Best 10 JavaScript Charting Libraries for Every Data Visualization Need

Best 10 JavaScript Charting Libraries for Every Data Visualization Need

If you're interested in learning how to visualize your findings, read on for a list of great data viz libraries to help get you started. In this article, you'll see best 10 JavaScript charting libraries for every data visualization need

If you're interested in learning how to visualize your findings, read on for a list of great data viz libraries to help get you started. In this article, you'll see best 10 JavaScript charting libraries for every data visualization need

Nowadays, the amount of data grows exponentially, and the more information we see, the harder it gets to process it. That’s why we need data visualization — in charts and dashboards, preferably interactive. It helps us humans save a lot of time and effort to view, analyze, and understand data, and make the right, informed decisions based on that.

In the modern HTML5 web, one can hardly deny that JavaScript is the most versatile and simplest technology to make use of for visualizing data. So if you are a front-end web developer, you either already know what JS charts are all about, or your first task to make them will come in a (short) while.

There are numerous JavaScript charting libraries out there, each with their specific pros and cons as with any tools. To make your life easier, I decided to tell you about my favorite ones. I think the following ten are the best JS libraries for creating charts and can be really helpful in solving one or another particular data visualization task, whether it’s basic or advanced. Follow me and check them out to make sure you know the basics about them and have not missed out on some good one for your current or next big project.

Without more ado, let’s go meet the top JS libraries for data visualization!

amCharts

amCharts is one of the JavaScript charting libraries that are helpful when you need a simple, and at the same time, flexible data visualization solution.

Key features

  • A pretty big number of chart types including maps and Gantt charts.
  • A drill down feature along with other great interactivity options.
  • Documentation containing all the needed methods is quite well-written, but from my point of view, it’s not really convenient to use.
  • Awesome chart animation.
  • Can be integrated with React, Angular, Vue, Ember, etc.
  • A WordPress plugin is available.
  • Export as an image or PDF.
  • Live charts, full customization, and W3C-approved accessibility functions.
  • Full support with priority one for licensed customers.
  • Customers: Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, NASA, Samsung, Yandex, AT&T, etc.

Pricing

Free for any use, but all charts will include a small, branded link. To remove the link, you need to purchase a paid license (from $180), which also gives you access to priority support.

Learn more about amCharts

AnyChart

AnyChart is a robust, lightweight and feature-rich JS chart library with rendering in SVG/VML. It actually gives web developers a great opportunity to create any different charts that will help to make decisions based on what is seen.

Key features

  • More than 80 JS chart types, including basic charts, stock charts, maps, as well as Gantt and PERT charts.
  • Many ways to set data: XML, JSON, CSV, JS API, Google Sheets, HTML Table.
  • Drill down into chart data.
  • Stock technical analysis indicators and annotations (drawing tools) out-of-the-box.
  • Rich documentation, API, and friendly support.
  • Can be integrated with Angular, Qlik, Oracle APEX, React, Elasticsearch, Vue.js, Android, iOS, etc.
  • A lot of samples and dashboards and a dedicated playground with code autocompletion.
  • Old browsers support.
  • Exporting charts to various formats including PDF; JPG, PNG, or SVG images; chart data in XSLX or CSV files.
  • Customers: Oracle, Microsoft, Citi, Samsung, Nokia, AT&T, Ford, Volkswagen, Lockheed Martin, etc.

Pricing

The watermarked version is free. To get rid of the branding, as well as to use AnyChart for any commercial purpose, it’s necessary to buy a license (from $49).

Learn more about AnyChart

Chart.js

Chart.js is a simple yet quite flexible JavaScript library for data viz, popular among web designers and developers. It’s a great basic solution for those who don’t need lots of chart types and customization features but want their charts to look neat, clear and informative at a glance.

Key features

  • 8 chart types: line, area, bar, pie, radar, polar, bubble, and scatter.
  • All chart types can be customized and animated, and when used online, all charts are responsive.
  • Functionality can be extended through the use of plugins.
  • Documentation is good.
  • Support via Stack Overflow.
  • Browsers support IE9+.

