RGraph: HTML5 canvas graphing library

RGraph: A canvas graph library based on the HTML5 canvas tag

Interactive javascript canvas graphs using the HTML5 canvas tag for all platforms
  First release coming soon! First release coming soon! Download the beta version Download the beta version   Bookmark with delicious Stumble! this site tweet this site
Important compatibility information

This library uses HTML5 features which are implemented in recent browsers. As such you will need to be using one of these latest browsers: Firefox 3.5+, Chrome 2+ or Safari 4+. You can also use the Google Chrome Frame plugin for MSIE.


Introduction to RGraph

RGraph is a HTML5 canvas graph library. It uses features that became available in HTML5 (specifically, the CANVAS tag) to produce a wide variety of graph types: bar chart, bi-polar chart (also known as an age frequency chart), donut chart, funnel chart, gantt chart, horizontal bar chart, LED display, line graph, odometer, pie chart, progress bar, pseudo radar chart, scatter graph and traditional radar chart. RGraph is covered by the RGraph License.

Benefits of HTML5 canvas graphs

HTML5 introduces a new HTML element - the CANVAS tag. This tag allows for two dimensional drawing easily using Javascript. This makes it perfect for producing graphs. Because Javascript runs on your users computer, none of the stress on your server normally associated with producing graphs (as is currently the norm) is incurred. Not only that but because of the greater processing power that is typically available on users' computers, they will appear to be much, much faster. And, because the code can be both compressed (for example if you're using Apache, mod_gzip will do this automatically for you) and cached, bandwidth usage can be massively reduced. This makes it economically attractive to employ, (ie it can save you money...).

Imagine, you are creating 100,000 graphs a day and the data is such that the resulting graphs cannot be cached. With the RGraph library you can reduce that figure to zero. All the processing and graph creation is done by each individual client, much like rendering the HTML you send to them. So you don't have to send any images, you simply send the Javascript libraries once. So, much lower bandwidth bills and far less strain on your webserver.

And if that wasn't enough, because the graphs are created using Javascript, they will work offline if you view a .html page on your own PC. Download the archive and see! Useful if you need to do a presentation for example and want to use the same graph(s) as your website.

Browser support

Since the graphs are produced using HTML5 features (the new canvas tag), client support is currently limited to:

The HTML5 canvas tag is part of the HTML5 specification, and all of the above browsers support it, and it's just a matter of time before MSIE has support.

Canvas & Internet Explorer (MSIE)
Microsoft Internet Explorer doesn't yet have support for the HTML5 canvas tag. Future versions will presumably support it. However, if you can't change your web browser, you can use the Google plug-in Google Chrome Frame.

Improving the performance of your graphs

Although performance is excellent, (traditionally your webserver has been producing all of your graphs, and now the client produces them, and typically only one at a time), you may still want to tune RGraph further. The biggest thing you can do is use compression, which reduces the initial download time of the libraries, but there are a number of things you can do:

Implementing RGraph

Getting RGraph up and running is very easy and consists of three steps. If you're having trouble I suggest you get hold of a copy of Firefox along with Firebug - its Javascript error console will make debugging your issue much easier. Many problems are down to a library not having been included or not using the onload event when you need to. You might also benefit from using the Web Developer toolbar for Firefox. This allows you to easily disable caching, thus eliminating any problems that that causes.

