In a footnote to my post a while ago on SafeYAML1, I established a goal of writing more about my many open source projects, which I have a bad habit of not telling anyone about—sometimes even long after they’re finished!
Here, I’ll give you an example (note: this is probably not going to display properly for those of you on RSS readers; visit the website to see what I’m trying to show you!):
<table class="render-to-bar-chart"> <tr> <th>Method of rendering a chart</th> <th>How easy it is (scale from 1 to 10)</th> </tr> <tr> <td>Using Highcharts directly</td> <td>3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Using HighTables</td> <td>10</td> </tr> </table>
And the result:
|Method of rendering a chart||How easy it is (scale from 1 to 10)|
|Using Highcharts directly||3|
Pretty cool, right?
My problem with Highcharts in the past was that it has a behemoth API. Rendering a chart was never a simple matter of calling
pieChart(); instead, any chart-creation logic requires a whole ton of options that an average person is very unlikely to remember from one use to the next. And so I always found myself returning to the Highcharts website, perusing documentation, and following examples to ever get a chart to display on sites I’ve worked on.
|Activity||Relative Value of activity||Hours spent on activity|
|Implementing reporting backend||10||3|
|Fiddling with chart rendering||1||5|
And from there came the realization that I could (and probably should) just automate every bit of the process, and write a library to always render a chart from a table—provided that table had some class (like
render-to-line-chart) associated with it. So that’s exactly how HighTables works: you add one class to your table, include the library in your page, and charts display automatically. (The charts above are rendered from a hidden table, by the way, in case you were confused!)
So, by all means, try out HighTables and let me know what you think! I’ve already used it a good deal myself, and I can honestly say it’s been really useful to me. But the more use it gets, the more useful it should become as bugs are fixed, features are introduced, yada yada. At least that’s the hope.