Highcharts 6 (and its siblings Highstock and Highmaps) is out, offering web and mobile developers an expanded collection of charts, client-side analytics, annotations, and a massive performance boost.
Highcharts 5 represented a major upgrade, when it was released a year ago. With version 6, our growing engineering team has churned out yet a monumental release, building on, and extending past improvements.
Vast, expanding chart collection
Highcharts 6 boasts 15 new series types, which are available to Highstock customers as well. By popular request these include: Sankey diagram, Stream graph, Sunburst, Variwide Charts, Parallel coordinates, Variable radius pie, Vector plot, Wind-barbs, X-range, and more. Additional chart types, including Venn diagram and Marimekko charts, will be released over the next few months.
Annotations are standard, legacy support is optional
We have further streamlined our codebase by separating support for Internet Explorer 6 through 8 into an optional module. Modern appointments, such as our redesigned annotations module, is now part of the Highcharts and Highstock core. With annotations, developers may describe charts or data points by drawing simple shapes and text anywhere on the canvas or tethered to specific data points. It is also straightforward to extend the module with new annotation types and capabilities.
Our unique approach to responsive design continues with the addition of responsive series labels, which positions annotations next to the data they are describing. It uses an advanced algorithm to find the most legible label position, giving the chart an organic feel as if a designer placed the annotations.
New Boost Module
Big data analytics call for modern approaches to dealing with large datasets in the browser. To this end we have rewrittenour Boost module to render a million points in a record half-a-second for supported chart types, which include line series, scatter, bubble, column, bar, treemap, heatmap, and area. The boost module works in tandem with the standard SVG renderer, so that when zooming in, the SVG renderer takes over when it makes sense for it to do so.
nvas to WebGL, thereby leveraging GPU acceleration when available. A typical modern computer.
Maintaining accessibility leadership
In partnership with browser manufacturers, publishers, academia, and accessibility trade groups, our leading approach to accessible SVG has continued to evolve. The Highcharts Accessibility module enables users of screen reader technologies to explore charts via intuitive keyboard navigation, with data and labels vocalized via voice synthesis. The module also auto-generates an information-region with key statistics and information about the chart, allowing visually impaired users to better understand the nature and scope of the data. Chart creators may also customize descriptions for specific chart elements.
Additional enhancements to Highstock and Highmaps
Highstock is getting a significant capability upgrade with the introduction of client side analytics, making it easy to create browser-based financial data visualization applications with less work. Out of the box, 20 popular technical indicators are supported, including SMA, MACD, CCI, RSI, Stochastic, Bollinger Bands, Pivot Points, PSAR, and Ichimoku Kinko Hyo. Developers may create their own custom indicators with minimal effort.
Numerous usability enhancements have been made, such as the ability to manipulate the panes’ proportions inside a chart by simple drag-and-drop. We have extended the functionality of the navigator, improved placement options for the range selector, as well as implemented unlimited panning capabilities. Also included is support for overscroll, which lets you add space between your last point and the chart boundary, a useful feature for when you have real-time data that auto-updates. Highstock also includes the aforementioned annotations module.
Highmaps sports the new Tilemap chart type, where maps are “pixelated” by hexagon, circle, square or diamond shapes. A Tilemap lets the chart creator represent things like city, state or country in uniformly sized “tiles”. Equalizing the relative size difference between geographical regions allows for easier navigational access to smaller geographical areas, whilst removing visual bias of proportionally sized regions. This new chat type is complemented with a WYSIWYG Tilemap generator application, which allows developers to transform maps from the Highmaps collection into custom Tilemaps. You may also generate custom Tileshapes and Tilemaps manually, as exemplified here.
Finally, Highcharts 6 is compatible with the free Highcharts Editor, which allows developers to add WYSIWYG chart creation capabilities to their applications with just a few lines of code.