Another 3 Free Charting Libraries For Building Dashboards

In previous posts we have been looking at some of the free Javascript charting libraries that are currently available. These libraries are of course of great use when creating a dashboard, as you can use them to design charts that suit your needs. It is also good to have the option of various charting applications, as you can then select the charting method and finished aesthetic that you feel best satisfies your requirements.

In this post we will examine the following free charting libraries:

  • jQuery Sparklines
  • Yahoo! UI Library: Charts
  • JS Charts

jQuery Sparklines:

For anyone not familiar with the term, a sparkline is a small chart that is literally inserted into a sentence. These charts can be created directly in a browser window. jQuery Sparklines is a plugin for jQuery that can generate these charts using data supplied through javascript or inline in the HTML of the browser window. This free charting application functions in most browsers including Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 6 – 8, Opera 9, Safari 3 or later, and Firefox 2 or later. Some its principal features include:

  • Line Charts – fully customisable inline line charts, easily coded using javascript.
  • Bar Charts – also customisable, with separate colours used for positive and negative values. There is also the option of a coded colour scheme.
  • Tristate Charts – there are charts with positive, negative and zero values, all represented by different colours.
  • Pie Charts – minature inline pie charts. These are most useful with a maximum of three values, otherwise the segments are too small to be seen clearly.
  • Miscellaneous Charts – Boxplots, Bullet Graphs and Discrete charts are also available.

You can download Sparklines for jQuery at http://omnipotent.net/jquery.sparkline/.

Yahoo! UI Library: Charts

The Charts application from Yahoo! UI Library generates basic charts using Javascript and CSS. The Yahoo! UI Library is a collection of utilities and controls of this type, which can be used to build web applications that are richly interactive. Please note, you must have Adobe Flash Player to run YUI Charts. Some of the main features of this application are:

  • Customise – You can customise each of your charts, adjusting axes and series.
  • Mouse-over Datatip – The mouseover can be customised to give a specific datatip.
  • Combination charts – You can use more than one chart together to provide additional data.
  • Skinning – You can select a skin you wish to use for your chart and apply it to a chart that has been generated previously.

You can access Yahoo! UI Library: Charts at http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/charts/, where you can download it free of charge.

JS Charts:

JS Charts is not strictly free, but can be used without licence for non-commercial purposes only. If you wish to use this application for commercial sites you must purchase a licence, priced at $149. JS Charts markets itself as a simple, easy-to-use chart generator which requires a minimal amount of coding. Some of the main features of this application include:

  • Online Editor – You can edit and create charts online, using an online editor that is straightforward and easy to use.
  • Charts – There are just three charts available, bar, pie and line charts.
  • Saving – Charts can be saved to a user account on JS Charts’ servers.
  • Compatibility – JS Charts is compatible with most web browsers, including Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, iPhone and Opera.

You can download JS Charts at http://www.jscharts.com/.