How to Create a Diverging Bar Chart with a JavaScript Charting Library

How to Create a Diverging Bar Chart with a JavaScript Charting Library

Learn how to create a diverging bar chart with a JavaScript charting library. Learn how to build a JavaScript diverging bar chart in 4 basic Steps: Create an HTML page, Reference the necessary JS files, Set the data, Write the JS code for the chart

Learn How to Build a JavaScript Diverging Bar Chart in 4 Basic Steps. Create an HTML page. Reference the necessary JS files. Set the data. Write the JS code for the chart.

This article is a step-by-step guide that'll show you how to build an interactive JavaScript range chart that visualizes 20 years of the LA Lakers’ performance with Kobe Bryant.

The year 2020 was pretty poignant for obvious reasons. But even before the pandemic, the year started on a sad note with the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant. He was a star NBA athlete who had played for 20 years with one and only one team — the Los Angeles Lakers.

Remembering Kobe one year after that horrible crash, I wondered how the Lakers had performed in his two-decade era. So, I visualized that in an interactive Diverging Bar Chart with the help of pure JavaScript.

Thinking that this project might be helpful for those new to web charting, I also logged the entire process and made a tutorial. Check it out!

What Is a Diverging Bar Chart?

First things first, I will give you a brief explanation about what diverging bar charts are and then we'll dive into the tutorial.

A diverging bar chart shows two or more measures that are plotted from a middle baseline, extending either to the right and left (horizontal range bars) or top and bottom (vertical range columns).

The key point of data visualization in such diverging charts is to facilitate the comparison of multiple categories by means of displaying them against a bifurcating midpoint.

In this tutorial, I use the diverging bar chart technique to showcase the wins and losses of the LA Lakers through the 20 years of Kobe Bryant’s career.

Here's a sneak peek at the final chart to get you ready for the start of the game! Follow along with me to learn how I create this beautiful range bar chart with JavaScript.

How to Build a JavaScript Diverging Bar Chart in 4 Basic Steps

There are multiple JavaScript libraries out there providing pre-written JS code for commonly needed functions that can make the interactive data visualization process quite quick and straightforward.

I picked one called AnyChart to create this diverging bar chart. This JS charting library appeared to support (particularly useful in this case) range charts out of the box and was also flexible enough to do what I wanted.

Also, it is quite easy to get started with AnyChart even for beginners because there are many ready-to-use examples and it has intensive documentation.

Of course, having good HTML and JavaScript skills gives you an edge when visualizing data on the web. But anyway, the best part about making use of good charting libraries is that they make it quite uncomplicated to create interactive charts even without much experience.

The entire process of creating literally any JS chart, including a diverging bar chart like this one, can be broken down into four fundamental steps:

  1. Create an HTML page.
  2. Reference the necessary JS files.
  3. Set the data.
  4. Write the JS code for the chart.

Let's go through each step in detail now.

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