With the tendency to collect and use data is increasing exponentially, it becomes more important to visualize that data. Developers are trying to bring together the records in different databases into dashboards and beautiful charts which can be interpreted quickly and intuitively by humans.
Over the past decade, data visualization technology has improved continuously, and now consumers have advanced chart libraries made available to them.
The server-side image bitmap charts were used prominently during the early 2000s for chart generation. Plugins like Silverlight and Flash offered more of interactive charting experience, but then it came at the expense of battery life, download speed, and system resources.
The boost in the mobile and tablet usage leads to a situation where plugins were no more supported by the mobile platforms and this way moving to open client-side technologies which could run everywhere became the choice of developers. At the same time, resolution -independent vector charts came to the limelight due to the advent of common zooming using touch gestures and very high-resolution screens.
Compared to other charting libraries, D3 does exceptionally well, which includes some of the smaller technical modules like colors, axes, contours, hierarchies, polygons, easing, and more. Now all this together points to the fact that you have much to learn here and it is not easy.
It can be complicated to even trying to create a simple chart. You need to explicitly define all the elements which include chart items and axes. How CSS can be made used to style chart elements can be seen in different samples. Charting-based features cannot apply automatically.
If you want to get deep and make use of creativity to have complete control over the elements, then it would be the best decision. It may not be the best thing to do from the beginning to complete the data visualization project requirements by working against the clock.
For a charting library, D3.js can act as a building block. To come up with chart solutions which can easily consume D3 like NVD3, developers are making use of it. This charting library is free and open source in nature.
Here the API is easy to use, and the chart makes use of configuration options to develop charts. For personal and non-commercial use, Highcharts is free to use. For stock and other usage, commercial licensing is needed while separate licenses are required for Gantt, and map charts.
The sample visuals include initial animations when you are using it for the first time for drawing and are more of a modern looking. When adding data points or series in real-time, it animates smoothly. You can modify the chart options and redraw the chart by calling an update() function.
In the website gallery sample source code is not shown, but you can see it in the GitHub repo. Here the API is intuitive and clean. To create and modify a chart, configuration options are used.
The documentation comes in detail and comes with tutorials for code snippets and property API.
This library is free to use for commercial and personal use. It is open source in nature. For advanced requirements, having a limited number of types can cause some issues.
amCharts, which is in business for quite some time now, has released its 4th version. This version offers support for SVG animation engine, which helps the developers to create scenes like in movies.
Demo charts are beautiful, and most of them offer a slider UI, and a number of palettes adjust the variables of the chart in real-time. The documentation includes full API property descriptions and many tutorials. Creating charts follow more of a declarative API and a little bit different from the configuration-based approach. It offers you a better experience in terms of code completion but requires slightly more codes when it comes to configuring charts. For branded charts, amCharts offers a free license and for others offers paid licenses.
Just like the name suggests, Google Charts is powerful and yes, easy to use. For the users, the sample charts are easy to read on and clean. Many chart types can be found in the gallery and extended gallery. More chart types which are not displayed in the gallery lists can be revealed by pressing the hamburger menu.
Here each chart type has been explained well using live examples that come with dedicated tutorials. The tutorials come with API listings and have code for related features. When it comes to working with a new chart library, it offers a pleasant experience.
By using configuration options object, charts can be customized. DataTable class is used to populate data sets, and it can be used by all charts too. Each chart type comes with options listed in a unique manner, and they come in type-specific tutorials. Many options work on different types, and property naming is standardized.
Google charts are free to use, but it comes with some limitations. It cannot be hosted locally as it is a web service. If you are using it for critical projects, then you should think about using any other chart library as Google has retired APIs.
There are many chart types in ZingChart, and it integrates with react, angular, and other frameworks. It comes with a feature set which is strong and comes with many customization options.
You will find a number of styling themes in the demo charts and some of them look quite good too. In order to style them, you can find a number of options there as well. The demos do not demonstrate all the chart types available here.
The documentation comes with tutorials for a number of features, for all types of charts and a complete API listing. To customize charts, ZingChart makes use of configuration options. Different property settings, like font styling, are included in the samples. To know what settings you need for a given chart, these samples with property settings can get in the way of understanding.
With branding, ZingChart can be used for free. For non-branded usage, paid licensing is available.
The chart gallery comes with a number of examples and has a visual appearance that is clean. Documentation comes with a number of good API descriptions, and each chart type has examples. By task and chart features, the configuration properties are grouped.
Configuration based options are used in creating charts, and they are quite easy to be used. When digging deeper into the API, the list of properties can get lengthy. Configuration properties like showAlternateHGridColor, chartLeftMarginare shallow. This can be a step taken for code completion improvement.
For chart branding, FusionCharts is free to use at a personal level. For commercial and unbranded use, paid licensing is available.
Flot basically used for creating a placeholder div where graph can be put in.
When you want to create some beautiful graphs to display networks on the web, helping you showcase your simple interactive publication of network to the larger and rich web applications which would have the dynamic network exploration. It is for everyone, be it a beginner or advanced users.
It comes with some exciting feature on board such as Canvas and WebGL renderers or mouse and touch support so that you can make dynamic network applications. Let’s check them out.
Sigmajs is configured by default and can be utilized using mouse and touch and can scale when the container size changes. Similarly, there are Custom Rendering, which enables developers with a set of tools and setting which can be customized how to get interacted with the network.
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