Google’s Visualization API is impressive and very easy to use. Okay, it’s closed source and must be served from Google’s servers, but if you’re happy using say, Google Spreadsheets, that’s unlikely to concern you.
The Guardian’s Miso Project, might one day provide us with a truly open visualisation alternative, so worth keeping an eye on it.
If you’ve not seen Google Charts in action do check out their “playground” and also, this Building Interactive Dashboards video, demonstrating some of the newer, and even easier to use, controls.
Utilising Google Charts API could be an alternative method of publishing PowerPivot generated datasets when the option to use SharePoint is not available (or perhaps not affordable).
One way to do this would be to publish “tabular reports” to a Google Docs account using a “steam-powered server” approach. This actually could be a very powerful method of disseminating PowerPivot generated reports, particularly if mobile devices are the target (most Google Charts are now HTML5 enabled); and I’ll come back to this in a future post.
But, Google Charts can consume data from any server, and can do so very easily if that server implements its Data Source Protocol. So, as a POC I’ve added such a server protocol to my InProcess-oData server example. The new end-point is /tq and like the /range endpoint expects to be followed by a valid range pointing at a table. See the example index.html file (no need for a server just open in browser, having first started the InProcess-oData server on port 8081).
The protocol is not fully implemented (only supports JSONP, and only supports one request-at-a-time from any client), but it gives a flavour of what’s possible. To use this you’ll need to download the latest version of HAMMER.