Presenting data in a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing manner, that showcases the cohesive whole by selecting certain significant trends is a useful way to assist in livening up cold-hearted, plain numbers.
Being visual creatures by nature, human beings tend to be drawn to the allure of Apollonian order bringing jumbled tabulated data together in a meaningful configuration and displayed in simple graduated measures. Way back when, a quick and dirty method of creating bar charts was to calculate and aggregate the data, loop over it, and using some liberal math come up with varying sizes of table cells with colored backgrounds, or perhaps resize some one pixel squared gifs for some added manipulation.
The official chart control is so good, in fact, with the past Spring-release of ASP.NET 4 and Visual Studio 2010, the Microsoft Chart control is included in the bundle. Officially sanctioned and distributed, the Microsoft Chart control and all of its potential are detailed in someMicrosoft sample Chart code. The Microsoft Chart control manages the presentation of the chart, which leaves the developer with the true programming problem of modeling the data and choosing the best representation for the data relationships. Use theEnergy Information Administration Standards Manual to guide your choice of bar, line, or pie chart, layout and scale, labels, legends, and lines, and everything else that can make your chart as relevant and as meaningful as possible.