Let’s first try to understand what exactly data visualization is.
Simply stated, data visualization is a means to represent data and information in some form of graphical format, be it charts, bar graphs, pie charts, heat maps, or some other form. Visual representation is easy to interpret and make sense of.
What You Will Learn:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Their exact requirement, type of chart, and type of data that needs to be converted.
- Whether there is a requirement for an open-source library or a budget for a paid solution.
- Developers’ know-how. Some libraries have a steep learning curve, while others like Chart.js or ZDog are reasonably simple to use, so depending on developers’ familiarity with the language, choose the framework that the team is more comfortable working with.
Fact Check: According to Statista, the global data visualization market size was $4.51B in 2017 and is projected to reach $7.76B by 2023.
These numbers point to a continued increase in spending by all the companies toward data visualization and business intelligence with tools designed for analyzing and visualizing the data and creating actionable insights.
Frequently Asked Questions
The steps required to visualize the data are as below:
- Create basic HTML.
- Understand data and verify what property needs to be visualized.
- Create a data table. For example, a bar graph would have two axes for representing two measures.
- Select a charting library and create objects as supported by the chosen library.
- Add metadata like axis labels, tooltip texts, and so on for easy reference.
- Test the visualization and repeat the above steps as needed.
Q #2) Can I use HighCharts for free?
Answer: HighCharts can be used for free for noncommercial usages, such as not-for-profit education portals and open-source projects.
For commercial use, Highcharts offers premium versions for single developers and a multi-developer license with an option to choose features.
Answer: You can make a graph against the data fetched from an external source or mentioned in line. You can use one of the several libraries that offer charting and graph support.
Q #4) Which is better: Chart.js or D3.js?
Answer: These libraries support many charting capabilities and can be chosen depending on the use case we are trying to solve. For the effortless need for building charts and graphs, it’s recommended to use Chart.js as it’s easy to learn and use and has a minimal learning curve compared to D3.js.
For a more complex charting need—for example, chart types not supported in Chart.js are boxplot, heatmap, and ridgeline—you would need to use D3.js.
Q #5) Where is data visualization used?
Answer: With tons of gigabytes of affluent users and automation data available, visualization becomes equally important.
Data visualization can be seen everywhere—from companies’ annual reports to displays of statistics for a class, marks distribution, weather information, and election results.
Q #6) Is data visualization a form of business intelligence?
Answer: Data scientists worldwide solve critical business problems by gaining insights from the raw data collected across different systems.
Data visualization is a means to derive intelligence and actionable insights by looking at and studying carefully functional patterns indicating customer behavior and driving companies’ marketing and sales strategies with the derived results.
A small example could be visualizing sales numbers for a particular product during the Christmas holidays.
With business intelligence, you can dig deep into the data, analyze previous years’ data, build a hypothesis, create a marketing strategy around those products, and maybe increase prices to drive the bottom line.
Some of the JS charting libraries include FusionCharts, HighCharts, ChartKick, and Chart.js.
HighCharts offers the widest options for charts but doesn’t come for free for any enterprise products. Others like FusionCharts, ChartKick, and Chart.js have wonderful opportunities for charts and graphs and are open-sourced, thus free to use.
- FusionCharts Suite (Recommended)
- Trading Vue.js
|FusionCharts Suite||1. Professional |
3. Easy to
learn and use
|Useful for |
with different types
of graphs/charts for
|Visit Site >>|
|D3.js||1. Flexible |
easy to use
|Building dynamic |
and interactive data
|Visit Site >>|
|Anime.js||1. Easy to use |
2. Supports all
free to use
|Building high |
charts and graphs
|Visit Site >>|
|HighCharts||1. Supports |
2. A wide array
of charts and
3. Free for
|Complex chart |
|Visit Site >>|
|Pts.js||1. Conceptual |
and easy to
|Create custom |
|Visit Site >>|
#1) FusionCharts Suite (Recommended)
FusionCharts is best for web and enterprise application charting and data visualization requirements.
