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The ability to display data in a chart or graph can make data interpretation much easier for Flex application users. Rather than present a simple table of numeric data, you can display a bar, pie, line, or other type of chart using colors, captions, and a two-dimensional representation of your data.

Data visualization lets you present data in a way that simplifies data interpretation and data relationships. Charting is one type of data visualization in which you create two-dimensional representations of your data. Flex supports some of the most common types of two-dimensional charts, such as bar, column, and pie charts, and provides you with a great deal of control over the appearance of the charts.

The chart controls all take a dataProvider property that defines the data for the chart. A data provider is a collection of objects, similar to an array. The chart components use a flat, or list-based, data provider, similar to a one-dimensional array.

A data provider consists of two parts: a collection of data objects and an API. The data provider API is a set of methods and properties that a class must implement so that a Flex component recognizes it as a data provider.

The data provider creates a level of abstraction between Flex components and the data that you use to populate them. You can populate multiple components from the same data provider, switch data providers for a component at runtime, and modify the data provider so that changes are reflected by all components that use the data provider.

Chart types

Flex supports many of the most common types of charts, including bar charts, line charts, pie charts, and others. This section describes the set of charts supplied with Flex. In addition to these chart types, you can also extend the CartesianChart control to create custom charts.

  • Area charts

  • Bar charts

  • Bubble charts

  • Candlestick charts

  • Column charts

  • HighLowOpenClose charts

  • Line charts

  • Pie charts

  • Plot charts

Area charts

You use the AreaChart control to represent data as an area bounded by a line connecting the values in the data. The area underneath the line is filled in with a color or pattern. You can use an icon or symbol to represent each data point along the line, or show a simple line without icons.

The following figure shows an example of an area chart:

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