Column Chart with Item Renderer

When doing the Column Chart with fillFunction for a question in the Flex Forum, the poster said that he was trying to do something a little different. Instead of a simple fill, he wanted the fill to be semi-transparent with a solid border. When I looked at the iFill function, it didn’t have a stroke option and it doesn’t seem that the standard column item deals with the column border. My guess was, that an item renderer should be used for the column instead. Within the item render, you can create a rectangle graphic and then adjust the border and fill parameters. Since this seemed like an interesting exercise, I decided to make myself an example (the best way I learn something).

I started out using the simple array data found in other examples. I will probably update this to something more dynamic later.

[Bindable]
public var SMITH:ArrayCollection = new ArrayCollection([{date:10, close:41.87, open: 30},{date:20, close:45.74, open: 40}, 
{date:30, close:42.77, open: 60}, {date:40, close:48.06, open: 50}]);

And then I attached this to a ColumnChart and create a single ColumnSeries with the “date” on the xAxis and the “close” count on the yAxis. I then added the itemRenderer parameter, which popups a window for creating the component.

<mx:ColumnChart id="myColumnChart1" dataProvider="{SMITH}" >
	<mx:horizontalAxis>
		<mx:CategoryAxis categoryField="date" />
	</mx:horizontalAxis>
	<mx:series>
		<mx:ColumnSeries id="columnSeries1" xField="date" yField="close" itemRenderer="components.myColumnRenderer" />
	</mx:series>
</mx:ColumnChart>

In the ItemRender, the way to kick everything off is to override the set data function. You have to check to see if the value is null first, or you get errors when the chart is initially loading. Once there is data in the value, then you can start altering the renderer for the column.

override public function set data(value:Object):void {
	super.data = value;

	// Check to see if the data property is null.
	if (value== null) {
		return;
	} else {
		// data display and other stuff start here
	}
}

To create the background rectangle, you first have to start with a Graphic and then add the Rect and the parts of the Rect that you want to alter. You could just add the Rect and then alter the stroke and fill dynamically, but having them already defined makes it a little easier. I am only doing a Solid stroke and fill, if you wanted to do gradient or mix gradient and solid, then you definitely would want to do that dynamically. The Graphic is first, since it is on the bottom. Anything you want to display above the rectangle graphic goes afterward in the code.

<s:Graphic>
	<s:Rect id="columnRect">
		<s:stroke>
			<s:SolidColorStroke id="rectSolidColorStroke" />
		</s:stroke>
		<s:fill>
			<s:SolidColor id="rectSolidColor" />
		</s:fill>
	</s:Rect>
</s:Graphic>

Once you are ready to alter the column, you have to create the rectangle graphic for the background and you need to set the width and height to the super call for the column. If you don’t do this, then the rectangle is size 0 and you can’t see anything.

columnRect.width = super.width;
columnRect.height = super.height;

Since you are passing in the column data, you can modify the look of each column either by the xValue or the yValue. In this case, I wanted to change each column based on the yValue. I am only doing a simple solid fill and solid stroke, so I only need to change one color. I declared the colors to make it easier to set the uint values. Finally, I adjust the stroke weight and the fill alpha. These could also be changed based on the column data.

switch(value.xValue) {
	case 10:
		// Red Color
		columnFillColor = colorRed;
		columnStrokeColor = colorRed;
		break;
	case 20:
		// Blue Color
		columnFillColor = colorBlue;
		columnStrokeColor = colorBlue;
		break;
	case 30:
		// Green Color
		columnFillColor = colorGreen;
		columnStrokeColor = colorGreen;
		break;
	case 40:
		// Purple Color
		columnFillColor = colorPruple;
		columnStrokeColor = colorPruple;
		break;
}

rectSolidColorStroke.color = columnFillColor;
rectSolidColorStroke.weight = 2;
rectSolidColor.color = columnStrokeColor;
rectSolidColor.alpha = .3;

This example didn’t take very long to make and I will probably try to add some other feature to this simple chart.
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About DeanLogic
Dean has been playing around with programming ever since his family got an IBM PC back in the early 80's. Things have changed since BASICA and Dean has dabbled in HTML, JavaScript, Action Script, Flex, Flash, PHP, C#, C++, J2ME and SQL. On this site Dean likes to share his adventures in coding. And since programming isn't enough of a time killer, Dean has also picked up the hobby of short film creation.

About DeanLogic

Dean has been playing around with programming ever since his family got an IBM PC back in the early 80's. Things have changed since BASICA and Dean has dabbled in HTML, JavaScript, Action Script, Flex, Flash, PHP, C#, C++, J2ME and SQL. On this site Dean likes to share his adventures in coding. And since programming isn't enough of a time killer, Dean has also picked up the hobby of short film creation.

2 thoughts on “Column Chart with Item Renderer

  1. Thanks, it is very helpull.

    But how to match the legend color with the color defined in itemrenderer?

    I have try this item rendere, but the legend color is not match yet.

    Thank you very much 🙂

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