A remote professional chart renderer

  • leocda
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  • leocda
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hi.

I would like to collect opinions from other webmasters, server-side programmers and web-developers about an online tool I maybe start developing soon. I think a forum made for webmasters is the right place to know what the market thinks about my idea.

I have a complex drawing engine made from scratch using a compiled language (if you would like to have a look at what my library can make, contact me by email or PM and I will show you a link to it).

I'm thinking about developing a powerful chart rendering engine to be used remotely. I would release a web-service allowing any webmaster (or anybody at all) to send the data to be plotted and some metadata informing what kind of chart is desired and how it should be configured. The response would be a chart image (possibly a gif with some few KBs).

A web-developer could make a HTTP request to my web-service from its own server using java, perl, php or any script language having a HTTP client class/component. He would receive an image to save in his server's hard-disk as he want. Of course, this saved image could be put in any dynamic HTML page. If this service can be fast enough, someone can generate a chart in real time to compose a web page. This approach could bring some performance problems, but just for sites that have dozens or hundreds visits per minute. At least 95% of sites around the Internet don't have so much traffic.

As a webmaster and a software developer, showing professional charts can be an useful application to you?

Is there a professional chart library available natively in your preferred script language?

If you already use a chart library (locally in your server), is it really good?

Would you use a remote service if it doesn't cause performance issues?
  • righteous_trespasser
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Maybe have a look at this first ...
  • leocda
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  • leocda
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Post 3+ Months Ago

righteous_trespasser wrote:
Maybe have a look at this first ...


Google uses flash to make its own charts in its main applications, like Analytics for example. In fact, I'm very sure the charts they coded are drawn using the same renderer you see in flash, no matter where they come from.

Maybe they are running code from Adobe in the server side for the "chart.apis" sub-domain. So Google offers a chart from a URL, but if you use GET, you are limited to the URL string max size, that nowadays is 2KB after URL-encoding (for many readable characters, this encoding turns 1 char in 3).

In other words, it's a solution when sending few data (I'm not even taking in account the metadata). That's the reason I didn't even mentioned this kind of solution (using GET): it's not scalable. Probably it's the main reason Google doesn't use it for its more important applications too.
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The Google Chart Tool does also support POST requests as well.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

If you can come up with some functionality that Google's chart API doesn't have, I say go for it. Everything you've described so far though, Google's API does and does pretty fast.

Google's API has some pretty complex options available. The Radar and Concentric Pie charts are two of my favorite. It's also possible to construct chart maps.
  • leocda
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bigwebmaster wrote:
The Google Chart Tool does also support POST requests as well.


I already knew that, but it's almost the same thing to me. We just went from 2KB (GET size limit) to 16KB (according to the own Google documentation). If you have few data to send, go for it, but it's not scalable.

If it's the only option all you know so far, probably this project is worthy. I was afraid there was a very professional and well known local (server side) library to make it.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Why wouldn't you scale the data yourself before sending it out to get a chart ? :scratchhead:

Quote:
If it's the only option all you know so far, probably this project is worthy.


It's like signing up for a dating site and the first person they match you up with is Jessica Alba. Why would you want to keep looking ? :)

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