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Product Review: Collabion Charts for SharePoint

 

Collabion Charts for SharePoint is an handy product which provides a quick and easy way to create insightful dashboards in SharePoint, without the need for MOSS or Excel Services. It works with WSS 3.0, MOSS 2007,  SharePoint Server 2007, SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2013, including SharePoint Foundation server.

So what is Collabion Charts about? See the official description below

Collabion Charts for SharePoint helps you create delightful (and insightful) dashboards in SharePoint in under 15 minutes, without the need for MOSS or Excel Services. It works with WSS 3.0, MOSS 2007, all editions of SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2013, including Foundation server.

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Collabion chart for SharePoint can be installed straight forward on to the development environment with the simple installation wizard and create your first dashboard in less than 15 minutes. Chart creations are with the web parts with a simple wizard setup and the charts are very much animated and attractive to the end users.

Collabion Charts for SharePoint supports creation of charts from a number of different data sources including:

  • SharePoint Lists and List Views
  • CSV file
  • Microsoft SQL Server Database
  • Oracle Database
  • Business Data Catalogue
  • Microsoft Office Excel File

Collabion Charts for SharePoint can be used with:

  • WSS 3.0
  • MOSS 2007
  • All versions of SharePoint 2010 including Foundation Server

Installation:

Download the trial version or the licensed version from the product website http://www.collabion.com/products/ccsp/download/ and you can see the zip file which has WSP, setup.exe and other essentials. Extract the complete zip and copy the files to you development environment where you are planning to create the charts.

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Let us start installing the application by clicking on Setup file and we can see the installation wizard begins. The installation will be smooth enough that a novice developer can install on the server farm without any issues. Once the installation is done you can see the Collabion charts available as a web part in the site collection sheet.

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            Ok let’s get on to configure a chart, add a web part to your page and go to edit the page to add the collabion chart, where you can select what ever option required to be shown in this section.

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            Once clicking on the Collabion chart for SharePoint and adding the webpart we can see the webpart is added to the page and it shows a default page saying that this is the space where user will be seeing the Collabion chart and this feature is awesome where it shows the wizard to configure the Collabion chart as shown in the screen below.

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            Click on the Wizard will open the configuration manager where you can configure the data source, providers, chart types, Customizations, Filtering and sorting, Groups and drill downs and other settings to configure the charts as shown in the screen below.

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            Let us configure the data source first in the data provider task, click on Select Data Provider and here for data I am planning to use a default excel sheet which has product data’s to be used. But the inbuilt data provider is very powerful to use the data from different data providers like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Server, CSV File, Excel File and other connectivity services. Since we are going to use the excel sheet select Microsoft Office Excel File and get the path and configuration as shown in the screen below.

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            Clicking on Connect will connect to the data provider and on successful connection you can see the View Data button enabled. Click on View data button to see the complete data which we are going to utilize from the excel sheet. If you want to see the Data Fields then click on the left menu data filed and you can customize to change or edit the columns as per the requirement.

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            Next step is if you perform to filter some data or to group some data you can do so by clicking on the options in the left side menu under the Data Source. Once the data configuration is done you can configure the charts and other customization as per the requirement.

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            Chart types can be selected from the list of predefined customization of which you can select the chart category and it lists down the list of available chart types under the category. The best feature available right with the chart type is the inbuilt preview mode which helps to see the real data in different format which we want in different chart types before selecting a particular one.

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            Rest of the configurations are based on the users requirements which you can customize to add the static data showcase legends, formatting numbers etc. in the required format. Once the final customization is done click on Finish button at the bottom and click on Stop editing button which will save the Web Part editing and you can see the beautiful charts as shown in the screen below.

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            To Conclude, Collabion charts for SharePoint is easy to use product by any developer to configure and showcase a dashboard in no time. When it comes to cost factor the pricing is pretty decent for the configurable charting component for SharePoint with a development server costing $399 per year and production server costing $1299 per year.

            Here are the positives and negatives of using this product effectively.

            Pro’s:

            • Everything in a Wizard, makes life simple.
            • Huge option of charts to utilize and configure
            • Easy to install and configure
            • Ability to use data from a huge range of data sources.
            • Export and import features to share the charts.
            • Mobile view support to showcase the charts effectively.

             

            Con’s:

            • Printing of charts not available.
            • Copying to clipboard is unavailable
            • Charts to render Geographical data should be an added advantage.
            About Author: Karthikeyan Anbarasan, Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in ASP.NET/IIS Architecture. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of the www.f5debug.net website and has authored books on Windows Phone and Business Intelligence(SSIS). He is also a Passionate Speaker and a Blogger on Microsoft Technologies.

            You can Join Me On: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn

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