Lightweight Coordination of Multiple Independent Visual Analytics Tools
With the advancement of Visual Analytics (VA) and its spread into various application fields comes along a specialization of methods and tools. This adds complexity and requires extra effort when devising domain-dependent VA solutions, as for every new domain question a new specialized tool or framework must be developed. In this paper, we investigate the possibility of using and re-using existing tools - domain-dependent and general-purpose - by loosely coupling them into specialized VA tool ensembles as needed. We call such coupling among independent tools lightweight coordination, as it is minimally-invasive, pair-wise, and opportunistic in utilizing whichever interface a VA tool offers. We propose the use of lightweight coordination for managing the workflow, the data flow, and the control flow among VA tools, and we show how it can be supported with suitable setups of the multiple tool UIs involved. This concept of lightweight coordination is exemplified with a health care scenario, where an ensemble of independent VA tools is used in a concerted way to pursue the visual analysis of a patient's troublesome vital data.