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Google's new Chart API spiffs up your web pages

Google has released an easy to use API that creates charts and lets you very easily imbed them in your web pages. For example, here's a chart that shows recent browser usage for visitors to this site:

Chart of browser usage

The code that produces that is as easy as you could want: I simply put "http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=p3&chd=t:45.8,38.7,15.5&chs=270x100&chl=Firefox|IE|All%20Others" inside an <img> tag.

I first got wind of this from a post at Technometria, by the way. Good site, worth a visit. I could have made it a line chart just by changing the "cht=p3" to "cht="lc":

Chart of browser usage

Fantastic stuff, and pretty easy to use. However, I ran into trouble when I wanted to make a bar chart. Let's try it:

Chart of browser usage

Ugh. That's kind of cramped. How do we spread it out? Maybe it just needs more room, let's try making it wider:

Chart of browser usage

No, that didn't do it. We need to add a new parameter: "chbh=40,20". That says the bars are 40 pixels wide, with 20 pixels between them.

Chart of browser usage

There, that's better. The data provided in these examples has to be in the range of 0 to 100 (and -1 for missing data), but Google provides two other ways to encode larger values and even a little bit of Javascript so that you don't have to do the encoding yourself. Take a look at the Developer's Guide page for all the details.

Note the usage policy:

Use of the Google Chart API is subject to a query limit of 50,000
queries per user per day.

That's certainly well within my parameters..

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