Thursday, November 13, 2008

13 useful graphing solutions for web developers

Many a web application can be enhanced with a decent graph to show data. Unfortunately out of the programming languages / frameworks that we have available to us, none seem to be very forthcoming with decent graph components, and it is left up to third party solutions to provide the necessary. From my hunts around the web the following showcases some of the better options. I’ve tried to keep these limited to the open source / free options.

Libchart is a simple PHP charting component, and it is totally free free free! The project is an ongoing one - with the last release in April 2008. If you are a PHP coder, you’ll love its simplicity.

Currently supports:

* Bar charts (horizontal or vertical).
* Line charts.
* Pie charts.
* Single or multiple data sets.
* Compatibility with PHP 5.

Primarily for Barcharts and Piecharts, plotkit uses some fancy Javascript, SVG and Canvas to do some wonderous things. Both these formats are gaining traction in the javascript community, and with implementations in major browser engines, we are deffo going to see more useful javascript drawing libraries cropping up over time.

FusionCharts Free
Fusioncharts offer some of the best animated flash charting components on the web, and luckily for us they also offer free components. Not only are they used commercial with clients such as Oracle, Microsoft and Dell amongst others, so you’d be in good company. FusionCharts Free can be distributed for free with your free or commercial softwares, irrespective of whether they’re open source or closed source. Hurray!

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