A lot of communication aspects in modern day business rely a lot on visual presentations. With the advent of big data or for that matter, simple profiling of numbers, there's huge importance laid down on statistical charts and graphs. Usually you would end up using tools such as Powerpoint, Excel or SPSS, and rely on them to generate great charts for your reference.
However, considering that a lot of data is Web-based, you won't be able to create graphs or charts on the Web easily. At least not dynamically, without using a charts library.
CanvasJS is one such product by a Bangalore-based startup called Fenopix to help you do exactly that.
It addresses two problems:
- Flash and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)-based charts are difficult to code and coding on these platforms is tough.
- Also, Flash doesn't render on all devices, SVG works with most but has performance issues on smaller devices.
Sunil Urs, Founder of Fenopix shared more details about the product with ZDNet.
ZDNet: What prompted you to come up CanvasJS?
Urs: "Last year I realized that many of the analytic dashboards were still dependent on Flash for their charting requirement while all major browsers already supported HTML5 Canvas. Given that Flash doesn't run on most mobile devices, Canvas seemed like an obvious choice for me. When I did my research on existing HTML5 Charting libraries, I found out that most of them were not interactive or poorly designed, while HTML5 Canvas was capable enough to replace Flash in charting. So I took this opportunity to build one."
What basic problem does CanvasJS solve? Who is your target audience?
Smartphones and tablets are mainstream devices these days and people expect Web applications to be compatible with them. As such, cases where you have to build dashboards in your application, Flash is not an option--as it is not supported by most mobile devices. This is where CanvasJS can be helpful. It is built on HTML5 Canvas element and hence runs across all modern devices.
Target audience are mostly analytic companies and other enterprises who have charting requirements. As of now most of our users are from North America, Western Europe and South Asia.
What differentiates CanvasJS from the competition?
Our main competitors are HighCharts and FusionCharts. One of our differentiating factors is that CanvasJS is very simple to use and has over 10 times better performance than most Flash and SVG-based solutions. Good performance is especially advantageous on smartphones and tablets that are normally not as powerful as desktops.
What's the design philosophy behind your product?
Main focus in CanvasJS has always been on keeping the API simple without compromising on the functionality or performance. Having been a developer myself, I think the most important factor that developers consider while evaluating options is the ease of use--how quickly can I get started & how easy is it to customize.
What feedback do you receive from your users and how do you implement it?
As of now the user reaction has been positive. Whenever I ask a customer why they chose CanvasJS over competitors, the answer has been mostly the ease of use or performance. We do have some rough edges, but we try to fix them as soon as it gets reported. Once the issue is fixed, users are given an internal build rightaway so that they don't have to wait until the next release. There have been cases when a user requested feature got implemented the very same day.
Any new features and addition that you are coming up with in the product?
Soon I am planning to release version 1.2 beta which supports localization--this has been a major improvement. Version 1.2 onwards users will be able to customize UI elements to be displayed in their own language. There are several other element like for example not every country follows the same number formatting style. For example "1.25" in India is "1,25" in many European countries. Upcoming version allows users to customize these features.
How is your startup funded? What are your plans in terms of scaling the product?
Fenopix is fully bootstrapped. As of now the user reaction has been great and I think I should have proper idea on scaling in another 3-4 months.
What kind of pricing do you offer, what's your revenue model like?
CanvasJS is free for non-commercial use and paid for commercial purposes. Licensing is straightforward (per developer) and ranges between US$299 to US$2,999. Students, educational institutions and non-profits can use it for free.
This is certainly something that's interesting in terms of creating great visual data. How many of you have tried it out yet? What's your experience like?