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My top 4 flash charting tools

Flash charting software is a tool for easy creating and publishing charts in flash.

As I often need to create dynamic flash charts and publish them to Web, I’ve tried almost every flash chart maker I’ve come across. And now I want to offer you reviews of four of my favorite softwares for creating animated flash graphs.

I won’t grade their features. Also, I won’t say what charting program is better or worse. I just want you to know what I like or don’t like about each of  these programs for flash graphing so that you can make your choice easier.

# 1 is Animated Chart

A powerful tool for creating static or dynamic flash charts.

What’s great:

· Every chart element can be modified directly from the main program window: there are menus for choosing element, customizing it, editing data source. These menus are always active but they aren’t interfering with the perception of chart preview. If it’s easier for you to modify chart using toolbar, you can close the menus to see only the chart preview stretched to the size of the program window

· Chart type can be changed easily on every stage of chart making

· Each item is fully customizable

· Intuitive GUI

· The value of each column appears when the user moves the mouse over the column

· Source data can be imported directly from text or data files or entered manually

· Chart can be saved as image, SWF, HTML or Projector file

· Data can be exported to CLV or XML

What’s especial:

· Radar chart type

What can be better:

· When choosing preset color scheme to load, you can’t see its preview and can only guess what scheme it is

#2 is rChart

Tool for easy and rapid creation of nice-looking flash graphs and charts.

What’s great:

· Plenty of ready-to-use chart styles and ability to customize these styles to your liking

· Chart type can be changed on every stage of chart making

· Data can be imported from any ODBC data source, from a text file, from Windows clipboard, and from .fcd files

· Chart properties sheet allows to adjust any chart item directly in the main program window

· Chart can be saved as an image file, SWF, HTML

· Chart can be added to PowerPoint slide directly from the program

What’s especial:

· You can import audio to add background sound of voice explanations

· You can assign URL to your chart elements to generate web content easily

What can be better:

· In horizontal bar charts, 3D effect makes bars look as if they begin at -1 point instead of 0 point

#3 is AmiChart

User friendly and easy to use charting software.

What’s great:

· Wizard-based interface are the friendliest for novices in chart making

· Each chart style is fully customizable

· Source data can be imported from text or data files, copy-pasted from spreadsheets or entered by hand

· The value of each column appears when the user moves the mouse over the column

· Chart can be saved as SWF and HTML

What’s especial:

· You can preview your chart in a browser

What can be better:

· The number of available chart types is miserable in comparison with other graphing programs – line, bar and pie charts

· Chart can’t be saved as an image file

#4 is Swiff Chart

Smart design tool for creating charts in flash.

What’s great:

· A huge collection of available chart styles which are easy customizable

· Chart type can be changed on every stage of chart making

· Intuitive and friendly GUI

· Source data can be imported from text or Excel files or typed manually

· Chart can be saved as a Flash movie or as an image

What’s especial:

· A nifty combination of step-by-step chart making and handy menus on the main window’s size

· Chart can be previewed in a browser on every stage of chart creation

What can be better:

· Chart can’t be saved as a HTML file

So, choose what you like the most, visualize your data with one of these great flash charting softwares and publish your swf chart to make your website more attractive and eye catching.

Happy chart making! 🙂

November 7, 2008 Posted by | Charts and Graphs, Flash, Software, web design | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Top flash elements of web design for attracting visitors to your website

Flash is a very powerful tool for adding animation and interactivities to any website or blog. My overview will help you to understand what types of flash content can help you to make your website more informative and presentative. Also I’ve reviewed some great tools for creating flash content you may need.

Flash Animation and Effects

Text animations, interactivities and actions, animated menus and buttons, flash introductions, navigation bars, news tickers – that’s not a full list of what you can add to your web page using Flash technology. Of course, the main purpose of using flash animation is to attract visitors. Not to get an inverse effect, don’t over saturate you web pages with flash graphics. It must be used for highlighting key elements of your web page, not to turn the whole page into blinking and moving pictures which distract visitors’ attention from the information they’re looking for.

Tools that can help you add flash animation to your website:

Flash Media Players

Flash technology enables you to embed both audio and video into your website. The advantages of using flash sound or video players are obvious – your visitor can have an enjoyable experience of listening to the music or watching a video clip. Also, it’s a great way for you to give them audio and video information for better promotion of your products or services. So, streaming website flash players are a great idea both for entertaining and informational sites. Flash media player can also be used for embedding still images into web pages. Nevertheless, I believe that it’s not the best way for representing a series of still images. It can be represented better as a flash slideshow (see the next paragraph).

Tools that can help you add audio or video to your website:

  • MC Media Player – a Flash-based media player for embedding video, audio and still images in web pages.
  • Flash WAmp – transforms any original Winamp skin to Flash-based web music player.
  • Wimpy streaming media tools – make it easy to present and manage streaming audio and video.
  • Fun SoundPlayer Maker – easy-to-use fully skinnable flash sound player for mp3 or radio streaming.

Flash Slideshows

Flash slideshow is a series of still images on the Web delivered one after another either automatically or manually. Flash slideshow is a popular technique of web-design because it lets user to view a series of images without opening other web pages. Up-to-date slideshow creators enable you to complete a slideshow with sound, text, transition and animation effects, preloader and navigation buttons. Slideshow in flash can be used for both artistic and informational purposes.

Tools that can help you add flash slideshows to your website:

  • FlashSlider – tool for easy creating and sharing flash slideshows with photos, transition effects and music.
  • Wondershare Flash Slideshow Builder – powerful flash slideshow software for making flash photo galleries and flash slideshows of your photos.
  • IncrediShow – software to help you turn your digital photos into flash photo slideshow.

Flash Charts and Graphs

Charts are comprehended by the average reader over 80 times faster than data. That’s why flash graphs and charts are widely used for web design to substitute high amount of monotonous written data. Bright animated flash chart not only helps comprehend data faster but also is an attractive element of web page design. Depending on what data you want to represent, you can choose either usual animated or static chart with embedded data or real time web-chart with dynamic data.

Tools that can help you add flash graphs and charts to your website:

  • Animated Chart – a Flash charting software which generates animated charts as movies in Adobe (Macromedia) FlashTM format for publishing them to websites.
  • FusionCharts – a flash charting component that can be used to render data-driven & animated charts for your web applications and presentations.
  • Swiff Chart – Swiff Chart lets you create eye catching animated charts in Adobe FlashTM format.

October 21, 2008 Posted by | Flash, Software, web design | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments