Highcharts Usage Survey

Hi all!

We’ve been using Highcharts for the past few years to do onboard and offboard data visualization. I had recently started a correspondence with their Marketing Department about how we used it, and if FRC used it in general.

I’m not sure of any usage beyond our team walls, but figured I’d ask here if anyone was familiar with it or used it currently/in the past. If so, do you mind if I mention your team to their Marketing Department?

I’ve investigated it as part of my job.

I found their licensing to be a bit of a pain for our uses. (Non profit producing open source code officially for the government use, it’s confusing) It also conflicted with our licensing and, all told, ended up being too much of a hassle to use. At the end of the day it was simpler for us to roll our own charting solution that met our needs than to spend the time chasing down the proper legal people to get things sorted. [1]

I’ve found the process of build a chart using D3/React to be a useful process to teach students because they have to start asking important questions about data visualization. Most importantly - What are you trying to see. Then teach them about how to encode data in various (position, color, shape). Then you get to talk about accessibility and how you can use motion to emphasize things… basically it’s a great learning exercise.

Obviously, you CAN pass this along to their marketing department but I don’t think it will have the desired result soooo…

[1] This is not uncommon, we have similar issues with things like SNOMED licensing.

From a quick glance at their website, it seem like Highcharts does similar stuff to Tableau, an FRC sponsor. If that’s the case, I think it’s probably going to be a hard sell considering gives easily accessible free licenses to any student (just scan proof that you’re a student and they send you an email with the license number). Highcharts seems to be easier to embed in a website, but I imagine that’s not really a big factor for FRC teams.

We’ve used Highcharts pretty extensively for FRC projects over the last couple of years, it’s our go-to library for web charts.

Things we’ve used Highcharts in recently:

  • Time clock for tracking student hours
  • Robot battery charge monitoring
  • Robot ‘Dashboard’ for showing sensor ouput
  • PID Tuning app that lets us zoom in on time-based data (Highstock)
  • A couple of iterations of scouting apps
  • Mapping team locations (Highmaps)
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Yah, it’s similar to Tableau at least in terms of visualization, and yes, it’s 100% targeted for web-based applications. We happen to use it for projects that are designed to be viewed through a web browser.

As far as licensing, I (hope) there’s no need for it since we are already using it. I am assuming since we’re not-for-profit we fall under allowable usage. My hope wasn’t really to set up a new sponsor, just let them know what we were already using their stuff for.

Ha, yah, no I hear ya, that’s a funky one. Thanks for the feedback!

Awesome, thanks!