3 Free Chart Libraries For Building Dashboards

There are a range of free Javascript charting applications that can be used to create dashboards. Below is a selection of five of the most common and most useful applications of this kind.

  1. ProtoChart
ProtoChart is an opensource library that is based on Flot, Plotkit and Flotr libraries. It creates charts using Prototype and Canvas.  Some of the main features include:
  • a wide range of charts, including bar, pie, line and curve charts
  • customisable grids, borders and backgrounds
  • Internet Explorer 6/7, Safari and FireFox 2/3 functionality
  • iPhone functionality
You can access ProtoChart at http://www.deensoft.com/lab/protochart/ .
2.     PlotKit
PlotKit is another Javascript chart plotting library, which operates through HTML Canvas, browsers and SVG. PlotKit was derived from CanvasGraph, with improved structure and support. In order to run PlotKit you will need:
  • Safari 2 or later, Firefox 1.5 or later, Opera 9 or later, or Internet Explorer 6, if you are running HTML Canvas
  • if you choose to use PlotKit with Adobe SVG , you will need Internet Explorer 6, Opera 9 or later or Firefox 1.5 or later
  • You will also require Mochikit 1.3 or later, which can be accessed here: http://mochi.github.com/mochikit/ .

You can acquire PlotKit at http://www.liquidx.net/plotkit/ .

PlotKit Screenshot

3.   Flot

Flot is another Javascript charting library, but in this case it runs through jQuery. This product is especially suited to dashboard creation as it plots datasets directly ‘on-the-fly’. In order to run Flot, you will need the following:

  • Internet Explorer 6/7/8, Opera 9.5+, Firefox 2+, Safari 3.0+ or Konqueror 4.x+, with HTML Canvas
  • jQuery

Among it’s main features Flot boasts the creation of attractive charts that are fully interactive. For example each chart can incorporate mouse tracking, and users can zoom in on particular data points. There is also an emphasis on simplicity, so that charts can be created quickly and easily, with a minimum of hassle.

You can access Flot at http://code.google.com/p/flot/ .