I have been looking into making the Servlet work in other ways. The biggest challenge (without giving too much away), has been the method to use to do this, without compromising the code that already exists. The nice thing is that the way JWebChart is coded gives me some flexibility.For a long time JWebChart was the only charting servlet that I had found that was Open Source and worked in the way that it does. It appears that now there is a new kid on the block in the form of Google Charts API. This has got to be a good thing in my eyes - the Google Chart API works on the principle that you web pages online will access the Google services (of which I am a great fan). More people will start to think of charting on their webpages in this way and will want something on their internal networks to perform in a similar way.
So do I take the view that the Google command set is one that I should copy and replace my own with: Well no, although I am not aposed to adding it in the future should it seem relevant. The Google approach is very similar to mine and as such is no better or worse. It seems pointless to replace the URL passing commands to support their command set when I feel that this code is very much its own thing and could already have people utilising it on their intranets, extranets, etc. 542 downloads must count for something.
The biggest challenge (without giving too much away), has been the method to use to do this, without compromising the code that already exists. The nice thing is that the way JWebChart is coded gives me some flexibility.
I have also been considering the generation of charts from XML files. JFreeChart only has the two XML feeds, but they are fairly simple to code and I could easily add more. The question is: "Is there any demand for this?" I have just opened up the forum/mailing list on the sourceforge site so it is something I would like to understand. Have the 230 downloads amounted to anything? Do you all look at this and think - great, but it could do with..... or do you all download this and go: "Not for me" and throw it in the Recycle Bin?
The next release is in design/development. I am working on another big change to the functionality that
once complete I am going to be pretty happy with. Keep coming back to see where I have got to with it.
I have now made the leap from JDK 1.4 to JDK 5.0. This has been a simple process with the exception of the generics around the HashMap object supplied by the Servlet APIs. There is currently a warning on the request.getParameterMap(), but this does not stop the compile with 5.0. I have also migrated my test environment off Tomcat 5.0 to Tomcat 5.5. All seems to be good in the world so far.
I have now moved the supported JFreeChart library to the latest 1.0.6 version. This required no modification to my code and now allows me to look at supporting a greater range of meter charts in the experimental packages. Additional chart types will come later unless I get a specific request for a new chart type.
I am currently working on support for datasets via XML. The Pie dataset can now be fed with an XML file and I should also have a version of the CategoryDataset via XML shortly. XYDataset XML feeds are not currently supported in the JFreeChart 1.0.6 library, but looking at the source code I don't think that this will be too hard to implement, so I will have a go at that.