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Highcharts vs Plotly: What are the differences?

Differences between Highcharts and Plotly

Highcharts and Plotly are both popular data visualization libraries used for creating interactive charts and graphs in websites. While they share some similarities, there are several key differences between the two:

  1. Data Visualization Options: Highcharts offers a wide range of chart types, including line, bar, column, pie, scatter, area, and more. It also provides options for combining different chart types in a single graph. On the other hand, Plotly provides an extensive collection of interactive chart types, including 3D charts, maps, box plots, candlestick charts, and more. Plotly's focus on interactivity allows users to explore and manipulate data directly within the charts.

  2. Accessibility and Compatibility: Highcharts is compatible with older versions of browsers, including Internet Explorer 6 and onwards. It supports both desktop and mobile devices, making it suitable for a wide range of users. Plotly, on the other hand, requires modern web browsers and might not be fully compatible with older versions. It focuses on delivering a more dynamic and interactive experience, which may rely on newer browser capabilities.

  3. Ease of Use and Learning Curve: Highcharts has a relatively straightforward API and a comprehensive documentation, making it easier for developers to get started quickly. It provides various customization options through simple configuration settings. Plotly, on the other hand, has a more complex API and requires a steeper learning curve. It offers more advanced features and interactions, allowing users to create highly tailored visualizations with extensive control.

  4. Integration and Embedding: Highcharts allows easy integration with other JavaScript frameworks such as Angular, React, and Vue. It also provides options for exporting charts as images or PDF files. Plotly, on the other hand, provides seamless integration with Python, R, and Julia, making it popular in the scientific and data analysis community. It offers APIs for creating visualizations in different programming languages and supports embedding charts in Jupyter Notebook for interactive data exploration.

  5. Pricing and Licensing: Highcharts is available for free for personal and non-commercial use, but a commercial license is required for commercial projects. The license cost varies based on factors such as project type, number of developers, and intended use. Plotly follows a freemium model, where a basic version is available for free, but advanced features and additional support require a paid subscription. It offers different pricing plans for individuals, teams, and enterprises.

  6. Community and Support: Highcharts has a large and active community with extensive online resources, forums, and Stack Overflow discussions. It also provides official support through its forum and email. Plotly has a growing community with active contributions from the data visualization and data science communities. It offers support through its forum, GitHub repository, and dedicated customer support for paid users.

In summary, Highcharts is suitable for developers who seek a wide range of chart types and integration options with older browsers, while Plotly focuses on interactivity, advanced features, and integration with scientific computing languages.

Advice on Highcharts and Plotly.js
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RechartsRecharts

I have used highcharts and it is pretty awesome for my previous project. now as I am about to start my new project I want to use other charting libraries such as recharts, chart js, Nivo, d3 js.... my upcoming project might use react js as front end and laravel as a backend technology. the project would be of hotel management type. please suggest me the best charts to use

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Darren Adams
Senior Developer at Burning Glass Technologies · | 2 upvotes · 146.1K views
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I've used Highcharts with both Angular Js Reactive applications (render as ReactJs) and also a bit of D3. Personally I found Highcharts to be the easiest to use but, with still quite a good level of customisability if you need it. graphs and charts then give D3 a try.

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Pros of Highcharts
Pros of Plotly.js
  • 34
    Low learning curve and powerful
  • 17
    Multiple chart types such as pie, bar, line and others
  • 13
    Responsive charts
  • 9
    Handles everything you throw at it
  • 8
    Extremely easy-to-parse documentation
  • 5
    Built-in export chart as-is to image file
  • 5
    Easy to customize color scheme and palettes
  • 1
    Export on server side, can be used in email
  • 16
    Bindings to popular languages like Python, Node, R, etc
  • 10
    Integrated zoom and filter-out tools in charts and maps
  • 9
    Great support for complex and multiple axes
  • 8
    Powerful out-of-the-box featureset
  • 6
    Beautiful visualizations
  • 4
    Active user base
  • 4
    Impressive support for webgl 3D charts
  • 3
    Charts are easy to share with a cloud account
  • 3
    Webgl chart types are extremely performant
  • 2
    Interactive charts
  • 2
    Easy to use online editor for creating plotly.js charts
  • 2
    Publication quality image export

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Cons of Highcharts
Cons of Plotly.js
  • 9
    Expensive
  • 18
    Terrible document

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What is Highcharts?

Highcharts currently supports line, spline, area, areaspline, column, bar, pie, scatter, angular gauges, arearange, areasplinerange, columnrange, bubble, box plot, error bars, funnel, waterfall and polar chart types.

What is Plotly.js?

It is a standalone Javascript data visualization library, and it also powers the Python and R modules named plotly in those respective ecosystems (referred to as Plotly.py and Plotly.R). It can be used to produce dozens of chart types and visualizations, including statistical charts, 3D graphs, scientific charts, SVG and tile maps, financial charts and more.

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What companies use Highcharts?
What companies use Plotly.js?
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What are some alternatives to Highcharts and Plotly.js?
D3.js
It is a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. Emphasises on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework.
amCharts
amCharts is an advanced charting library that will suit any data visualization need. Our charting solution include Column, Bar, Line, Area, Step, Step without risers, Smoothed line, Candlestick, OHLC, Pie/Donut, Radar/ Polar, XY/Scatter/Bubble, Bullet, Funnel/Pyramid charts as well as Gauges.
Tableau
Tableau can help anyone see and understand their data. Connect to almost any database, drag and drop to create visualizations, and share with a click.
Google Charts
It is an interactive Web service that creates graphical charts from user-supplied information. The user supplies data and a formatting specification expressed in JavaScript embedded in a Web page; in response the service sends an image of the chart.
ECharts
It is an open source visualization library implemented in JavaScript, runs smoothly on PCs and mobile devices, and is compatible with most current browsers.
See all alternatives