Dashboard Week #1 Star Wars API (SWAPI)

by Diego Parker

Today was our first day of #Dashboardweek and the task set by Andy consisted on using the Star Wars API (SWAPI). As there were only six of us today and six different topics in the API, each of us had to choose one. I have the habit of letting everyone choose before me and therefore I was left with “Vehicles”. By vehicles I don’t mean the starships as they are a different topic but the smaller vehicles, such as Walkers (those massive dog-looking machines). Technically (geekly) speaking, vehicles are  single transport crafts that do not have hyperdrive capability (https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Hyperdrive).

The Prep

I started the project with some basic Alteryx API warm-up. Basically, a small workflow to call the API and a bit of parsing to get a datasource in a way that could be used in Tableau.

I felt a bit disappointed after I had extracted the data and noticed that it wasn’t very big nor complete. First, there were only 39 vehicles. I am not sure if this are all the vehicles in the first six episodes, but having only 39 rows doesn’t give much for analysis. Second, the fields weren’t super interesting,  mainly: name, manufacturer, model, class, capacity and cost. Also, most vehicles didn’t have information in all the columns. Therefore, considering the data wasn’t enough to make a mind-blowing analysis, I went for a cool-looking directory of the different vehicles.

Creating the directory

To create the directory, I was missing one aspect that I considered key, images! If you have watched Star Wars it is very unlikely that you know or remember the names of the different vehicles, therefore, a visual cue was key for the user. Also,  I added a small info text extracted from Wookiepedia with a small description of the ships.

Having all the necessary elements for my visualisation I started building in Tableau. Not ashamed of myself, I used a background image which basically required me to float all my dashboard. Luckily, Tableau Public kept it relatively similar when publishing.

Sum up

To sum up, the day wasn’t nearly as hard as previous cohorts have made it sound. The API wasn’t really that great and I spent most of the time looking and editing images of vehicles and reading a lot of Wookipedia. In terms of technical difficulty, it wasn’t hard as the API was easy to call and didn’t require any convoluted parsing more than the JSON parse tool. Tableau speaking, I didn’t try any crazy visualisation as I didn’t have much data. A nice warm-up for the rest of the week.

This is the Result:

If you have any doubts or comments, feel free to use the box below or contact me in Twitter @DiegoTParker