Application with charts


I am looking at starting to develop a new web application, that will use charts quite extensively. I will be using php, and am just after some advice about the best way to actually render the charts. For instance, flash charts are nice to look at, but i was worried about the lack of availability on mobile devices. Now that adobe will be streaming flash content, is this a still a good choice? Or should i be looking at html5 instead?

What i want to develop is some relatively simple charts, say a bar chart, but that above each point it could display a number, like a percentage, or some icons to indicate further content.

Can anyone recommend some good charting software out there already? I would prefer the bulk of the work to be done by php, and not javascript, if possible.

Take a look at these two and see if they will help:

bChart -
Libchart -

bChart is in a single PHP file, whereas Libchart is a PHP library.

I’ve been a huge fan of pChart for a while now.

There’s also a new pchart project It’s not free but it’s a well developed library that has good documentation and great features.

pchart looks fantastic, and the normalised dataset is exactly what i’m looking for. But you’re right it’s not free - the licence is just over £400!!!

Personally I like the Google Chart API a lot. It’s free, simple and doesn’t require any instalation.

Google charts is good, although they obviously get all the information that my site would produce.
Pchart seems fantastic, although i was wondering if there are any drawbacks about using the GD library to produce the charts, instead of the new html5 approach? Can anyone point out the pros and cons?

I think it would depend on what you would consider a benefit. IMO pcharts or any GD or imagemagic based chart library, would be significantly more beneficial than HTML5. The biggest benefit would be platform compatibility. Since these simply create an image, they work in any browser. HTML5 doesn’t work in all browsers, and doesn’t work exactly the same in all browsers, so that’s a huge issue for me. Sizing may be an issue if you have a lot of mobile users, but images generally scale fairly well. As for drawbacks, images definitely take up more bandwidth. You have the overhead of generating a chart. You also add complexity in the situation on whether you are caching charts, storage, security.