Nowadays many components are available which can be used to
present information in charts with the help of .NET applications. While traditional
charts are sufficient for the majority of projects, flash-based charts help
users grasp the content in an animated manner. InfoSoft Global, a leading Kolkata-based
company has developed a unique product named FusionCharts with which programmers
will be able to build powerful windows and web based chart applications using a
wide range of programming languages such as: ASP, ASP.NET, PHP, JSP, ColdFusion,
Ruby on Rails, Python, and simple HTML.
A fully functional trial version of the product can be
downloaded by filling out a simple form located on the FusinCharts Download page. In
order to work with FusinCharts, you need not install any file in your system as
the entire package is bundled in a single ZIP file. You just need to user the
required flash chart flash (SWF) file and provide the required coding as
provided in the documentation. The only requirement is that users just need to
install Adobe Flash Player 8 and above which is available for free.
Inside the Product
The product ships with nearly 45 types of charts. Included
are 2D and 3D charts (www.fusioncharts.com/Gallery)
which consist of line, area, bar, column, pie, doughnut (donut), combination,
scatter, bubble, and scroll charts. It is not necessary to be familiar with Adobe
Flash to work with the product. However, ambitious developers can customize the
charts using the built-in XML-based Application Programming Interface (API).
Figure 1: 2D chart in Action
The vendor also provides a few additional products such as
PowerCharts, FusionWidgets and FusionMaps which will help developers build
advanced charts, guages and maps. An interesting feature of the product is that
charts are generated on the client side, which can greatly reduce the server
load. The application fetches relevant flash and XML files for the purpose of
rendering the charts.
The FushionCharts package provides support for SQL Server
2005 and 2008 databases, but this should be converted into an XML file using a
server side script as shown in this Short FusionCharts Video
Demonstration. The FusionCharts package also ships with support for Ajax
support for advanced functionalities such as slicing and rotation in case of
pie chart. With the help of this feature, users can simply click on the chart
and drag clockwise or counterclockwise to get better view of charts.
Figure 2: 3D Pie Chart Before Rotation
Figure 3: 3D Pie Chart After Rotation
From my point of view, the possibilities provided by the
product are immense and it is up to the creativity of the developer to make
optimum use of the product. I suggest you to check out the FusionCharts Live Demo.
The vendor provides excellent HTML documentation with the
package, which clearly examines each feature of the product in a step-by-step manner
with relevant source code and screenshots. Also available is an online version
of the FusionCharts
Documentation. I am very satisfied with the e-mail support as all my
queries are answered within a single working day. Moreover, developers can also
take advantage of the FushionCharts
Knowledge Base, which provides answers to commonly asked queries and provides
a location to interact with others through the FusionCharts Online Forums.
I would suggest the vendor create a small installation setup
program so that developers can easily access the samples and documentation
directly from the start menu as is done by other major component vendors.
InfoSoft Global also regularly provides new information and updates through the
FusionCharts Blog. I highly
recommend the product for those developers who would like to implement
different kind of charts while utilizing several powerful features in their
About the Product
About the Reviewer
Anand Narayanaswamy (Microsoft MVP and Chief Technical
Editor, ASPAlliance.com) is the author of Community
Server Quickly and runs http://www.learnxpress.com.