InfoQ: Intro to Google Charts and gchartrb

June 6, 2008

Matthew Bass has written a nice introduction to the [dead simple] Google Charts API and to gchatrb, a Ruby interface to the API developed by Deepak Jois. (The article links to an older Google code repository. The latest version is at the github link provided here.)

Constructing the URLs for Google Charts is pretty simple, and gchartrb and its Python counterpart are almost as verbose, but it’s obviously easier to integrate the wrappers into a program’s flow.

I like Bass’ idea of using a Capistrano task to update the image, rather than rendering it from Google every time. He is a little harsh, though, on “the medieval monster which is ImageMagick.” I like ImageMagick. I’m awful with anything related to design, images, and the visual arts; but I often find myself lost in the (wrongly placed) ImageMagick docs trying out all sorts of esoteric combinations to do some stupid trick or the other. It may be one of the worst tools to have to get work out of, but in the end it does a pretty nifty (and usually not-quite-what-was-expected) job. If ImageMagick is a medieval monster, it’s Herbert the Timid Dragon:

Herbert the Timid Dragon

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