AJAX Bar Graph using ASP.NET

This article explains creation of simple AJAX based graph using HTML elements. To actually see it in action download the zip archive and run the demos.

Screenshots of graphs from AJAXGraph1.aspx
Screenshots of graphs from   AJAXGraph2.aspx

Downloading and Viewing the demos

  • Download the code
  • Using Visual Studio 2005 , create a new ATLAS (ASP.NET AJAX) project. If you don’t have ASP.NET AJAX installed, get it from here.
  • Extract and add ALL the contents of graph.zip to newly created project.
  • All the files should be at same level as Default.aspx of new project.
  • Set AJAXGraph1.aspx as start page and run the project.

Creating new ASP.NET AJAX website.

Here I assume that you have ASP.NET AJAX (previously ATLAS) installed. You should be able to open your IDE and simply create a new “Atlas” website. This should open a new project with Default.aspx. This is the file you should be using. Make sure it has this tag:

<atlas:ScriptManager ID="ScriptManager1" runat="server" />

Writing the server side method

In the code-behind file ‘Default.aspx.cs’ , we write a new web-method for use in AJAX. This method merely returns a random integer. In real life application, it would query some database and retrieve the result. I have put a random delay to simulate processing and network delay. Make sure you include the ‘System.Web.Services’ namespace.

using System.Web.Services;

//Class declaration
public int GetNextValue()
//In real life get data from database and return to the caller
Random r = new Random();
System.Threading.Thread.Sleep(r.Next(100, 500));
return r.Next(1, 199);


HTML required for Graph

The graph is basically a table with multiple columns. Every column has a

tag , whose height is adjusted as per data received from AJAX request. So first, add following HTML to Default.aspx page.

<table class="gridTable">
<tr valign="bottom">
<td><div id="d1" class="gridDiv"></div> </td>
<td><div id="d2" class="gridDiv"></div></td>
<!-- add desired number of <td> tags here -->
<td><div id="d14" class="gridDiv"></div></td>

There should be as many ‘s as the number of bars we want for our graph. One important thing to note here is that, each

tag should have a unique id. You can use CSS to set background images, borders and even opacity of various elements in above HTML.

Add the magic Javascript

Download my AJAX graph javascript from here. Add reference of this script file in Default.aspx

<script  type="text/javascript" src=AJAXGraph.js></script>

Once this is done time to write your own javascript. This section is important. Most of the time copy paste might work , but at times you will want to implement your own custom behavior. Add the following javascript just after the above above script line, before the <body> tag:

<script language="javascript">
var start =1;var mygraph;

function OnComplete(a)
if(start ==0)return;

function init()
{ mygraph = new AJAXGraph(['d1','d2','d3','d4','d5','d6','d7','d8','d9','d10','d11','d12','d13','d14','d15','d16']);

There are a few important things to explain here. First , notice the long list of parameters (d1..d16) being passed while constructing a new AJAXGraph object. This is actually list of the

tags enclosed in the ‘s. Looks a bit awkward, but right now I don’t have better way of doing this. The init() function is called when ‘onload’ event fires. Don’t miss this line:

<body onload="init()">

The PageMethods object houses javascript functions for every ‘WebMethod’ defined in code behind. So, PageMethods.GetNextValue(OnComplete,null) will execute the ‘GetNextValue’ method on server. The ‘OnComplete’ function acts like a callback function for AJAX request. When a response is received , it gets called. Call to ‘mygraph.PlotValue’ will automatically plot the new value received from server onto the graph. Note that the value returned from server should not be greater than the height of table itself. The value actually represents height in pixels of a bar in the graph. You should ideally process value returned form server so that it is under required limit. Also note that server method only returns an integer, so consumes less network bandwidth. You can vary the speed at which the graph refreshes by varying the second parameter in the call to window.setTimeout, in the ‘OnComplete()’ function. For more clearer picture, you can always refer to the source of downloaded files. Just by changing the CSS classes you can create some stunning looking UI. Check out the screenshots below.

Hope you found this article interesting. As always, mail me your suggestions and questions.