Flash is everywhere and hence popular with charting and graph generation for the web.
There are numerous companies that are built around selling Flash charting components and these charts really look better than their java or microsoft counterparts.
But with the emerging new trends for the web, we need to analyze what type of charting engine is suitable for the dashboard project.
There are two big advances on the web, one is SVG (already established) and the second is HTML5.
There are two types of charting engine, one is server based and second is client based.
In the server based, the charts or graphs are generated in a central server and then the bitmap image is thrown on the web page. Most of the java based charting engine can be used as server side engines.
On the contrary, Flash charting engines are purely Client based. They rely on your PC’s resources to render the charts.
Flash charts cannot be rendered on the server. This is a drawback and needs to be evaluated when considering to build your dashboards.
So if Flash is purely client based, then why not go for SVG charts or the latest HTML5 based charting engines?
There are ton of new engines written and available that enable you to build charts for the web and most of them are open source and free.
With the recent news that Apple will go with HTML5 and no flash, does it mean an end to Flash based engines?
Not really, the core to any charting vendors is their algorithms to take data and render them into bar, pie, stack bars etc. I am certain these charting vendors will adapt to provide HTML5 alternatives.