TeeChart for .NET
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
The ASP.NET Chart control provided by Microsoft may not suit the requirements of all developers, as many prefer to implement advanced out-of-box functionalities for their projects. I recently happened to test-drive TeeChart (http://www.steema.com/products/teechart/net) and was surprised to see that this chart control contained many charting features. Developed by Spain-based Steema Software (http://www.steema.com), the product is available in Lite and Professional editions. The Lite version has fewer features than the Professional edition but is suitable for small projects. The product enables a developer to build applications for ASP.NET but Windows Forms and projects that target .NET Compact Framework.
The vendor provides a fully functional limited trial license that you can use to explore Teechart's features. The Lite edition ships with only the standard chart types, including Line, Bar, Area, Pie, FastLine, Horiz.Area, Horiz.Bar, and Horiz.Line charts. The following screenshot shows the standard chart styles.
The Professional edition includes several advanced 2D and 3D chart types with support for anti-aliasing, gradients, transparency, gauges (as the screenshot below shows), and printing. The control also includes advanced features such as Rotation inertia, DrawLine styles, Line smoothing, and design time data set support.
The product also ships with several mathematical, statistical, and financial-based charts and functions, including a component for SQL Server Reporting Services, which I hope will be useful for those developers who want to develop data-aware chart-enabled web applications. Here's the selection of financial charts that TeeChart includes.
Steema Software has provided support for AJAX, OpenGL, Mapping, and Zooming. You can export charts as picture files in a wide range of extensions and formats (e.g., PNG, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PDF). TeeChart supports Visual Studio, Delphi.NET, Delphi Prism, Borland, SharpDevelop, Mono, and the latest version of Silverlight.
To work with the product, you just need to drag and drop the chart control to the Web Form and set the options using the chart editor (shown below), which can be activated from the Properties window.
Although it's possible to create Windows-based charts without any coding, you have to manually provide the required code for ASP.NET applications. Moreover, developers can store all the temporary charts in one four ways: File, Session, Cache and Httphandler. The control can be extensively customized using the numerous options included in the editor, which I hope will be beneficial for beginners. I found it very easy to create applications using the user-friendly tool. Here's an example of a chart created using the control.
The product ships with comprehensive documentation in the form of step-by-step tutorials with relevant screenshots and source codes. The vendor also provides a detailed API reference that advanced developers should find useful. You can also view a live demo of all the chart types at http://www.steema.net/TeeChartForNET. The TeeChart documentation also includes several sample projects with the corresponding Visual Studio solution files. I'd like to see the vendor provide video tutorials, to help developers more easily learn how to use the product.
The pricing of TeeChart is comparatively higher than that of competitive products. I suggest you check out TeeChart if your next project demands charting functionality and have the budget for the product.