  1. Include the libraries (put this in your documents <HEAD>):
    <script src="RGraph.common.js"></script>
    <script src="RGraph.bar.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for bar graphs --> <script src="RGraph.bipolar.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for bi-polar graphs --> <script src="RGraph.donut.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for donut charts --> <script src="RGraph.funnel.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for funnel charts --> <script src="RGraph.gantt.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for gantt charts --> <script src="RGraph.hbar.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for horizontal bar charts --> <script src="RGraph.led.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for LED charts --> <script src="RGraph.line.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for line graphs --> <script src="RGraph.odo.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for odometers --> <script src="RGraph.pie.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for pie charts AND donut charts --> <script src="RGraph.progress.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for progress bars --> <script src="RGraph.radar.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for radar charts --> <script src="RGraph.scatter.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for scatter graphs --> <script src="RGraph.tradar.js"></script> <!-- Just needed for traditional radar charts -->
  2. Add the canvas tag (put it where you want the graph to appear):
    <canvas id="myCanvas" width="600" height="250">[No canvas support]</canvas>
  3. Create the graph (since it is using the onload event, you can put this anywhere):
        window.onload = function ()
            var data = [280, 45, 133, 166, 84, 259, 266, 960, 219, 311, 67, 89];
            bar = new RGraph.Bar('myCanvas', data);
            bar.Set('chart.labels', ['Jan', 'Feb', 'Mar', 'Apr', 'May', 'Jun', 'Jul', 'Aug', 'Sep', 'Oct', 'Nov', 'Dec']);
            bar.Set('chart.gutter', 35);

There's also a very basic example of using RGraph, that does very little. It can be helpful to illustrate how you can get RGraph up and running.

Suggested structure for RGraph

Suggested structure for RGraph

The suggested layout structure for the RGraph libraries is shown on the right. The www.example.com folder represents the root/top level of your website with the javascript directory beneath that. The css and images folders are shown for illustrative purposes only. If you follow this layout then your URLs to the RGraph libraries would be:


By using this structure you make RGraph easy to update should you need to, and also keep all the RGraph libraries in one, easy to find, place.

Integration with server side scripting

This is a very easy process, as easy as sending content to the browser. All you need to do is make the data variable contain the data you want to be displayed. Eg:

<script src="RGraph.common.js"></script>
<script src="RGraph.line.js"></script>

<canvas id="myCanvasTag" width="600" height="200">[No canvas support]</canvas>

    var data = [78,16,26,23,25,51,34,64,84,84];
    line = new RGraph.Line("myCanvasTag", data);
    line.Set("chart.labels", ["Feb", "Mar", "Apr", "May", "Jun", "Jul", "Aug", "Sep", "Oct", "Nov"]);

To get the above using PHP you could do this:

    $myData = implode(',', array(78,16,26,23,25,51,34,64,84,84));

    print('<script src="RGraph.common.js"></script>' . "\n");
    print('<script src="RGraph.line.js"></script>' . "\n\n");
    print('<canvas id="myCanvasTag" width="600" height="200">[No canvas support]</canvas>' . "\n\n");
    print('<script>' . "\n");
    print('    var data = [' . $myData . '];' . "\n");
    print('    line = new RGraph.Line("myCanvasTag", data);' . "\n");
    print('    line.Set("chart.labels", ["Feb", "Mar", "Apr", "May", "Jun", "Jul", "Aug", "Sep", "Oct", "Nov"]);' . "\n");
    print('    line.Draw();' . "\n");

Strictly speaking the var isn't necessary, however if you put the code inside a function (like window.onload), it's probably best to as using var will make the variable local, and not global. So doing so will help prevent naming clashes.


Google Groups
Subscribe to RGraph support
Visit this group

Support is available via a Google Groups forum. If you think that the issue you have is common, try the issues page first, and then try searching the forum in case your question has been answered previously. If that all yields nothing, post a question to the forum.

If you want to keep abreast of RGraph then you should subscribe too, as I post update notifications here. If you have a feature request you can post them here too.


The latest download is below. It's a .zip file which you will be able to download to your computer and open with Winzip (or equivalent).

[Only available on http://www.rgraph.net]


RGraph is covered by the RGraph license. A summary is that for commercial/business use there is a small one-time licensing fee to pay. For non-commercial purposes it's freely usable. There are some licensing FAQs that should help to answer any questions you might have. If you need one, you can get an invoice here.

If you have any questions about RGraph licensing, you can send your question to: licensing@rgraph.net. If your question is of a support nature though, please use the support forum.

Icons from: http://dryicons.com