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I've been designing data-driven interfaces (mostly graphic, low fidelity and non-functional prototypes) for over a year, to be implemented using JavaScript libraries such as d3.js. Although I'm a web designer by education, I've never actually coded any data visualization.

Are there any crash-course or quick online tutorial showing how to deal with (open) data using jQuery (or libraries such as d3.js and Polymaps), for dummies? I'd really like to learn the basics: handle JSON, understand big data, plot basic graphs, etc.

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This may help you: datajs.codeplex.com/documentation –  Emmad Kareem Jan 8 '12 at 22:37
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I found the jQuery for Absolute Beginners Video Series as a good starting place. The series starts off mainly working on visual manipulation using jQuery, which would be good since that is what you know from your previous work. After learning some manipulation type code, learning about data manipulation and other libraries should be much easier.

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