Is Chart Templates a New Disruptive Technology?

A disruptive technology significantly alters the way that businesses operate. And it may force companies to change the way that they approach their business. Here is why has the potential of becoming such a disruptive technology…

There are hundreds of charting product vendors on the market today, with JavaScript libraries like Highcharts, ASP.NET chart controls, BI chart apps like Tableau or Excel. brings these products together and tries to erase the gaps between them in different ways.

Universal Themes

There is a propagation of similar styled themes from one product to another. If someone already picked up a right combination of colors and fonts, why reinventing the wheel? Developers are not artists, and no matter how much time you allocate to build your own theme, it’s better to browse hundreds of styles already designed by chart artists. Also, this makes moving from one charting app to another much easier: from now on, you can take your current styles with you.

Emulated Chart Types

There is emulation of some chart types with the supported features, when not already built in. Whenever a chart type is not exposed as such by a charting product, it is being emulated with the existing features. Bar charts stay side-by-side with overlapping charts, when overlapping charts could be just simple tweaks or hacks of the basic bar charts, to render the bars one beside the other.

New original palette chart types have been introduce to expose metadata. Color palettes and built-in markers are now exposed in a graphical appealing manner, through a column, pie, pyramid, spiral or scatter chart.

Standard sidebar switches

Toggle legend, titles, axes, labels, tooltips etc, with no programming or internal product knowledge required. The advantage of rendering live charts is display options could be changed interactively, from a simple sidebar editor with basic switches. Whenever you toggle some options, you generate new dynamic views for all charts in a template.

Some features are enhanced, in a new original way. The legend may be automatically hidden for single-series charts, in which you may already understand your data from the title and axes titles. Or, when you show way to many series on the same chart, but you want people to select just one or several series, you may opt out to display just the first series, and let the user gradually make visible, from the interactive legend, other series as well.

Solutions to standard problems

There are switches to render edge case test data, empty points, or negative values. You may add additional error handling and code comments. For a very small fee, you get access to the automatically generated code for dozens of chart types, for any dynamic view you create with your sidebar switches.

Some commercial product vendors have been understandably reluctant when their products have been featured side by side with free similar apps. However, they may change this perception in time, because users become aware of the advantages of paying for support, or for a more solid product. No matter how much you may tweak a free product, to look and feel like an expensive one, there are still gaps that make a difference.