Charts with Javascript

I have been quite busy for a while, and most of the time have been fiddling with Javascript Charting libraries that work on HTML5 Canvas. Here is a list of some charting libraries that caught my eye.

* – commercial

Since GWT is what we use at work, I figured it was easy to go with Flot as there was a GWT Wrapper library, GFLot available. Flot seemed to be more than sufficient, as the design team had plans to use only basic charts like line & pie. There was a chance of doing a lot more later, and I was very much confident that Flot can handle them with ease. I was definitely surprised, how easy it has become to translate data into charts. Though easy pie chart was awesome, I didn’t think it fit well with the requirement. Flot has so much configurations and settings that makes development so damn trivial.

I don’t think there is anything that we cannot do without Javascript today. Just an year ago if you had asked me how to develop awesome reports, I would have turned to Jasper, Birt or Pentaho, which are useful reporting & data mining software. But downright unnecessary for simple reports/charts. BIRT, Jasper, and Pentaho are still certainly invaluable to the java enterprise, and I am not comparing those with Javascript libraries, just to make the point that I didn’t know any alternatives.

Now I think it is much simpler to write a bunch of sql queries/procedures, get the data we want, and represent them using Charts. It certainly has worked for us. Also I believe that when we write procedures/queries on the database, we are truly utilising the capability and power of the modern database systems & servers that we have today. Maintenance of those procedures is going to be difficult in the long run when dealing with huge amount of data, or lots of different reports. But for just a few why over engineer  a solution?



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