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Article Written By:
Johann Dowa

Open Source: Plotting Libraries For Easy Charts Without The Cost

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I have received inquiries quit a few times from visiting developers asking about available open source libraries for creating charts on iOS devices.  It is definitely understandable as many of the commercial charting libraries come with a very hefty up front cost.

While there are quite a few open source libraries that have charting and plotting features that run on iOS here are a few that are designed specifically for this purpose allowing you to draw many different kinds of graphs.

Core-Plot – This is definitely the top recommendation for open source charting libraries on iOS.  You can create many different kinds of charts – line charts, pie charts, bar graphs and even for stock charts like candlestick charts, and bar charts using the built in chart types.

Here’s a screenshot showing an example of a couple of the built in chart types:

You can see examples of some of the chart types supported here.

iOS Plot –  While there probably are too many situations where Core Plot won’t meet your needs – if  you want something different, but want to stick with an Objective-C library this much smaller project from Hon Cheng provides support for line charts, and some very slick looking pie graphs like the one in this screenshot:

If your charting needs still aren’t satisfied at this point there are numerous Javascript libraries available. You can load your chart in a UIWebView – I saw this solution used many times in the earlier days of the app store before Core Plot.  One solution I’ve seen recommended for this is the gRaphael charting library which can definitely be used to create some beautiful graphs.  You may also want to take a look at some of the Javascript charting library link roundups such as this list of 20 Javascript Charting Libraries.

You will be able to create nearly any chart using the libraries mentioned above, but if not you might want to mention your chart ideas in the Core Plot discussion group.  The core plot community has done a great job of providing updates.


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