In web application or software, very often we will need to present collected data to the users. Back in the olden days, data such as traffic statistics and clicking hits were presented through simple numbers or words, this method is plain and simple.
With the advancement of the web, more data are being collected. Thus, displaying all these data in standard plain numbers or words do not seem to be very effective. Therefore, statistical charts and graphs have become important tools to display raw information in a graphical form and making it digestible for the user. Just by a quick glance at the diagram, the user can determine the percentage of increase or decrease of their traffic or sales data immediately. This helps to speed up the process of locating certain data through the collected information.
There are many ways to display information, but the purpose for each of the graphical component (pie chart, bar chart, line graph and so on) are the same. It is to convert numbers or words into a graphical form that is easy to read and understand.
Below is a list of charting libraries that you might find useful when you want to display your tabular data in a graphical form.
Chart and Diagram Libraries
Axiis is an open source data visualization framework designed for beginner and expert developers alike. It provides both pre-built visualization components as well as abstract layout patterns and rendering classes that allow you to create your own unique visualizations.
AmCharts is a set of Flash charts for your websites and Web-based products. AmCharts can extract data from simple CSV or XML files, or they can read dynamic data generated with PHP, .NET, Java, Ruby on Rails, Perl, ColdFusion, and many other programming languages.
ProtoChart is a new opensource library using Prototype and Canvas to create good looking charts. This library is highly motivated by Flot, Flotr and PlotKit libraries. It aims to be a highly customizable and easy to use library.
Ezcomponents enables you to create line, pie and bar charts. The output driver mechanism allows you to create different image types from each chart, and the available renders make the chart output customizable from simple two-dimensional charts to beautiful three-dimensional data projections.
Generally FlyCharts is a set of Adobe Flash (SWF) files that gives you outstanding possibility to visualize your data. Now, using FlyCharts you can create compact, interactive and good-looking charts in a minute. FlyCharts does not need any installation and it works with any scripting language.
The Google Chart API is an extremely simple tool that lets you easily create a chart from some data and embed it in a webpage. You embed the data and formatting parameters in an HTTP request, and Google returns a PNG image of the chart. Many types of chart are supported, and by making the request into an image tag you can simply include the chart in a web page.
Style Chart is an innovative technology that allows you to easily embed sophisticated and dynamic charts in your Web site. This Guide provides an introduction to all the features of Style Chart, as well as a complete language reference.
JFreeChart is a free 100% Java chart library that makes it easy for developers to display professional quality charts in their applications. It has flexible design that is easy to extend, and targets both server-side and client-side applications.
Computation and drawing of lines, axes, shadows even the grid itself is handled by pluggable “renderers”. Not only are the plot elements customizable, plugin can expand functionality of the plot too! There are plenty of hooks into the core jqPlot code allowing for custom event handlers, creation of new plot types, adding canvases to the plot, and more!
XML/SWF Charts is a simple, yet powerful tool to create attractive charts and graphs from XML data. It makes the best of both the XML and SWF worlds. XML provides flexible data generation, and Flash provides the best graphic quality.
Open Flash Chart
Open flash chart is a flash based chart. It is open source. It is free to use and you get the source code to fiddle with!
pChart is a PHP class oriented framework designed to create aliased charts. Data can be retrieved from SQL queries, CSV files, or manually provided.
gRaphael’s goal is to help you create stunning charts on your website. It is based on Raphael graphics library. Check out the demos to see static and interactive charts in action.
Visifire is a set of open source data visualization controls – powered by Microsoft Silverlight and WPF. Visifire is a multi-targeting control which can be used in both WPF and Silverlight applications. Using the same API, charts in both Silverlight and WPF environments can be created within minutes.
Although some of the libraries require very minimum programming knowledge and others can be complex, all of them have the same philosophy by delivering the most effective way in building data visualizations, charts and graphs. As with most things, the more complex the library, the more possibilities for customization will exist.
If we have miss out any good charting library, please share with us in a comment below.