Pricing

A free open-source JS charts library. Released under the MIT license.

Learn more about Chart.js

Chartist.js

Chartist.js is an open-source, unintrusive JS library which can also be used to create nice responsive charts. Generally, Chartist is good for those who need a very simple chart — line, bar, or pie — and who do not require much in terms of data visualization. Good appearance, no need to have many great features in this case.

Key features

  • Only 3 chart types: line, bar, and pie charts.
  • Great animation.
  • API documentation contains all the necessary information, but it’s not quite convenient to use, requiring long scrolls to navigate.
  • Allows using plugins to extend the functionality.
  • Uses SVG to draw the charts (future compatible).
  • Old browsers support.

Pricing

Open source, free for all kinds of use.

Learn more about chartist.js

D3.js

D3.js is a powerful open-source JavaScript library for data visualization. It has been forked more than 20,000 times on GitHub so far. Basically, D3 is more like a framework than a library. It may well be not that simple to work with, which can look quite critical at the beginning. But there are a lot of helpful information resources available out there. And at the end, you can get so awesome visualizations and graphics of any kind from scratch, making D3 totally worth it.

Key features

  • Supports numerous chart types, much more than the vast majority of the other JavaScript charting libraries (e.g. Voronoi diagrams).
  • Steep learning curve. Less clear and obvious than some commercial libraries on the list (for example, AnyChart). But there are many tutorials, and the API is truly awesome.
  • Combines powerful visualization components and a data-driven approach to DOM manipulation.
  • Easy to debug using the in-browser element inspector.
  • Hundreds of examples.
  • Curve generating functions.
  • Drag and drop.

Pricing

D3 is an open source JavaScript library for charts, which is free for all kinds of use.

Learn more about D3.js

FusionCharts

FusionCharts is another good interactive charting library with hundreds of charts ready for use out of the box. The charts accept both JSON and XML data formats and are rendered via HTML5/SVG or VML.

Key features

  • Dozens of chart types, in both 2D and 3D, and 950+ maps covering all continents.
  • Animated and fully interactive charts and maps.
  • Server-side APIs for ASP.NET, PHP, and Ruby on Rails.
  • Compatible with jQuery, Angular, PHP, ASP.NET, React Native, Django, React, Ruby on Rails, Java, etc.
  • Quite detailed user’s guide and API reference.
  • A lot of samples and dashboards to check out.
  • Old browsers support.
  • Export to PNG, JPG or PDF format.
  • Support via the knowledge base and community forum.
  • Unlimited priority support for license holders.
  • Customers: Apple, IBM, Google, Intel, Microsoft, PayPal, Oracle, Adobe, etc.

Pricing

Free for non-commercial, paid for commercial use (from $497).

Learn more about FusionCharts

Google Charts

Google Charts is an excellent choice for projects that do not require complicated customization and prefer simplicity and stability.

Key features

  • The charts are based on HTML5/SVG and VML.
  • A lot of samples and dashboards to check out.
  • All charts are interactive, and some are pannable/zoomable as well.
  • Comprehensive documentation.
  • Old browsers support.
  • Support via FAQ, GitHub, and forum.

Pricing

The license is free, but the library is not open source. It does not allow you to host Google’s JS files on your server, so it may not suit you if you have some sensitive data.

Learn more about Google Charts

Highcharts

Highcharts is one of the most comprehensive and popular JavaScript charting libraries based on HTML5, rendering in SVG/VML. It is lightweight, supports a wide range of diverse chart types, and ensures high performance.

Key features

  • Uses pure JavaScript, and data can be loaded externally.
  • Robust documentation, API reference, and community showcase.
  • Drill down into chart data and other interactivity options.
  • Can be used with React, Angular, Meteor, .NET, iOS, etc.
  • Export to PNG, JPG, PDF, or SVG format.
  • Supports free version users via forum and Stack Overflow, with premium email and Skype support only available for commercial users with the appropriate license.
  • Customers: Visa, Yahoo!, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Nokia, Ericsson, Mastercard, Yandex, etc.

Pricing

Free for use by nonprofits. Paid for commercial use (from $50).

