Article: Amazing Charts In Rails

| by Werner Schuster Follow 9 Followers on Feb 20, 2009. Estimated reading time: less than one minute |

In this article, Srividya Sharma provides an introduction to FusionCharts Free, a Flash charting library, and shows how to use it from Ruby.

Next to a complete sample application showing how to implement Flash charts in a Ruby on Rails application, the article also contains a thorough comparison of FusionCharts (Free and Paid versions) with other charting solutions.

Using Flash is just one way of providing charts to the user; InfoQ previously ran an article on using Google Charts with Ruby. While the Google Charts solution offloads the rendering of the charts to Google's servers, the FusionCharts solution allows to render the data on the server and avoid the dependence on a third party.

Read Srividya Sharma on "Amazing Charts In Rails".

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JS approach by Anselmo da Silva

As you mentioned, there are several ways to create charts in rails, but each one has some terrible dependency (ie: rmagick == memory killer + server-work, swf==another client layer, plus the excess of animations).

The point is Data-Visualization, and here, you could include in your analyze, the "Javascript Canvas" approach.

As js engines getting faster, the use of this canvas element becomes even more interesting. The caveat is the no-direct-support in IE.

We use the approach in controlled client environments, and it results to be an elegant solution, with simple deploy and control.

Some references:

Thanks for your sharing

Re: JS approach by Werner Schuster

thanks for the links - definitely an approach to watch.

BTW we also featured an article on using Google Charts from Ruby:
which has neither client nor serverside dependencies, but of course you'll tie yourself to Google's servers.

Re: JS approach by Anselmo da Silva

Just a last reference:
jsxgrap =>

Over OFC2? by Jonathan Calvert

What does this give me over OpenFlashChart2? I'm not so sure I see it. I would definitely agree that the charting solutions for Rails are generally less than satisfactory. OFC is free and with the JSON support is excellent. I've even been using that to 'store' charts in CouchDB.

But anyway, there is one real problem with Flash based charting as opposed to server side image compilation, and that's handling large data sets(10s or 100s of thousands of data points) for scatter plots.

Ezgraphix Plugin. by Juan Esteban Pemberthy

Hello there, I made this plugin for FusionCharts usage in Rails,

Documentation and a live demo are listed in the project's readme, it's still a basic plugin but Im thinkin in making a second version supporting more charts.

Enjoy it.

Re: Over OFC2? by Srividya Sharma

I would say, FusionCharts Free provides more chart types and better animation. Both are totally free - so one cannot complain much about free solutions - it is up to you what you choose.
Of course, upgrading to FusionCharts v3 opens a new set of benefits like more chart types, maps, power charts, visual debugger and not to mention the personal support.

Re: JS approach by Jerven Bolleman

There is the free java implementation of the google chart api.

Gruff has no scatterplott-charts (but gnuplot) by Oliver Haag

There is a mistake in this elsewise great overview, Gruff has no support for scattercharts.

Instead FusionCharts indeed is a good solution for simple scattercharts. For really komplex data I prefer something not on the list: gunplot with the rgplot ruby wrapper.


Hope it helps.

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