FusionCharts provides a wide range of charts and mapping capabilities, with 100+ charts and 2,000+ maps to work with. It’s one of the most comprehensive libraries available on the market.
Refer to a sample app publishing trend bar charts created using FusionCharts.
You can perform different customizations, like choosing themes, custom-tip text, creating axis labels, and more.
Refer below for another example of creating a map using FusionCharts, representing average temperature across US states during 1979-2000.
- Support for 100+ charts and 2,000+ maps.
- Suited for web and mobile platforms across browsers.
- Lots of customization options.
- One of the most powerful and complete solutions.
- Performance is decent; you can draw charts with a million data points in approximately 1.5 to 2 seconds.
- Comprehensive documentation.
- Easy to learn and integrate with different tech stacks.
- Charts and maps are easy to configure.
- FusionCharts comes with a licensing fee for advance usage.
- It comes in different plans:
- Basic: $499/year for a single developer suite for small internal apps.
- Pro and Enterprise editions: $1,299 and $2,499 annually with support for 5 and 10 developers, respectively.
- Enterprise+: Suited for larger organizations; pricing is available on request.
Best for building dynamic and interactive data visualizations for web browsers.
D3.js is one of the most popular data visualization libraries being used by developers across the globe and is used to manipulate documents based on data. It uses modern web standards like SVG, HTML, and CSS for building graphs, maps, and pie charts.
- Data-driven with support for declarative programming.
- Highly robust and flexible.
- Supports animations, interactivity, and data-driven plots for better user experience.
- Easy customizations.
- Lightweight and fast.
- Good community support.
- It is not very easy to learn; it requires good experience in web development.
- It comes with a licensing fee.
- Developer license: $7 per user monthly
- Team or organization account license: Starts at $9/month.
Best for teams and developers looking for basic charting requirements and an open-sourced product.
- Uses HTML5 Canvas for great rendering and performance across all modern browsers.
- Responsive as it redraws the chart based on window size.
- Fast and lightweight.
- Detailed documentation with easy-to-understand examples.
- Free and open-sourced.
- Limited features supporting only eight graph types.
- It doesn’t offer a lot of customization options.
- It’s canvas-based, so it has issues like nonvector formats.
- Chart.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for teams building complex data visualizations.
- Good framework with support for extensibility.
- It can create highly complex data visualizations.
- Declarative interface for fast mapping of data fields to visuals.
- Based on the D3 framework and Grammar of Graphics concepts.
- Supports several plugins, like a tooltip, annotations, etc., out of the box.
- Needs good development experience to use and build charts
- TauCharts is open-sourced and free to use
Best for open-source library for rendering 2-D shapes.
It’s a two-dimensional library used to create shapes with code. It renders agnostic so that you can use it agnostically with Canvas, SVG, or WebGL.
- Focuses on vector shapes to build and animate flat shapes concisely.
- It relies on scenegraph to help apply multiple operations on the created object.
- Built-in animation loop and SVG interpreter.
- Easy to learn and use.
- Since it’s rendered agnostic, it can help in drawing the same object across multiple contexts.
- Limited support for only 2-D objects.
- Not suited for charting needs like graphs and interactive visualizations.
- Two.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for composing objects as you perceive them with a basic level of abstraction as points.
- Lightweight and modular library.
- It helps to express what you see in your mind’s eye with focused objects, visualizing ideas, shapes, colors, and interactions.
- Supports multiple algorithms for data visualization.
- Good documentation and easy-to-get-started examples.
- Pts.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for creating detailed drawings and graphics with very few lines of code.
- Cross-browser scripting library that can draw vector graphics.
- Designed especially for artists and graphic designers.
- SVG support can help to create beautiful and professional graphics.
- Works seamlessly across browsers.
- Small learning curve.
- It doesn’t support charting and data visualization capabilities.
- Raphael.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for creating powerful user interface animation with support for all major modern browsers.
Anime.js is one of the most preferred libraries for creating UI animation for web-based applications. It’s lightweight, accessible, and open-sourced.
