Google Charts

Chart Drawing Techniques

This page lists the different ways that you can instantiate and draw a chart on the page. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, as listed below.

Contents

  1. chart.draw()
  2. ChartWrapper
  3. DrawChart()
  4. More Information

chart.draw()

This is the basic method covered in the Hello Chart! example in this documentation. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Load the JSAPI, Google Visualization, and chart libraries
  2. Prepare your data
  3. Prepare any chart options
  4. Instantiate the chart class, passing in a handle to the page container element.
  5. Optionally register to receive any chart events. If you intend to call methods on the chart, you should listen for the "ready" event.
  6. Call chart.draw(), passing in the data and options.

Advantages:

  • You have complete control over every step of the process.
  • You can register to listen for all events thrown by the chart.

Disadvantages:

  • Verbose
  • You must explicitly load all required chart libraries.
  • If you send queries, you must manually implement for the callback, check for success, extract the returned DataTable, and pass it to the chart.

Example:

<html>
  <head>
    <!--Load the AJAX API-->
    <script type="text/javascript" src="https://www.google.com/jsapi"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
     var data;
     var chart;

      // Load the Visualization API and the piechart package.
      google.load('visualization', '1', {'packages':['corechart']});

      // Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded.
      google.setOnLoadCallback(drawChart);

      // Callback that creates and populates a data table,
      // instantiates the pie chart, passes in the data and
      // draws it.
      function drawChart() {

        // Create our data table.
        data = new google.visualization.DataTable();
        data.addColumn('string', 'Topping');
        data.addColumn('number', 'Slices');
        data.addRows([
          ['Mushrooms', 3],
          ['Onions', 1],
          ['Olives', 1],
          ['Zucchini', 1],
          ['Pepperoni', 2]
        ]);

        // Set chart options
        var options = {'title':'How Much Pizza I Ate Last Night',
                       'width':400,
                       'height':300};

        // Instantiate and draw our chart, passing in some options.
        chart = new google.visualization.PieChart(document.getElementById('chart_div'));
        google.visualization.events.addListener(chart, 'select', selectHandler);
        chart.draw(data, options);
      }

      function selectHandler() {
        var selectedItem = chart.getSelection()[0];
        var value = data.getValue(selectedItem.row, 0);
        alert('The user selected ' + value);
      }

    </script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <!--Div that will hold the pie chart-->
    <div id="chart_div" style="width:400; height:300"></div>
  </body>
</html>

ChartWrapper

ChartWrapper is a convenience class that handles loading all the appropriate chart libraries for you and also simplifies sending queries to Chart Tools Datasources.

Advantages:

  • Much less code
  • Loads all the required chart libraries for you
  • Makes querying Datasources much easier by creating the Query object and handling the callback for you
  • Pass in the container element ID, and it will call getElementByID for you.
  • Data can be submitted in a variety of formats: as an array of values, as a JSON literal string, or as a DataTable handle

Disadvantages:

  • ChartWrapper currently propagates only the select, ready, and error events. To get other events, you must get a handle to the wrapped chart and subscribe to events there. See the ChartWrapper documentation for examples.

Examples:

Here's an example of a column chart with locally constructed data specified as an array. You cannot specify chart labels or datetime values using the array syntax, but you could manually create a DataTable object with those values and pass that to the dataTable property.

<html>
  <head>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/jsapi"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
      google.load('visualization', '1');   // Don't need to specify chart libraries!
      google.setOnLoadCallback(drawVisualization);

      function drawVisualization() {
        var wrapper = new google.visualization.ChartWrapper({
          chartType: 'ColumnChart',
          dataTable: [['', 'Germany', 'USA', 'Brazil', 'Canada', 'France', 'RU'],
                      ['', 700, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800]],
          options: {'title': 'Countries'},
          containerId: 'vis_div'
        });
        wrapper.draw();
      }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body style="font-family: Arial;border: 0 none;">
    <div id="vis_div" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;"></div>
  </body>
</html>

Here's an example of a line chart that gets its data by querying a Google Spreadsheet. Note that the code doesn't need to handle the callback.

<html>
  <head>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/jsapi"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
      google.load('visualization', '1');
      google.setOnLoadCallback(drawVisualization);

      function drawVisualization() {
        var wrapper = new google.visualization.ChartWrapper({
          chartType: 'LineChart',
          dataSourceUrl: 'http://spreadsheets.google.com/tq?key=pCQbetd-CptGXxxQIG7VFIQ&pub=1',
          query: 'SELECT A,D WHERE D > 100 ORDER BY D',
          options: {'title': 'Countries'},
          containerId: 'vis_div'
        });
        wrapper.draw()

        // No query callback handler needed!
      }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body style="font-family: Arial;border: 0 none;">
    <div id="vis_div" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;"></div>
  </body>
</html>

Combined with autoloading, this can make for very compact code:

<html>
  <head>
    <script type="text/javascript"
      src='https://www.google.com/jsapi?autoload={"modules":[{"name":"visualization","version":"1"}]}'>
    </script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
      google.setOnLoadCallback(drawVisualization);

      function drawVisualization() {
        var wrapper = new google.visualization.ChartWrapper({
          chartType: 'LineChart',
          dataSourceUrl: 'http://spreadsheets.google.com/tq?key=pCQbetd-CptGXxxQIG7VFIQ&pub=1',
          query: 'SELECT A,D WHERE D > 100 ORDER BY D',
          options: {'title': 'Countries'},
          containerId: 'vis_div'
        });
        wrapper.draw()
      }
    </script>
  </head>
  <body style="font-family: Arial;border: 0 none;">
    <div id="vis_div" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;"></div>
  </body>
</html>

Using the Chart Editor with ChartWrapper

You can use the Chart Editor dialog built into Google Spreadsheets to design a chart and then request the serialized ChartWrapper string that represents the chart. You can then copy and paste this string and use it as described above in ChartWrapper.

You can embed a chart editor on your own page and expose methods for users to connect to other data sources and return the ChartWrapper string. See the ChartEditor reference documentation for more information.

 

DrawChart()

DrawChart is a global static method that wraps a ChartWrapper.

Advantages:

  • Same as ChartWrapper, but slightly shorter to use.

Disadvantages:

  • Does not return a handle to the wrapper, so you cannot handle any events.
<DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/jsapi"></script>
    <script type="text/javascript">
    google.load('visualization', '1.0');
    function drawVisualization() {
      google.visualization.drawChart({
         "containerId": "visualization_div",
         "dataSourceUrl": "https://spreadsheets.google.com/a/google.com/tq?key=pCQbetd-CptGXxxQIG7VFIQ&pub=1",
         "query":"SELECT A,D WHERE D > 100 ORDER BY D",
         "refreshInterval": 5,
         "chartType": "Table",
         "options": {
            "alternatingRowStyle": true,
            "showRowNumber" : true
         }
       });
    }
    google.setOnLoadCallback(drawVisualization);
  </script>
  </head>
  <body style="font-family: Arial;border: 0 none;">
    <div id="visualization_div" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;"></div>
  </body>
</html>

More Information

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