In the past, I’ve used various open source .NET charting libraries or Flash based libraries. I’ve even coded my own charting libraries for some complex data visualization requirements. Today, Scott Gu blogged about the the free Microsoft Chart Controls for Microsoft .NET 3.5.
The control library was released in October, but it was buried among the rest of the files on Microsoft’s download web site. Today was the first time I had seen anything written about the new controls.
I downloaded the library and after messing around a little bit, I was able to easily convert my previous charting library to use the new Microsoft charting library. A few of the reasons that I converted my code was that I was using an open source Flash based library that had both Flash problems (browser plug-in loading/hanging issues, divs such as pop-out menus weren’t visible when rendered over control) and data problems (didn’t support IEnumerable for data source). Another reason is that these charts look a bit nicer than my previous library.
This library also works for both WinForms and WebForms environments and will be included in .NET Framework 4.0.
At first glance, the controls might look similar to the popular Dundas Data Visualization controls. In fact, after Microsoft purchased Dundas they modified the Dundas Chart source code for release 5.5 to create the Microsoft Chart library. A couple of weeks ago, Alex Gorev blogged about the relationship between Microsoft and Dundas.
There are numerous chart types available in the library including:
- New ASP.NET Charting Control: <asp:chart runat=”server”/> (Scott Gu)
- Microsoft Chart Control vs. Dundas Chart Control (Alex Gorev)
- Download the free Microsoft Chart Controls (Microsoft)
- Download the VS 2008 Tool Support for the Chart Controls (Microsoft)
- Download the Microsoft Chart Controls Samples (MSDN)
- Download the Microsoft Chart Controls Documentation (Microsoft)
- Visit the Microsoft Chart Control Forum (MSDN)