Learn more about Highcharts

Plotly.js

Plotly.js is a high-level JavaScript library, free and open-source. It is built on D3.js and WebGL, so can be used to create many different chart types including 3D charts to statistical graphs.

Key features

  • 20 chart types that can be embedded in websites or used to create dynamic presentations.
  • Used as a browser-based charting library for Python, R, and MATLAB by abstracting charts to a declarative JSON structure.
  • Extensive API documentation.
  • Good animation.
  • Uses React.
  • Exporting charts to PNG and JPG; EPS, SVG, and PDF are available on subscription.
  • A lot of different samples to check out.
  • Allows using Excel spreadsheets, or connect to your database.
  • Support forum.

Pricing

Open-source, free library.

Learn more about Plotly.js

ZingChart

ZingChart is a helpful tool for making interactive and responsive charts. This library is fast and flexible, and allows managing big data and generating charts with large amounts of data with ease.

Key features

  • Supports more than 30 chart types.
  • Fully customizable with CSS inspired styling.
  • Compatible with jQuery, Angular, Node.js, PHP, etc.
  • Real-time data, fast rendering of data sets of any size.
  • Data can be loaded via JS objects, JSON, CSV, PHP, AJAX, or MySQL.
  • Full yet quite easy-to-read API.
  • Free and premium support via ZingChart help center, Stack Overflow, email, and chat.
  • Customers: Microsoft, Boeing, Adobe, Apple, Cisco, Google, Alcatel, etc.

Pricing

The branded license provides full access to the ZingChart library for free. Commercial usage requires a paid license (from $199).

Learn more about ZingChart

Conclusion

I have listed the best JavaScript charting libraries out there, at least those I consider the top ones. It would be hard to compare all of them comprehensively. Each one of them has its own pros and cons depending on who is going to use it and for exactly what purpose.

Of course, there are some features that make one library faster, more beautiful or flexible than the other. But in the end, no matter what libraries this list contains, the overall winner is always the one that meets your specific requirements. For different people and companies, the choice of the best JS chart library can also be different.

My advice is — check out these top libraries as whenever you need JS charts and for whatever project, chances are extremely high that you will find one or several of them to be the best fit. For a longer list, look at a comparison on Wikipedia.

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Python Tutorial: Data Science vs. Web Development

Python Tutorial: Data Science vs. Web Development

In this "Python Tutorial: Data Science vs. Web Development" to provide a comparison on the two completely different purposes of using Python language and help understand that it is not necessary to know Python as a web programming language for doing data science in Python.

Python programming has various frameworks and features to expand in web application development, graphical user interfaces, data analysis, data visualization, etc. Python programming language might not be an ideal choice for web application development, but is extensively used by many organizations for evaluating large datasets, for data visualization, for running data analysis or prototyping. Python programming language is gaining traction amongst users for data science whilst being outmoded as a web programming language. The idea of this blog post is to provide a comparison on the two completely different purposes of using Python language and help understand that it is not necessary to know Python as a web programming language for doing data science in Python.

Python for Data Science :

Organizations of all sizes and industries — from the top financial institutions to the smallest big data start-ups are using Python programming language to run their business.

Python language is among the popular data science programming languages not only with the top big data companies but also with the tech start up crowd. Python language ranks among the top 10 programming languages to learn in 2019.

Python language comes in the former category and is finding increased adoption in numerical computations, machine learning and several data science applications. Python language can do anything, excluding performance dependent and low level stuff. The best bet to use Python programming language is for data analysis and statistical computations. Learning Python programming for web development requires programmers to master various web frameworks like Django that can help the build websites whereas learning Python for data science requires data scientists to learn the usage of regular expressions, get working with the scientific libraries and master the data visualization concepts. With completely different purposes, programmers or professionals who are not knowledgeable about web programming concepts with Python language can easily go ahead and pursue data science in Python programming language without any difficulty.

Python is a 23-year-old powerful expressive dynamic programming language where a programmer can write the code once and execute it without using a separate compiler for the purpose. Python in web development supports various programming paradigms such as structured programming, functional programming and object oriented programming. Python language code can be easily embedded into various existing web application that require a programming interface. However, Python language is a preeminent choice for academic, research and scientific applications which need faster execution and precise mathematical calculations.

