Roslyn Zolandor Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design Information Architecture

Online Charting Tools Comparison

Roslyn Zolandor Team : User Experience and Information Architecture Tags : Web Design Information Architecture

For a recent project I had to review 4 online charting applications for a redevelopment of a clients extranet website.  The website had numerous reports with an option of viewing the results as charts. The 4 charts reviewed are not the only online charting applications but give a good idea of the different kinds of charting tools available online.

Charts and graphs are great as they can communicate both simply and complex information visually therefore are great for reporting applications.

The following 4 charting tools are on review:

1. TeeChart 

2. Google Charts 

3. .netCharting

4. FusionCharts

1. TeeCharts (.NET)

TeeCharts 3 is available as a .NET charting control. Charts may be streamed directly to the browser to avoid maintenance of temporary files. Includes tools for hotspot, scroll and zoom plus mouse click sensitivity. TeeChart.NET also includes extensive code examples to guide the way.

2. Google Charts

The Google Chart API dynamically creates graphs and charts to easily embed into webpage’s.

The Google Chart API returns a PNG-format image in response to a URL. Several types of images can be generated, including line, bar, and pie charts. For each image type you can specify attributes such as size, colours, and labels.

3. .NET Charting

.netCHARTING uses the .NET framework and GDI+ to provide a managed charting solution.

Fusion Charts

FusionCharts is a flash charting component that can be used to render data-driven and animated charts.


Charting Tools Pros Cons
.NET Teecharts - The multi-language version offers change of language on the fly. - Visually not as attractive as Fusion Charts or .NET Charts.
Google Charts - It’s free as long as it is used in accordance with Goggles Terms of Service.
- No additional components to install on server or client.
- No additional components to install on development server or client.
- Not suited for complex charts such as advanced statistical and financial indicators.
- Possible downtime due to the charts being severed by Google. E.g. service is discontinued, application exceed daily calls resulting in ‘Denial of service’.
- Maximum URL length is 2,083 characters in Internet Explorer therefore limiting the size and complexity of the chart.
- Limited chart types (Line chart, Sparkline chart, Bar chart, Pie chart, Venn diagram, Scatter plot, Radar chart, Map, Google-o-meter and QR codes).
.NET Charting


- Can connect directly to database for real-time results.
- Extensive chart types including a large range of financial indicators.
- No added software needed to be installed on end-user’s computer.
- Easy licensing.
- Not as attractive as FusionCharts.


Fusion Charts


- Easy to implement.
- Attractive interactive charts.
-Supports multi-lingual (UTF-8) characters on all its charts. To create multi-lingual charts, you don't need to install anything extra. Just convert your XML data document into UTF-8 format.
- Supports drill down for data elements i.e., in each chart type, the data plot of that chart (columns in Column Charts, Pie slices in Pie Charts etc.) can act as hotspots for the chart.
- Can update the chart at client side, without incurring any page refreshes, by providing it ready-made XML data from JavaScript functions.
- Requires Flash Player 8 to be installed locally on the user’s computer.


* Note: Prices are correct at time of publication.