How To Add Dynamically Generated Graphs And Charts To Web Pages And
Applications

How To Add Dynamically Generated Graphs And Charts To Web Pages And Applications



Not so very long ago adding a​ graph or​ chart to​ a​ web page or​ application required a​ fair amount of​ programming knowledge and​ was rather time consuming for​ even the​ most experienced. However with the​ tools available today it​ is​ possible for​ almost anyone to​ add graphs and​ charts to​ web pages. With just a​ little bit of​ HTML, dynamically generated graphs and​ charts can be added to​ web pages and/or applications.

Why use Graphs and​ Charts
The web is​ about making information available. Today's users tend to​ be in​ a​ hurry and​ require that information is​ presented to​ them clearly and​ quickly. if​ your web site has a​ message to​ convey, which is​ currently being presented as​ a​ table of​ figures, then it​ is​ highly likely that you will benefit from using graphing and​ charting functionality. With a​ table of​ figures most people find it​ hard to​ see the​ meaning immediately, however if​ those figures are presented as​ a​ picture (i.e. a​ graph) then almost all will instantly get the​ point. What's more presenting your information graphically is​ both colorful and​ adds a​ touch of​ professionalism. People tend to​ have more confidence in​ information when it​ is​ presented in​ both a​ pleasing, clear and​ professional manner.

The Easy way to​ create a​ graph
There are now many graphing and​ charting packages on the​ market which make it​ very quick and​ easy for​ you to​ build in​ professional quality graph images. the​ time saved in​ using an​ 'out of​ the​ box' solution is​ so great that even the​ most seasoned professionals are using these packages. in​ addition most graphing packages are very reasonably priced.

Before choosing a​ package there are a​ couple of​ things to​ consider. for​ instance do you simply want to​ present the​ graph image to​ your visitor or​ would you like some level of​ interaction. e.g. making certain areas of​ the​ graph clickable or​ pop-up data displays when the​ mouse passes over certain area's. Another consideration is​ the​ source of​ your data. is​ it​ held in​ a​ database, file or​ somewhere else. Ideally you would want a​ graphing package that is​ capable of​ fetching the​ data directly from the​ source itself.

Which Graphing packages are available
At the​ time of​ writing there are many graphing solutions on the​ market which fall into the​ following technology categories:-

- Java Applet Graphing Solutions
This type of​ software, in​ addition to​ the​ standard graphical capabilities, also provides interactive features like clickable link area's and​ mouse-over popup displays. These solutions can be installed on any web server without any server side configuration or​ set-up.

- Java Servlet Graphing Solutions
These solutions are powerful server side functionality. Although probably not for​ the​ beginner they are very beneficial to​ the​ 'web application' developer.

- Flash Graphing Solutions
The Flash environment provides some very sophisticated graphics capabilities which has lead to​ some of​ the​ best looking graphing solutions. Unfortunately the​ technology can only work when the​ user has flash installed on their browser. Although becoming more widespread there is​ still a​ very large proportion of​ browsers which cannot view flash content.

- PHP Graphing Solutions
These are probably the​ easiest solutions to​ use and​ implement. With these solutions it's possible for​ a​ complete novice to​ add graphing functionality to​ their web page and​ applications. But make no mistake they are also very powerful offering very good graphic results. Most web servers today can run this software without any further configuration.

- ASP.NET Graphing Solutions
Again these solutions offer some very good graphical results. at​ the​ time of​ writing the​ number of​ web servers capable of​ running these packages is​ far less than those of​ other categories.

Creating a​ Graph
With the​ right software package the​ process of​ adding a​ graph to​ web page involves little more than the​ following:-

1) Inserting a​ small piece of​ HTML into your web page. (usually the​ code is​ provided and​ all you have to​ do is​ 'copy and​ paste')

2) Setting some values in​ a​ configuration file (e.g.. setting things like graph colors and​ titles etc.)

3) Setting some values telling the​ graph where to​ acquire the​ data from

Although this is​ fairly straight forward sometimes a​ problem may be encountered. a​ big advantage of​ using a​ good professional package is​ that help is​ at​ hand. if​ you get stuck at​ any stage then simply ask for​ help from the​ software provider, a​ good one will always be happy to​ help. Contrary to​ popular belief good software companies answer requests for​ technical help in​ both a​ timely and​ helpful manner.




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