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Understanding the Sea of Data: Infragistics Helps Developers Visualize Data

Technology’s ability to efficiently capture, store and retrieve data is only part of the story. As data warehouses grow, business needs for digesting and presenting data in consumable, understandable ways will also grow. Infragistics helps developers meet that need with strong tooling and guidance.

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Contents

  1. Table of Figures
  2. Introduction
  3. Charts
  4. Gauges
  5. Grids
  6. Wrap Up

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1 – Basic Infragistics Pie Chart [Generated by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebChart]
  • Figure 2 - Infragistics Histogram Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebChart]
  • Figure 3 - Infragistics 3D Stack Column Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for JSF WebChart]
  • Figure 4 - Infragistics True 3D Bubble Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for WPF xamChart]
  • Figure 5 – Real-time Charting [From xamTrader Demo Using xamChart]
  • Figure 6 - An Infragistics Radial Gauge [Rendered by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebGauge]
  • Figure 7 - Infragistics Grid [Generated by NetAdvantage for Windows Forms WinGrid]

Introduction

In our fast-paced world that only seems to get faster, we need to get the information we need in compact, efficient, digestible, and truly meaningful ways in order to make the right decisions that rest upon that information. That’s where data visualization, a.k.a. information visualization (infovis), comes into play. Infragistics is committed to helping developers support the needs of their businesses by providing high-quality information visualization tools and guidance for the most popular development platforms: Silverlight, ASP.NET, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), JavaServer Faces (JSF), and Windows Forms.

Charts

A staple of information visualization is charts. Charts help communicate large sets of data visually, usually to establish a relationship between data points through comparison and, especially, contrast. Probably the most commonly seen and used chart is the pie chart, although simple line and bar charts follow close on its heels.

Figure 1 – Basic Infragistics Pie Chart [Generated by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebChart]

Figure 1 – Basic Infragistics Pie Chart [Generated by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebChart]

There are infovis experts such as Stephen Few and Edward Tufte who argue against the use of simple line, pie, and bar charts due to the ink to information ratio [more]. Certainly this argument holds true in certain scenarios, but sometimes a pie chart is what you need to communicate the data and make the visual impact that you’re looking for. Sometimes you want to watch the movie rather than read the book, and these simple charts are extremely familiar and usually very easy to understand.

Figure 2 - Infragistics Histogram Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebChart]

Figure 2 - Infragistics Histogram Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebChart]

Figure 3 - Infragistics 3D Stack Column Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for JSF WebChart]

Figure 3 - Infragistics 3D Stack Column Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for JSF WebChart]

That said, Infragistics provides developers with pretty much every type of chart that they’ll need—everything from the basic pies, bars, and cylinders all the way up to histograms, box/wisker, heatmap, Gantt, and polar charts. All told, we enable developers to serve their business needs with over 50 different 3D and 2D chart types and add additional communication and UX features like advanced tooltips, annotations, custom adornments, data highlighting and more.

Figure 4 - Infragistics True 3D Bubble Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for WPF xamChart]

Figure 4 - Infragistics True 3D Bubble Chart [Rendered by NetAdvantage for WPF xamChart]

In NetAdvantage for WPF’s xamChart, we kick it up a notch by adding rich animations and true 3D rendering while still supporting real-time updating, as demonstrated in the 2007 Volume 2 xamTrader sample.

Figure 5 – Real-time Charting [From xamTrader Demo Using xamChart]

Figure 5 – Real-time Charting [From xamTrader Demo Using xamChart]

More on Charts

Charts are a must-have for information visualization. Here’s how to find out more about all of the controls discussed in this article: Infragistics charts, gauges, grids, and more on the development platforms we support:

Gauges

Another useful kind of visualization is the gauge. As dashboards have become more and more popular, decision makers have demanded a stimulating, visual way to measure against a goal or monitor variance within a specified range to help them quickly understand what is going on with key performance indicators. Thus was born the graphical incarnation of the familiar real-world gauge. Gauges are also a pleasant visual relief to a dashboard filled with lots of textual information; when used appropriately, they add that extra something that can make a dashboard come alive and be relatable.

Figure 6 - An Infragistics Radial Gauge [Rendered by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebGauge]

Figure 6 - An Infragistics Radial Gauge [Rendered by NetAdvantage for ASP.NET WebGauge]

Infragistics covers these scenarios, providing over 100 gauge styles for three different, familiar gauge types—radial, linear, and digital. The gauges are composable, so you can combine multiple scales and ranges into a single gauge to increase the ink-to-information ratio while maintaining a professionally designed look and feel.

More on Gauges

If you think gauges are the thing for you to spruce up your data visualization, you can see them online and download a free trial from our Web site:

Grids

While grids are not always thought of when thinking about information visualization, they are in fact a staple for business decision makers, particularly when they need to drill down from higher-level visualizations provided by charts and gauges. Grids are great for displaying supporting data, and you can use them as a simple way to expose a matrix. Infragistics provides developers with powerful, hierarchical data grids to meet even the most demanding of detailed information visualization and simplify direct editing of that same information through two-way data binding.

Figure 7 - Infragistics Grid [Generated by NetAdvantage for Windows Forms WinGrid]

Figure 7 - Infragistics Grid [Generated by NetAdvantage for Windows Forms WinGrid]

More on Grids

Infragistics has a rich grid to enable developers to complete the data visualization story for their applications on every development platform we build on:

Wrap Up

Visualizing information is important because, through the use of visualizations, we humans can more easily (and often better) understand the sea of information that is so readily at our fingertips. In addition to aiding our own understanding and analysis, visualizations are key for communicating information to others. The old adage is that a picture is worth thousand words and, in a sense, this carries forward into how we break down, visualize, analyze, and understand all the many data that are part of our lives today.

We here at Infragistics can help you to manage those meandering masses of data by providing you the tools and guidance you need to meet your organization’s ever-expanding need for data/information visualization. We are committed to continue building out our information visualization products to help you explore new ways to experience your data and support your decision-making needs. Please take some time to explore our products and get in touch with us if you have any questions.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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