Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tool: amCharts

amCharts is a library which you can use to create your own custom visualizations using datasets complete with 2D, 3D effects and animations. The library also allows the developer to provide custom tool tips and other features so that the user can move over the data to get a gist of it.
Below is a snapshot of the chart made with amCharts:

amCharts is written primarily in JavaScript(HTML5) and is extremely easy to use. The main point of amCharts is that it lets you use both JavaScript and Flash to create visualizations. amCharts can pull in data in CSV and XML formats and can also query data dynamically in using scripting languages such as PHP, Ruby on Rails, .NET, Perl, Java and ColdFusion and many more languages. Thus, amCharts eliminates the reliance on any one language and also eliminates the reliance on one particular data source.
amCharts can be used in web-site development and even web-based applications. It just requires a simple inclusion of its .js file to get started. It can be used just as any other charting/visualization API where you use the provided functions to load the data.
Below is a excerpt from the amCharts documentation:
The two script tag lines include the amCharts Library's JavaScript code into the HTML page and the container is used to place the generated graph.

amCharts supports different charts such as pie charts, stock charts, line charts, donut chart, area chart, bubble chart etc. All charts can be produced both in 2D and 3D with animations. amCharts also has charts that are built in Flex and Silverlight. It also provides APIs to generate Flex and Flash based Maps. Both these components however come in different JavaScript bundles.

This excellent tool is made by a small company called amCharts based in Vilnius, Lithuania which was started in 2004. Information about the company can be found in here.

amCharts can be downloaded or bought as a commercial license from here. amCharts currently has clients like Microsoft, NASA, Cisco, Motorola etc.