all, just produce simple pie charts in OpenOffice Calc, anyway!

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