Web Charts

There are a number graphing librairies to display data for web pages. I needed something for a basic PHP project, and extended my search to include Javascript-based libraries. Many graphing libraries provided basic graphs. Beyond the basic coverage of displaying various data sets, the biggest differentiator among the various libraries quickly becomes cleanliness of the rendering. Extra features like zoomable graphs and hover-over data points provide some additional detail by way of javascript libraries. The bottom-line is to implement a library that is both clean an comprehensive. After going through several libraries, here are my top picks:

HighCharts


HighCharts has one of the cleanest interfaces around providing beautifully rendered graphs in one easy to implement javascript file. The library comprehends data from databases, files, and live sources utilizing a host of graphing types and formats. As Highcharts is a javascript-only library it requires jQuery or Mootools. Highcharts tops my list as long as javascript is the accepted method.

Google Chart Tools


Google certainly knows how to make web applications. Their tools for web graphing is yet another toolset for the aspiring webmaster. Their Chart Tools provides a clean and easy way to integrate data seamlessly and easily into any webpage. Utilizing the libraries requires loading of an AJAX API from google and manipulating the DOM with additional javascript within the webpage. The end result are clean, if not google-esque web data.

pChart


I started my search looking for a php-based web graphing utility. pChart is both clean and comprehensive solution. pChart provides a library of PHP classes that can be brought into any PHP projects. Before quickly moving to Javascript libraries, if the application required it, pCharts would be a quick go to.

amCharts


amCharts comes in more flavors: Javascript, flex, silverlight, and flash. There are certainly much more interesting chart renderings including geographic heat maps and bubble charts. The combinations of features will also require purchasing licenses for distribution. That means that these full features will require some overhead.

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