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Building Executive Dashboards with Google Chart : Page 5

Implement dynamic, entirely browser-based executive dashboards with the freely available Google Chart API graphing library.


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Final Words on Google Chart API
Google Chart looks great and works very well. However, there are a couple of caveats about its use.
  1. Google Chart is officially restricted to 50,000 uses a day, which limits the scalability of the intended application. In the case of an executive dashboard, this restriction is likely acceptable, as these types of applications are not accessed as frequently, but for heavily visited applications it will be critically limiting.
  2. Security could be a concern when sending data with labels to Google and getting the images back. Given that this is a public web service and that data is exchanged with a public company, one should carefully consider the intended use for these services.

Despite these considerations, this API is a great choice for web applications that require dynamic charting. A number of applications—beyond executive dashboards—could be greatly enhanced with Google Chart. Some examples include:

  • Applications in the open source or open information domains (e.g., charting project downloads, bugs, etc.)
  • Results of surveys
  • Research and development (R&D) applications
  • Scientific applications (medicine, climatology, etc.)
  • Demos

Next Steps and Resources
For further exploration of the theory and practice of visualizing numerical information and building effective executive dashboards, read the definitive source on business charting and executive dashboards Information Dashboard Design by Stephen Few. The information about practical, web-based charting implementations presented in this article together with the pragmatic principles and best practices presented in Few's book should help you deliver complete web-charting solutions.





Edmon Begoli a software architect with 14 years of professional experience on large commercial and federal software projects. He is a member of the R&D staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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