Best Charting Library for .NET MVC 3

While there are a number of charting options out there that utilize jQuery or other technologies, I'm currently looking into look at those offered from two companies: Highcharts and Telerik - including extensions and open source projects available to complement them and ease usage in ASP.NET MVC. I figured I'd share my research so far...

Highcharts

Highcharts is a charting library written in pure JavaScript, offering an easy way of adding interactive charts to your web site or web application. Highcharts cost $80 for a single website license and $360 for a single developer / web application license.

For .NET developers who don't want to dive into client-side JavaScript and jQuery to create their charts, options do exist.  While Highcharts doesn't offer an ASP.NET library directly, however there are a few open source options available.

DotNet.Highcharts

DotNet.Highcharts is "the .NET way to display Highcharts into your ASP.NET application." The library proclaims easy integration with ASP.NET applications and that you'll only need to write in C# (no JavaScript coding needed -- however the output code is pure JavaScript). Of course, you will actually need to use JS coding if you want to do more advanced functions like AJAX loading.

The most recent release comes with over 35 example charts including Multiple X-Axes, Chart inside JavaScript function, Multiple charts in one page, Disable Animation, Bind Decimal Values, and more. It is available as a NuGet package as well.  Developed by Vangel Kolarov.

Highcharts MVC

Highcharts MVC is "an Open-source Highcharts wrapper for ASP.NET MVC which aims to provide a better, easier and cleaner API." Currenty the source is hosted on GitHub. This has also been made available as a NuGet package. Three examples showcase the ability to use the library in simple, advance, and AJAX scenarios. More information is available at the developer's website.  Developed by Guilherme Oenning.

Highcharts .Net (WebForms)

Highcharts .Net encapsulates the Highcharts API on ASP.net controls making it easier to use. It is free for non-commerical use. At this time it doesn't seem to formally support ASP.NET MVC at this time (only WebForms), however there is a discussion of usage with MVC 3. Note: It looks like a hack / workaround to me. Examples and more information at the developer's website.  Developed by AndrĂ© Paulovich and AndrĂ© Castro.

Telerik Extensions for MVC

Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC is "a comprehensive set of native MVC, jQuery-powered UI components that help you deliver richer apps to market faster." Charting is offered out of box, and examples exist. The examples range from simple to complex and all come with the source code.

The extension is HTML5-based, and chart rendering utilizes lightweight SVG-powered engine for modern browsers with a fallback to VML for legacy browsers.

Aside from open source projects, Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC comes in at a hefty price tag of $999, and is really only suitable for businesses that can afford it. The Telerik code is hosted on CodePlex.

Telerik KendoUI

KendoUI is the new kid on the block, and allows developers to build modern web apps with HTML5 / JavaScript. Charting is only one small feature amongst over fifteen included in this Framework. KendoUI current costs $399 for a developer license, and offers charting through its DataViz package (currently free with Web for a limited time). KendoUI is not tied to any server-side library as is the case with Telerik's ASP.NET MVC Extensions. Currently there is minimal support in the ASP.NET realm.

Kendo MVC Extensions for ASP.NET

The Kendo MVC Extensions for ASP.NET library aims to "makes it easier for ASP.NET MVC developers to implement the Kendo UI JavaScript framework." A sample exists of how to use the Chart function.

Other Options?

Again, many other controls exist, but several that I came across were geared towards WebForms, build for Silverlight or were a bit older (eg. NPlot and Microsoft Chart Controls). There is a post about usage of Microsoft's Chart Controls of .NET with MVC and more information in this Stackoverflow post. You also always have the option to work with JavaScript more directly, or create your own API wrapper for other top jQuery charting libraries.

Conclusion

Dotnet.Highcharts definitely has the most examples, so that is a win in my book. It makes getting started and understanding the code that much easier.  KedoUI is still quite new, but it looks slick and so I'll be giving the DataViz a try as well with their free thirty-day trial.  While Telerik Extensions provides a stable, robust product, paying a thousand bucks for MVC extensions seems too heavy for me, especially since I mainly require charting.