How to Choose the right JavaScript Chart Library

Software products, whether hosted or delivered on-premise, assimilate
and store ever-increasing amounts of data today. Despite this, most
businesses are data-rich but information-poor. Even businesses that want
to make data-driven business decisions are restricted by the limited
reporting capabilities of the software products they use. If your
customers are facing this problem too, you need to rethink the data
visualization capabilities offered by your product. Your products need
to be able to process and visualize heaps of data in the form of reports
or dashboards, which could be accessed on a variety of devices, be it
computers, tablets or smart-phones. Whether it’s an ERP application or a
social media analytics tool, your end-users expect your product to
process and convert data into easily identifiable trends and patterns.
To visualize these trends and patterns effectively, you need a
JavaScript Chart Library. A good Javascript chart library not only
provides the correct visualization for the data but also builds an
immersive experience for your end-user.

      How to choose a right JavaScript Chart Library? This article will
tell you several factors to consider.

1.Cross devices, browsers and platforms

      Today, people want access to their applications on their PCs at
work, on their tablets in meetings and on their smart-phones on the
move. As such your product and all its features need to be supported on
a majority, if not all, devices and browsers.

      Whether you need a JavaScript Chart Library that’s compatible with
all browsers or just modern browsers depends on your target audience. If
you are building for government or for enterprise clients, there’s a
very good chance that they are still using older versions of IE. So
JavaScript Charts that only work with modern browsers might not be a
good choice. Most JavaScript Charts like VanCharts supports for popular
browsers, even IE 6, 7, 8. Will your application be used primarily on
desktop or are you targeting mobile users as well? If it’s just for
large screen viewing, most of the JavaScript Charts will work for your
data visualization (dataviz) component, but if you want to ensure a
consistent experience across hand-held devices as well, the charting
library you choose should be responsive. This is becoming increasingly
important because of changing user habits in recent times.

JavaScript charts support browsers
2.Chart Types

      Each chart type facilitates a certain type of data analysis. For
example, line charts are used to see trends over time (change in
employment rates over the last decade) and pie charts to understand how
a data value breaks down into its constituents (breakdown of website
traffic into individual sources). It is critical to know the different
types of data analysis you will need to facilitate, and the charts
needed for each of them, so that you can check for their availability in
the component you are evaluating. While most vendors offer the basic
charts like column, line, bar and pie, advanced charts like funnel,
radar, waterfall, heat map, candlestick, Gantt and speedometer charts
are supported only by enterprise-grade Javascript charts.

JavaScript charts charts
3. Exporting

      This point is not applicable for every use case, but only for
cases like reports and dashboards. If you are building a dashboard for
business audience, your users might want to export charts to PDF or
images. It will be better that the JavaScript Chart Library you choose
support export feature out of the box. Common export formats to look for
are JPEG, PNG, PDF, Excel and SVG.

4. How easy is it to implement the component or library?

      Charting for you is a part of your product spectrum, an important
part of it, but definitely not the entire spectrum. It is a means to an
end and hence rapid developer adoption, agile implementation and quick
results is what you need from the component you choose.

      So it is vital to choose a JavaScript Chart Library where the
developer can get started just by copy-pasting a couple of lines of
code. The charts should have the best usability practices built right
in, so the developer doesn’t have to spend any time on that. Some
JavaScript Charts provide chart maker. User can set data source, style
and interactivity attributes of chart in its visual interface. It
reduces code amount and enhances work efficiency for its user. One-click
export of JS attributes saves you lots of time occupied for reading API
files. Embrace a higher development efficiency and a less project cost!

5. Pricing and Licensing Terms

      Most of the JavaScript Charts now give away their source code when
you buy a license, but that doesn’t mean you are free to do whatever you
want. It’s important to know what all permissions you’ll need for your
project and buy a relevant license. Terms and pricing varies depending
on factors like number of users, numbers of developers, type of
application (SaaS, intranet, web) and number of servers.

6. Support

      If you are building an application, data visualization might not
be your core strength. So when you face a problem, you might need some
external support to solve it. Support can come in many forms like
personal, forum or community sites like StackOverflow. If you are on a
tight schedule you would not want to wait for an answer on
StackOverflow. Personal support or dedicated forum would be very useful
in this case. Therefor it is very important to find a vendor who
provides personalized technical support as well, typically with a
guaranteed turnaround time.