Python web programming requires programmers to learn about the various python web development frameworks, which can be intimidating because the documentation available for the python web development frameworks might be somewhat difficult to understand. However, it is undeniable that to develop a dynamic website or a web application using Python language, learning a web framework is essential.

Python Web Development Frameworks

There are several Python web application frameworks available for free like-

Django
Django is the python web development framework for perfectionists with deadlines. Python web development with django is best suited for developing database driven web applications with attractive features like automatic admin interface and a templating system. For web development projects that don’t require extensive features, Django may be an overkill because of its confusing file system and strict directory structure. Some companies that are using python web development with django are The New York Times, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Flask
It is a simple and lightweight solution for beginners who want to get started with developing single-page web applications. This framework does not support for validation, data abstraction layer and many other components that various other frameworks include. It is not a full stack framework and is used only in the development of small websites.

CherryPy
It emphasizes on Pythonic conventions so that programmers can build web applications just the way they would do it using object oriented Python programming. CherryPy is the base template for other popular full stack frameworks like TurboBears and Web2py.

There are so many other web frameworks like Pyramid, Bottle, and Pylons etc. but regardless of the fact, whichever web framework a python programmer uses, the challenge is that he/she needs to pay close attention to detailing on the tutorials and documentation.

Why Web Development with Python is an impractical choice?

Python programming language probably is an impractical choice for being chosen as a web programming language –

Python for web development requires non-standard and expensive hosting particularly when programmers use popular python web frameworks for building websites. With PHP language being so expedient for web programming, most of the users are not interested in investing in Python programming language for web development.

Python language for web development is not a commonly demanded skill unlike demand for other web development languages like PHP, Java or Ruby on Rails. Python for Data science is gaining traction and is the most sought after skill companies are looking for in data scientists, with its increased adoption in machine learning and various other data science applications.
Python for web development has come a long way but it does not have a steep learning curve as compared to other web programming languages like PHP.
Why Python for Data Science is the best fit?

Python programming is the core technology that powers big data, finance, statistics and number crunching with English like syntax. The recent growth of the rich Python data science ecosystem with multiple packages for Machine learning, natural language processing, data visualization, data exploration, data analysis and data mining is resulting in Pythonification of the data science community. Today, Python data science language has all the nuts and bolts for cleaning, transforming, processing and crunching big data. Python is the most in-demand skill for data scientist job role. A data scientist with python programming skills in New York earns an average salary of $180,000

Why data scientists love doing data science in Python language?

Data Scientists like to work in a programming environment that can quickly prototype by helping them jot down their ideas and models easily. They like to get their stuff done by analysing huge datasets to draw conclusions. Python programming is the most versatile and capable all-rounder for data science applications as it helps data scientists do all this productively by taking optimal minimal time for coding, debugging, executing and getting the results.

The real value of a great enterprise data scientist is to use various data visualizations that can help communicate the data patterns and predictions to various stakeholders of the business effectively, otherwise it is just a zero-sum game. Python has almost every aspect of scientific computing with high computational intensity which makes it a supreme choice for programming across different data science applications, as programmers can do all the development and analysis in one language. Python for data science links between various units of a business and provides a direct medium for data sharing and processing language.

  1. Python has a unified design philosophy that focuses on ease of use, readability and easy learning curve for data science.
  2. Python has high scalability and is much faster when compared to other languages like Stata, Matlab.
  3. There are more and more data visualization libraries and cool application programming interfaces being added for inclusion of graphics to depict the results of data analysis.
  4. Python has a large community with good number of data science or data analytics libraries like Sci-Kit learn, NumPy, Pandas, and Statsmodels, SciPy etc. which have rich functionality and have been tested extensively. Data analysis libraries in Python language are growing over time.
Python Programming for Number Crunching and Scientific Computing in Data Science

Data analysis and Python programming language go hand in hand. If you have taken a decision to learn Data Science in Python language, then the next question in your mind would be –What are the best data science in Python libraries that do most of the data analysis task? Here are top data analysis libraries in Python used by enterprise data scientists across the world-

NumPy
It is the foundation base for the higher level tools built in Python programming language. This library cannot be used for high level data analysis but in-depth understanding of array oriented computing in NumPy helps data scientists use the Pandas library effectively.

