Simple JavaScript Tree from JSON using d3-mitch-tree

Many months ago I ran into a nice JavaScript library for dynamic tree renderings, but it took me forever to learn how to customise it properly. Which is a shame because once you do, it is actually pretty helpful. So I decided to dedicate a few posts to using and configuring d3-mitch-tree. Everything will be available on my Github repo as usual.

This tutorial is part of the following series

  1. d3-mitch-tree: Create a Basic Tree
  2. d3-mitch-tree: Add custom body CSS 

1 – Setup

First things first, let’s just build a very basic tree. In your working directory, create the following file structure:

├── css
│   ├── d3-mitch-tree.css
│   └── d3-mitch-tree-theme-default.css
├── js
│   ├── d3-mitch-tree.js
│   └── simple_tree.js
└── simple_tree.html

You can download the css files d3-mitch-tree.css and d3-mitch-tree-theme-default.css directly from my Github repo here: for some reason the ones in the original documentation did not work very well for me. Similarly, you can download d3-mitch-tree.js from my repo.


2 – Simple_tree.js

Now this file will contain your tree in JSON format. For this first post, it is going to be a very basic tree

var data = {
    "id"    : 1,
    "title" : "A",
    "value" : 1.1,
    "children": [
            "id"    : 2,
            "title" : "B",
            "value" : 2.1
            "id"    : 3,
            "title" : "C",
            "value" : 2.2


3- Simple_tree.html

There are two interesting blocks in the HTML document:

  • Declaring the <div> that will contain the tree (id=”my_tree” in this example)
  • Actually creating a d3.mitchTree object and setting the data source to data (from var data = … of simple_tree.js above)

This is what simple_tree.html looks like

        <title>Simple JavaScript Tree</title>
        <meta charset="utf-8">

        <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/d3-mitch-tree.css">
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/d3-mitch-tree-theme-default.css">

        <script src="js/d3-mitch-tree.js"></script>
        <script src="js/simple_tree.js"></script>

        <!-- div that will contain the tree -->
        <div id="my_tree" style="width:800px;height:500px;border:1px solid grey;"></div>

           // Create a new d3.mitchTree object and set the data source
           var treePlugin = new d3.mitchTree.boxedTree()
               .setData(data) // the data variable comes from simple_tree.js
               .setIdAccessor(function(data) {
               .setChildrenAccessor(function(data) {
                   return data.children;
               .setBodyDisplayTextAccessor(function(data) {
                   return data.value;
               .setTitleDisplayTextAccessor(function(data) {
                   return data.title;


Now, in your browser, open the file simple_tree.html. This is how it should look like

Now this is not bad, but again still very basic. I will be creating additional posts in the next few weeks to explain how to customize the tree. Also from next time we will be using more acceptable JavaScript/HTML standards, so the code will look a bit more complex, but this is the gist of it 🙂