Chapter 23 Files: Copy, Save, Import, Export, Share
At this point, you have done enough work in CODAP that you probably need to save your files. And if your class did the activity where different groups found the mean heights for males and females of particular ages, and entered them in a spreadsheet, you probably wonder how to get those into CODAP. Finally, if you somehow want to share your work, but don’t want the person you share it with to mess it up, you will be pleased with CODAP’s sharing features.
This chapter, then, is about the mechanics of files in CODAP. The topic sounds decidedly not about content. Largely, that’s correct: it’s just stuff you need to know to make your life easier. Saving files means you do not have to type everything in. Saving means you will not have to start over again every time.
On the other hand, it should carry a whiff of data science. Data science incudes all sorts of technological actions including archiving and storing data. Saving a file may not be a data move— it doesn’t manipulate the data—but it’s essential to the whole process.
Teachers, note: CODAP’s sharing features—described below—are a real boon for preparing a class session. You can set up a CODAP document to be exactly the way you want students to see it. When you share, CODAP essentially takes a snapshot of the file and gives you a URL that you can post. Then, when students go to that link, each student gets their own personal copy of the file to work on.
Similarly, a student can “turn in” a CODAP document by sending you a link to their file; it’s your private copy.
23.1 The hamburger menu
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The hamburger menu—three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner of the CODAP screen—has the usual things you would find in a File menu: Open, Save, and so forth.
23.2 Saving a CODAP file
When you choose Save from the hamburger menu to save your CODAP file, you have two main choices: save it as a Google doc, or save it as a local file. Each has its pros and cons.
CODAP’s interface to your Google drive is a bit unorthodox. As of early 2020, the navigation is rudimentary, and there is no search feature. If you are one of us who had trouble remembering where you put your Google docs, you will keep having trouble with Google docs saved by CODAP.
The interface for local files also looks unfamiliar. If you want to save locally, click Local file and then the download button, and that brings up the familiar Save widgetry, where you can name the file and decide what folder to put it in.
23.4 Importing data
The simplest way to import data is to drop a csv file right into your CODAP window. CODAP reads the file and makes a table out of it. Ideally, the first line of the csv has the names of attributes.
You might also notice that there is an Import item in the hamburger menu. If you choose it, you’ll see that there are two paths: Local File and URL.
Local File: Drop in or navigate to a csv or a .codap file. If it’s a csv, CODAP makes a new dataset with its own table. If it’s .codap, the new document replaces the one you’re working on.
URL: Enter or drop in a URL. You can use this to put a web page into your CODAP document. Interestingly, you can also drop a URL into your document, with the same effect.
By the way, this is also how you can install a plugin. Drop the plugin’s URL into your document (or paste it into the URL box).
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23.5 Exporting data
You can export a csv file from CODAP. Click the ruler palette in the table. You’ll find the command there. If you have made your table hierarchical, you can choose which level to export— or you can export them all.
This is a good way to share data with somebody who isn’t using CODAP. Also, sometimes you will want to take your work from CODAP to some other program, in order to do something CODAP can’t do.