Free Flash charts and graphs (PHP charts)

Free PHP Flash charts FAQ: What do you know about Flash charts (Flash charts and graphs tools that can be used in PHP applications), especially free Flash charting and graphing tools (or interactive charts and graphs)?

As I keep digging into free PHP charts and graphs tools, I've found that several of these tools special in "Flash charts", typically interactive Flash charts. Here's a quick review of what I've learned about these Flash charts.

Free PHP Flash charts and graphs tools (Open Source)

Open Flash Chart Project

The Open Flash Chart Project is available under the LGPL License, and creates very nice looking Flash charts and graphs. The Open Flash Chart Project comes in two different versions that fulfill two different needs. Version 1 seems to fill the earlier Flash charts need, while Version 2 now uses a JSON data format, and all the source is written in ActionScript 3, and compiled with Adobe Flex. If you're looking for a nice looking, interactive Flash charts tool for use in PHP and other web application languages, the Open Flash Chart Project looks really, really nice.

Interactive charts and graphs

Google Chart Tools and Image Charts (Chart API).

If you think you want Flash charts and graphs, but what you really want are interactive charts and graphs, I encourage you to check out the Google Chart Tools and Image Charts (Chart API). This Google URL helps you choose between their standard Image Charts and their Interactive Charts (the Google Visualization API). Both of these interactive charting tools can be accessed from your PHP scripts, and they are free, which is a very nice price. As I mentioned in my earlier Free PHP charts and graphs article, this is really a wonderful, free web service from Google.

Commercial PHP Flash charts and graphs tools

After the Open Flash Charts Project, you quickly enter the world of commercial PHP Flash charts tools, and the prices can be a little steep, especially for a small company.

FusionCharts Free - Flash Charting Component

If you don't mind paying for a Flash charts tool, FusionCharts charts and graphs look very nice. They also offer a free version for up to 22 charts and gauges, though this free version also has some limitations compared to their commercial version. See this comparison page for more details. After that, FusionCharts pricing starts at more than $1,000.

FusionCharts creates charts using Flash and JavaScript, and works with XML and JSON data. FusionCharts can create bar charts, line charts, pie charts, stacked bar charts, gauge charts, and many other chart and graph types. If you don't mind the price tag, FusionCharts seems to generate very good-looking PHP charts and graphs.

XML/SWF Charts

XML/SWF charts is another semi-free PHP charting and graphing tool. You can download and use an unregistered version, but if your users click your PHP charts, they'll be taken to the XML/SWF website. There are a few other restrictions as well; please see their website for more information. Licenses are available for $49 and $599. Like PHPGraphLib, this charting tool doesn't look nearly as nice as the JpGraph or FusionCharts charting tools.

PHP Flash charts and graphs tools

I hope this short collection of PHP Flash charts and graphs tools has been helpful. Personally, I try to use open source software as much as possible, and the Open Flash Chart Project looks very nice, and I recommend evaluating it first. That being said, if money is no object, the FusionCharts Flash charts software also looks very nice. Finally, the XML/SWF Charts project is also available, but frankly, at the moment, I don't know why you would choose that project over the Open Flash Chart Project, which is free, and seems to generate even nicer looking Flash graphs and charts.

Finally, if you're not looking for Flash charting and graphing tools, but are looking for PHP charting and graphing tools that generate static images, check out my companion Free PHP charts and graphs article.