What's New in v6
Charting Capabilities - Unrivaled Usability
Charting capabilities were first introduced in the ExpressQuantumGrid v 5.5. In that version, you could only build non-interactive bar or column charts. With v6, we've provided you with additional chart types and made it possible to create dynamic charts so that end-users can easily analyze large data sets.
New Chart Types
The ExpressQuantumGrid v6 adds three new data presentation formats to the Chart View - Line, Pie and Area charts. Regardless of your data source, you can freely switch among all available chart types (five in total) using the ActiveDiagram property. Note that the Chart View exposes a number of properties each corresponding to a particular chart type. Once you select a chart type, the View's appearance and behavior is controlled by the appropriate property. For instance, if you use Pie chart presentation, use the DiagramPie property for customization.
Below is a brief description for each new chart type.
Key features include the following:
- Optional markers in each point;
- Customizable marker shape and size;
- Optional labels displaying values in each line point;
- Customizable line style and width.
This chart type's key features are the same as in the Line chart. Additionally, you can display stacked or 100% stacked area charts. For instance, the image above demonstrates a stacked chart.
Note: Line charts also support stacked and 100% stacked layouts, though you will rarely need to use stacking with line charts.
Key features of this chart type include the following:
- Each series produces an individual pie chart with optional borderlines and a caption;
- Customizable number of columns pies to be displayed horizontally;
- Pie slice labels can be made up from a combination of values. You can add series, category, and percentage values as consistent elements;
- Customizable angle at which the first pie slice is drawn.
A More Flexible Way to Analyze Data – Data Groups and Drill Down
Data analysis tasks often require that you view the same data at different levels of detail. For instance, you may wish to view payment amounts for each individual purchase or you may be only interested in which product brand sold the most.
In ExpressQuantumGrid v6, you can easily accomplish these types of data mining operations. We have implemented a feature that has much in common with group summaries in Table Views. You can specify a field whose values will be used to group data. The chart will display values calculated against each group instead of each individual value.
You definitely know that in Table Views you may have as many grouping columns as you need. This allows you to build a hierarchical view - break down general groups into more specific ones. The same can be done with Chart Views - you can have as many data groups as you require. End-users will initially see the most generalized data view. They can then click any group they are interested in to drill down to a more detailed view - the next level of grouping. They can also right-click a view to go back one step back (to a more generalized view).
To see how close this approach is to data groups within Table Views, take a look at the next animation. It demonstrates how to perform the same data analysis within a Table View.
To group data in a Chart View, you need to set up and arrange a collection of specially designed objects - data groups. To add new data groups, you can simply click the appropriate item from the control's context menu. To take full control over data group collection, use the grid's designer dialog.
Data grouping and drill-down functionality are most appropriate for Bar, Column and Pie views. In these views, graphs represent discrete values - each individual value is represented by a separate bar or pie slice. This makes it easy to drill down, since you clearly see where you can click to show details. Line and Area views, however, are designed for continuous representation, which makes it difficult to locate individual values that comprise the graph. Thus, you will most likely not use data drilling functionality with these view types – though the QuantumGrid will allow you to do so if you wish.
End-User Chart Customization Capabilities
The ExpressQuantumGrid v6 extends Chart Views with a Toolbox - a new element that allows straightforward end-user chart customization. This element's availability, position and behavior are controlled by the view's ToolBox property.
As you see, the Toolbox is comprised of three main parts:
- Data Level Navigator
This element allows you to navigate between data levels - drill down or return back to a more generalized view. It also clearly indicates what data is currently displayed on-screen.
End-users are never limited to the Data Level order created at design-time. They can easily reorder Data Levels using drag and drop. They can also temporarily hide data groups using the Customization form described below.
- Chart Customization Button
End-users can click this button to display the Customization window which includes three tabbed pages. These pages allow you to select which series to display, select which data groups to use and, finally, to customize the appearance settings of the current diagram.
- Diagram Type Selector
This element displays the icon and text that indicate the currently used diagram type. End-users can click this element to change the diagram type by choosing the appropriate item from the dropdown list.
Since end-users are now free to customize charts, you may need to save and restore chart states. Thus, you can provide chart state persistence between application runs or allow end-users to apply predefined chart layouts. For this purpose, use the StoreTo... and RestoreFrom... methods available in Chart Views.
Paging - Category Scrolling
Previously, the Chart View arranged all available arguments within the view. Thus, if there were too many values on the category axis, the chart could become difficult to read. To solve this problem, the ExpressQuantumGrid v6 allows you to manually specify how many values to display on the category axis simultaneously. If the actual number of values exceeds the specified limit, you can use the horizontal scrollbar to view the entire chart (or vertical scrollbar if you use a Bar diagram whose category axis is vertical).
Customizable Value Axis Display Range
In addition to zero-based value axes, version 6 allows you to restrict the display range of value axes based upon plotted chart values, and also provide arbitrary upper/lower axis limits.