- Works with CSS properties, SVG, DOM attributes, and JS objects.
- Animate multiple CSS transforms simultaneously on a single HTML element.
- Lightweight and easy to use.
- Easy setup and is relatively intuitive.
- Compatible with modern browsers.
- Documentation is not very detailed.
- Animation requires selectors but needs an understanding of styling and animation definitions.
- Anime.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for teams looking to create charts for React-based web applications.
It’s a charting library built on React components.
- Decoupled, reusable React components.
- Native support for SVG and is extremely lightweight.
- Support for declarative components.
- Intuitive API and easy to use.
- Composable elements were available as React components.
- Highly responsive.
- Great options to customize charts.
- ReCharts is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for building advanced charts primarily for web-based Forex and stock-trading applications.
Trading Vue.js library is primarily used for building charts and graphs for web-based trading applications. It can help you to draw anything on candlestick charts literally.
- Simple API for making overlays and components.
- Support for customizing fonts and colors.
- High performance.
- Supports deep zoom and scroll.
- Fully reactive and responsive.
- Supports creating custom indicators.
- Not very actively maintained.
- Trading Vue.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for teams looking for an extensive charting library for supporting multiple platforms like web and mobile.
- Supports multiple platforms, web, and mobile.
- Support for data import and export.
- Has an open, dynamic API.
- Supports external data loading with tooltip labels and multiple axes support.
- Offers multiple configurations and customizations.
- Compatible with all modern web and mobile browsers.
- Extensible library.
- Has a moderate to steep learning curve.
- Creating complex charts is not straightforward.
- HighCharts is free for noncommercial users.
- Offers free trials.
- Paid versions come in single-developer as well as enterprise editions:
- Single developer: Starts at $430
- 5 developmentcan’t.$1,935
Best for creating basic charts across multiple programming language libraries like Python, Ruby, JS, etc.
ChartKick can create beautiful charts with very minimal code.
- Data can be passed as a hash or array for creating charts or graphs.
- Supports other charting libraries like HighCharts, Google Charts, etc.
- Supports libraries in multiple programming languages.
- It gives users the ability to download charts out of the box.
- It doesn’t support complex chart types and customizations.
- ChartKick is open-sourced and free to use
Pixi.js is an HTML5 renderer based on WebGL and is widely used for web-based games.
- Rendering library to create rich, interactive graphics.
- Supports cross-platform applications and games.
- It can’t be used for creating interactive content for desktop and mobile with a single codebase.
- Easy-to-use API.
- Support for WebGL filters.
- Pixi.js is a renderer and not a complete framework, unlike other game development tools like Unity of Phaser.
- Doesn’t support rendering 3-D models.
- Pixi.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for generating 3-D graphics for web-based applications.
Three.js is a cross-browser JS library for creating 3-D computer graphics in a web browser. It is widely used for JS-based game development.
- Lightweight cross-browser general-purpose 3-D library.
- Supports WebGL renderer.
- Handles WebGL components like lights, shadows, and materials out of the box, making it easy to create complex objects.
- Easy to learn with lots of examples available.
- Good community support and documentation.
- Highly performant.
- It’s more suited as a rendering engine and not a complete framework.
- It doesn’t support a deferred rendering pipeline.
- Three.js is open-sourced and free to use.
Best for open-sourced doesn’t give creating and rendering 3-D images for canvas and SVG.
ZDog is a 3-D JS engine for HTML5 canvas and SVG. It’s a pseudo-3-D engine in that the shapes are 3-D but are rendered as flat shapes on screen.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Supports vector illustration in 3-D.
- Easy to learn and use.
- Used for building lightweight 3-D games.
- Doesn’t support complex graphics and charts.
- ZDog is open-sourced and free to use.
The most commonly used open-source charting and graphics libraries are Charts.js and Anime.js, which are used for creating most of the basic charts as well as adding animations to user interfaces for web-based applications.
From the paid libraries, the ones commonly preferred by developers are FusionCharts Suite and D3.js.