SciPy
SciPy is used for technical and scientific computing with various modules for integration, special functions, image processing, interpolation, linear algebra, optimizations, ODE solvers and various other tasks. This library is used to work with NumPy arrays with various efficient numerical routines.

Pandas
This is the best library for doing data munging as this library makes it easier to handle missing data, supports automatic data alignment, supports working with differently indexed data gathered from multiple data sources.

SciKit
This is a popular machine learning library with various regression, classification and clustering algorithms with support for gradient boosting, vector machines, naïve Bayes, and logistic regression. This library is designed to interoperate with NumPy and SciPy.

Matplotlib
It is a 2D plotting library with interactive features for zooming and panning for publication quality figures in different hard copy formats and in interactive environments across various platforms.

JavaScript developers should you be using Web Workers?

JavaScript developers should you be using Web Workers?

Do you think JavaScript developers should be making more use of Web Workers to shift execution off of the main thread?

Originally published by David Gilbertson at https://medium.com

So, Web Workers. Those wonderful little critters that allow us to execute JavaScript off the main thread.

Also known as “no, you’re thinking of Service Workers”.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Before I get into the meat of the article, please sit for a lesson in how computers work:

Understood? Good.

For the red/green colourblind, let me explain. While a CPU is doing one thing, it can’t be doing another thing, which means you can’t sort a big array while a user scrolls the screen.

This is bad, if you have a big array and users with fingers.

Enter, Web Workers. These split open the atomic concept of a ‘CPU’ and allow us to think in terms of threads. We can use one thread to handle user-facing work like touch events and rendering the UI, and different threads to carry out all other work.

Check that out, the main thread is green the whole way through, ready to receive and respond to the gentle caress of a user.

You’re excited (I can tell), if we only have UI code on the main thread and all other code can go in a worker, things are going to be amazing (said the way Oprah would say it).

But cool your jets for just a moment, because websites are mostly about the UI — it’s why we have screens. And a lot of a user’s interactions with your site will be tapping on the screen, waiting for a response, reading, tapping, looking, reading, and so on.

So we can’t just say “here’s some JS that takes 20ms to run, chuck it on a thread”, we must think about where that execution time exists in the user’s world of tap, read, look, read, tap…

I like to boil this down to one specific question:

Is the user waiting anyway?

Imagine we have created some sort of git-repository-hosting website that shows all sorts of things about a repository. We have a cool feature called ‘issues’. A user can even click an ‘issues’ tab in our website to see a list of all issues relating to the repository. Groundbreaking!

When our users click this issues tab, the site is going to fetch the issue data, process it in some way — perhaps sort, or format dates, or work out which icon to show — then render the UI.

Inside the user’s computer, that’ll look exactly like this.

Look at that processing stage, locking up the main thread even though it has nothing to do with the UI! That’s terrible, in theory.

But think about what the human is actually doing at this point. They’re waiting for the common trio of network/process/render; just sittin’ around with less to do than the Bolivian Navy.

Because we care about our users, we show a loading indicator to let them know we’ve received their request and are working on it — putting the human in a ‘waiting’ state. Let’s add that to the diagram.

Now that we have a human in the picture, we can mix in a Web Worker and think about the impact it will have on their life:

Hmmm.

First thing to note is that we’re not doing anything in parallel. We need the data from the network before we process it, and we need to process the data before we can render the UI. The elapsed time doesn’t change.

(BTW, the time involved in moving data to a Web Worker and back is negligible: 1ms per 100 KB is a decent rule of thumb.)

So we can move work off the main thread and have a page that is responsive during that time, but to what end? If our user is sitting there looking at a spinner for 600ms, have we enriched their experience by having a responsive screen for the middle third?

No.

I’ve fudged these diagrams a little bit to make them the gorgeous specimens of graphic design that they are, but they’re not really to scale.

