The modern perception of a chart’s behavior, performance, and visualization abilities are changing rapidly. New, easier to interpret charts, maps and geo visualizations are finding their way into becoming a standard for every business application. Rendering performance is becoming a key aspect. End-users are demanding new ways of interaction, such as interactive filtering and drilling of data. The change is happening now.
We are pleased to announce that we have been working on a new charting engine for Telerik Reporting that will allow you to create engaging and modern visualizations, in the fraction of the time it used to take in the past. In Q1 2013 Telerik Reporting will get a set of new visualization capabilities which, when used properly, will help your users understand data quicker and make better decisions. The new chart will be released next week as a beta. The beta tag is there only because we want your feedback for polishing the chart before making it official.
Everything. The architecture is completely new - it is simpler, more capable, with less limitations, and easier to build on. The styling mechanism is consistent with the other report items’ (the old chart has its own styling mechanism). The new chart uses Telerik Reporting’s data engine, just like other data items, which also means that it can work with OLAP data, making it a fully blown OLAP/pivot chart. To put this statement into perspective, the Crosstab’s Column hierarchy can be used as the Chart’s Category hierarchy, and the Crosstab’s Row hierarchy can be used as the Chart’s Series hierarchy.
In this version the OLAP chart will visualize the most common chart types:
Let me dissect some of these. The ones listed on top are quite familiar – the old chart supports these as well. The bottom half however are more interesting.
New for Telerik Reporting is the doughnut chart, which is actually a 100% stacked bar chart presented in a polar coordinate system:
Overlapping Doughnut and 100% Stacked Bar charts (Telerik Reporting)
Also new to Telerik Reporting is the rose chart, which represents OLAP data in a fashion, similar to the pie chart:
Rose Chart (Telerik Reporting)
Another milestone is the sparkline chart, which is a rather small chart with no fluff, introduced widely with Microsoft Excel 2007:
Sparkline with many data points (Telerik Reporting)
In Telerik Reporting the sparkline is not a special chart, but a regular chart, just stripped down and miniaturized. This allows for using any chart type as a sparkline. With Telerik Reporting you can even add conditional formatting to a sparkline:
Column sparkline with conditional formatting and many data points (Telerik Reporting)
The most powerful are the combination charts, which impose no limits on what you can do. You can mix chart types, chart series, scales, and what not into a single visualization. All you need is know-how, imagination, and proper instructions on how to interpret the charts you create. Here are two rather simple examples created with Telerik Reporting:
Bar and Line combination chart (Telerik Reporting)
Column and Area combination chart (Telerik Reporting)
And finally, you can use charts in pivot tables, which will allow you to use the CrossTable’s settings as chart settings for endless ways for visualizing multidimensional data:
Chart in a CrossTab report item in design time (Telerik Report Designer)
Chart in a CrossTab report item in Preview mode (Telerik Report Designer)
Codelessly (or automagically, if you will) in most cases. When you need to add a new chart to the report, select the chart type from the ribbon in the Report Designer, or from the toolbox in VS, and a wizard will help you set up the data (from the available report data sources, or by adding a new data source), define the graph series with drag and drop, and add styling. The chart can be customized via its properties in both Visual Studio and in the Telerik Report Designer. The Telerik Report Designer however will also offer quick settings in the ribbon bar, such as color pallets, formatting, adding/removing legends, titles, axes, etc. Your feedback will be very welcome on how to improve the interface, so feel free to give us your feedback either here or in our Forums.
The new charting engine is not backwards compatible with the old one. The architectural differences are too great for creating a meaningful automatic upgrade procedure.
For those of you using Visual Studio, we have added a new class (Telerik.Reporting.Graph) which will allow using both charts in a report for backwards compatibility.
In the Report Designer both charts can also work simultaneously in existing reports, however adding a new chart to a report will insert the new chart only.
In no particular order, here is a list of features we plan to add in the next versions:
In the meantime we will catch up with some features, but later this year the new integrated graphing component will supersede the current chart report item.
You can see the new chart in action by registering for the What's New in Telerik Reporting webinar on March 4th below.
Let us know what you think!
Vassil Petev is a Product Manager at Telerik. Loves gadgets, sailing, skiing and DJing.