Visiblox Charts 2.1 - A Sneak Peek
We get a lot of great feedback from our customers on what
features they would like to see and we try and use that feedback to
inform our product roadmap. In the months since the last release
the product team have been beavering away in the back room
preparing a new release with some really exciting new features, so
I thought it might be a nice idea to give you an idea of what's in
The main focus areas for this release have been implementing a
number of features our customers have been asking for and working
on the visuals of Visiblox Charts.
Visiblox Charts will be adding a few new features and addressing
a couple gaps in existing features. Here's a quick-fire look at the
new features that are coming.
We've been getting emails from people asking "How do I render
gaps in my line" or "I'd like the line to change colour when it
goes above a threshold". Previously that would have required using
multiple LineSeries or building a new series of your own. No more!
Enter the DiscontinuousLineSeries which allows placement of gaps or
alternate styles in a line. This will allow you to interrupt the
line, either with gaps or with a different style to do things like
Often it's useful to show actual numbers as well as the visual
representation of a data point on a chart. This can easily be done
by placing a label next to the data point, displaying it's "value".
A number of the Visiblox Charts series types now provide support
for data labels to do this, including line, column and bar
Better MVVM Support
Visiblox Charts has had pretty good support for MVVM since
release 2.0 which added the AutoSeriesGenerator class for binding a
view model directly to the chart. In the next release one of the
key remaining issues will be resolved, which is that the
BindableDataSeries' ItemSource property will become a bindable
property and will inherit the chart's DataContext. This will make
using Visiblox Charts in an MVVM context that much more
straightforward and will make using data templates easier as well.
This has been a much sought after feature so we're delighted to be
able to address this shortcoming.
In some scenarios it is desirable to produce charts in which the
axes are rendered such that the minimum and maximum values are
reversed. This is especially true of things like strip charts in an
oil drilling context where you're plotting depth on a vertical
chart. Visiblox Charts is getting a ReversedAxis property which
will let axes render in the reverse direction rather than having to
implement custom axes for this purpose in future.
Cycling Bar/Column Series
The normal Visiblox Charts Bar- or ColumnSeries renders each bar
with the same colour. That makes a lot of sense if you're going to
put more than one series on the same chart. If you only have a
single series though, sometimes it's actually nicer to have each
bar be a different colour. The new StylingMode property on Bar and
ColumnSeries does exactly that. If you set that to "per point" it
will render each point in a different colour, in the sequence
defined by the chart's Palette.
Visiblox Charts has historically not focused on "looking nice".
We've been working on producing the fastest and most flexible
charts out there. While it has always been possible to produce some
really nice looking charts with Visiblox Charts, it hasn't always
been as easy as it should be. Clearly, the "prettiness" of a chart
is not necessarily the priority. Data visualisation is about
displaying the data in a way the reader can understand and should
do so in a manner that focuses on the data, not the looks. There is
a reasonable argument to be made, however, that the first obstacle
is getting the reader to look at the data at all, and pretty charts
can sometimes help with that! In this release we've been working on
making it possible to create prettier charts more easily.
The core feature addition to support the refresh on the visuals
has been to implement support for Themes. It is now easy to switch
all of the chart's visual properties from one theme to another,
just by wrapping it in a theme control. For example, take a look at
the following charts. It's the same chart, just three different
We'll be hoping to make a couple of different themes available
with the release to suit different needs.
In parallel to improving the visuals of the chart we wanted to
make it easier to control those visuals so with the next release of
Visiblox Charts we are introducing support for Expression Blend in
the premium edition. This should help make it easier for people to
play with the look of the charts.
While it was generally possible to make Visiblox Charts look
pretty good before, there were a couple of features that people
wanted that couldn't be achieved. Most notably these are support
for bevels and rounded corners on bar and column charts, so those
have now been added. We've also added bevels to the pie charts to
give them a slightly raised effect.
The Palette concept in Visiblox Charts is very powerful and
extremely useful, but it has always been quite hard work (not to
mention confusing) to define a palette from scratch. The new
SimplePalette is an extension of that palette concept which makes
it easier to do simple things with palettes. Most notably it is now
possible to just take the existing Visiblox palette and simply
define your own colours, without having to go to all the trouble of
redefining the whole palette. Don't worry though, all the old
palettes will still work just as they did before, so any effort
you've made to create your own palette is not lost!
As ever we'll also be including a number of fixes for reported
issues, performance improvements and memory improvements as
That concludes our sneak peek at Visiblox Charts 2.1. I hope
you're looking forward to the release as much as I am, but as ever
we'd love to hear your feedback and find out what you think, so get in touch and let us know!