pland pland - 11 months ago 103
Jade Question

How to use D3 in Node.js properly?

I've been trying to invoke D3 within Node.js. I tried firstly to import d3.v2.js from D3's website with the script tag, but then read this thread:

Wanna run d3 from a Cakefile

Where D3's author advises one should 'npm install d3'...I did this, and I can successfully invoke it in node console:

dpc@ananda:$ node
> var d3 = require("d3");
> d3.version;

However, when trying to invoke it from app.js with 'node app.js', I get:

throw e; // process.nextTick error, or 'error' event on first tick
TypeError: Cannot read property 'BSON' of undefined
at /Users/dpc/Dropbox/sync/Business/MindfulSound/Development/

I realise that elsewhere, D3's author has clearly specified that one should require the canvas:


var Canvas = require("canvas");

but even then, (and even if specifically requiring index.js instead of d3.v2.js in a require statement in app.js), I can't get the below to work within a Jade template:

- script('/javascripts/d3.v2.js')
h1 Dashboard
h2 Statistics
var Canvas = require("canvas");
var w = 400,
h = 400,
r = Math.min(w, h) / 2,
data = d3.range(10).map(Math.random).sort(d3.descending),
color = d3.scale.category20(),
arc = d3.svg.arc().outerRadius(r),
donut = d3.layout.pie();
var vis ="body").append("svg")
.attr("width", w)
.attr("height", h);
var arcs = vis.selectAll("g.arc")
.attr("class", "arc")
.attr("transform", "translate(" + r + "," + r + ")");
var paths = arcs.append("path")
.attr("fill", function(d, i) { return color(i); });
.attrTween("d", tweenPie);
.delay(function(d, i) { return 2000 + i * 50; })
.attrTween("d", tweenDonut);

function tweenPie(b) {
b.innerRadius = 0;
var i = d3.interpolate({startAngle: 0, endAngle: 0}, b);
return function(t) {
return arc(i(t));

function tweenDonut(b) {
b.innerRadius = r * .6;
var i = d3.interpolate({innerRadius: 0}, b);
return function(t) {
return arc(i(t));

h2 Achievements


The correct way to use D3 within Node is to use NPM to install d3 and then to require it. You can either npm install d3 or use a package.json file, followed by npm install:

  "name": "my-awesome-package",
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "dependencies": {
    "d3": "3"

Once you have d3 in your node_modules directory, load it via require:

var d3 = require("d3");

And that's it.

Regarding your other issues: Canvas is not required to use D3. The node-canvas example you linked requires canvas because it renders to a canvas. The TypeError (Cannot read property 'BSON' of undefined) appears to be related to your use of mongoose / monogdb, not D3.