Various methods of creating Digital Dashboards – Part 1

Are you trying to build a Dashboard or a new Application?

Three are three types of Dashboard Solutions

Type 1: This category defines those tutorials where you built everything from scratch. You write your own SQL queries, database connection methods and create data files. Then you construct your own presentation layer by defining the html, XML and CSS files. You take the raw data files and integrate with your charting engine or a third party charting engine. The whole approach is like a marathon exercise and as if you are a building a totally new application rather than a dashboard.

Typical skillset needed

  • HTML
  • XML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • AJAX
  • Database (SQL queries)
  • Scripting language PHP/JSP/ASP or some server side scripting

Why all of the above skills?

You need database SQL knowledge to write efficient queries to retreive information and dump them in XML or text file format. This file is then fed to the charting engine to represent the data into visual representations. All of the SQL coding and glueing the charting engine with the data file is done within the scripting language (PHP/ASP/JSP). You need knowledge of Javascript to provide interactivity to your dashboard using AJAX techniques. Finally you will need knowledge of HTML and CSS to layout the proper dashboard structure and styles.


  • Absolute control over data layer
  • Absolute control over each presentation element


  • Lengthy process
  • Not good for quick prototyping
  • Steep learning curve
  • Tremendous technological know-how required
  • Tremendous time investment
  • Error – prone
  • No standards or methodology
  • Need good resources having the above skillset

The above type of dashboarding approach is often publicised by Charting vendors and in our opinion is the least favourable approach as it does not provide any Time saving benefits .

Continue reading about the Type – II approach

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