When responding to a user request, you’ll find that the network and DOM-manipulating part of any given task take much, much longer than the pure-JS data processing part.

I saw an article recently making the case that updating a Redux store was a good candidate for Web Workers because it’s not UI work (and non-UI work doesn’t belong on the main thread).

Chucking the data processing over to a worker thread sounds sensible, but the idea struck me as a little, umm, academic.

First, let’s split instances of ‘updating a store’ into two categories:

  1. Updating a store in response to a user interaction, then updating the UI in response to the data change
  2. Not that first one

If the first scenario, a user taps a button on the screen — perhaps to change the sort order of a list. The store updates, and this results in a re-rendering of the DOM (since that’s the point of a store).

Let me just delete one thing from the previous diagram:

In my experience, it is rare that the store-updating step goes beyond a few dozen milliseconds, and is generally followed by ten times that in DOM updating, layout, and paint. If I’ve got a site that’s taking longer than this, I’d be asking questions about why I have so much data in the browser and so much DOM, rather than on which thread I should do my processing.

So the question we’re faced with is the same one from above: the user tapped something on the screen, we’re going to work on that request for hopefully less than a second, why would we want to make the screen responsive during that time?

OK what about the second scenario, where a store update isn’t in response to a user interaction? Performing an auto-save, for example — there’s nothing more annoying than an app becoming unresponsive doing something you didn’t ask it to do.

Actually there’s heaps of things more annoying than that. Teens, for example.

Anyhoo, if you’re doing an auto-save and taking 100ms to process data client-side before sending it off to a server, then you should absolutely use a Web Worker.

In fact, any ‘background’ task that the user hasn’t asked for, or isn’t waiting for, is a good candidate for moving to a Web Worker.

The matter of value

Complexity is expensive, and implementing Web Workers ain’t cheap.

If you’re using a bundler — and you are — you’ll have a lot of reading to do, and probably npm packages to install. If you’ve got a create-react-app app, prepare to eject (and put aside two days twice a year to update 30 different packages when the next version of Babel/Redux/React/ESLint comes out).

Also, if you want to share anything fancier than plain data between a worker and the main thread you’ve got some more reading to do (comlink is your friend).

What I’m getting at is this: if the benefit is real, but minimal, then you’ve gotta ask if there’s something else you could spend a day or two on with a greater benefit to your users.

This thinking is true of everything, of course, but I’ve found that Web Workers have a particularly poor benefit-to-effort ratio.

Hey David, why you hate Web Workers so bad?

Good question.

This is a doweling jig:

I own a doweling jig. I love my doweling jig. If I need to drill a hole into the end of a piece of wood and ensure that it’s perfectly perpendicular to the surface, I use my doweling jig.

But I don’t use it to eat breakfast. For that I use a spoon.

Four years ago I was working on some fancy animations. They looked slick on a fast device, but janky on a slow one. So I wrote fireball-js, which executes a rudimentary performance benchmark on the user’s device and returns a score, allowing me to run my animations only on devices that would render them smoothly.

Where’s the best spot to run some CPU intensive code that the user didn’t request? On a different thread, of course. A Web Worker was the correct tool for the job.

Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find me writing a routing algorithm for a mapping application. This requires parsing a big fat GeoJSON map into a collection of nodes and edges, to be used when a user asks for directions. The processing isn’t in response to a user request and the user isn’t waiting on it. And so, a Web Worker is the correct tool for the job.

It was only when doing this that it dawned on me: in the intervening quartet of years, I have seen exactly zero other instances where Web Workers would have improved the user experience.

Contrast this with a recent resurgence in Web Worker wonderment, and combine that contrast with the fact that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about, then concatenate that combined contrast with my contrarian character and you’ve got yourself a blog post telling you that maybe Web Workers are a teeny-tiny bit overhyped.

Thanks for reading

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Further reading

An Introduction to Web Workers

JavaScript Web Workers: A Beginner’s Guide

Using Web Workers to Real-time Processing

How to use Web Workers in Angular app

Using Web Workers with Angular CLI