I’m getting to the point where I need to display some of the information I’m analysing visually, as part of a web service. I’d looked at jpgraph, which seems to be the best known server-side graph creation tool, and their gallery of example charts made me feel very sad. Here’s an example:
I knew there had to be other alternatives out there, and I was over the moon when I discovered PHP/SWF charts. It’s a flash-based charting system, and it’s got antialiasing, good-looking fonts, transparency, 3D, shadows, animation, interactivity and a very simple API. You can see three examples from their gallery above. It’s letting me create visuals that I can be proud of. The only downside is that it requires a browser capable of running flash, which excludes my iPhone. It’s free for the basic version, and you can get a single-domain license for $45 which lets you do a bit more customization. It’s designed for PHP, but actually internally converts the PHP array arguments to XML before handing them to the flash movie, so you can use it with any scripting language.