TechTip: Building Charts with Highcharts, Part 3

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Show off with a gauge chart that's built using RPG.


Hopefully, you've by now read parts 1 and 2 of this series. In this last tip about Highcharts, I'll introduce you to gauge charts. Highcharts offers a range of various gauges that with a minimum of effort can be implemented and used in your daily work.


I'll use the one called "Solid gauge," and I'll combine it with an RPG-CGI program that will generate a simple XML output using the CEERAN0 API to generate a random number between 0 and 99.



Figure 1: This solid gauge example is from


The RPG program will be called using AJAX and jQuery and will then parse the XML and display it in the gauge.


I know this is a simple setup, but my task is to inspire you to replace the RPG program with something useful that will show real data in some other way that your users might be used to seeing.


The reason the files are named KPI is that we here in REEFT have made a project where we show selected Key Performance Indicator (KPI) figures in production plant using this method.


As I expect you to already be familiar with Highcharts, having read the previous to TechTips, I'll jump right into the code and explain what's going on. The code is split into two parts: the HTML/jQuery part and the RPG part. This is a lot of code. Instead of slicing it up in small pieces and explaining each piece, I think it will be better to show all the code in full length and comment in bold inside the code at the important places.


At the end of the tip, there's an install section that will explain how to implement the example.


Enough talk. Let's jump in and look at the HTML code.





// Function: Show Gauge




<!DOCTYPE html>



<title>Show Gauge</title>

<meta name="Author" content="Jan Jorgensen, Reeft A/S" />

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">



Define the various JavaScript includes to make it all happen; use CDNs to pick up the data.


      <script src=""></script>     


      <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src=""></script>

      <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src=""></script>

      <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src=""></script>


      <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src=""></script>

      <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" src=""></script>



Define some CSS inline in the code. Normally this will be placed outside the HTML file in an xxx.css file.




.hidden {

      display: none;




.header_gauge_text {

      font-size: 3.0vw;



.header_gauge {

      font-size: 3.0vw;



.header_gauge_01 {

      font-size: 2.0vw;



.gauge-layout {



      margin:0 auto;

      border: 0px solid red;




Note: The "bg-color-active" and the "bg-color-inactive" classes make a nice little circle in the right upper corner showing when the AJAX calls are being carried out.


.bg-color-active {

      background: green none repeat scroll 0 0;

      border-radius: 50%;

      width: 20px;

      height: 20px;




.bg-color-inactive {

      background: #EBEBEB none repeat scroll 0 0;

      border-radius: 50%;

      width: 20px;

      height: 20px;





<script type="text/javascript">


// Set globals



Set global variables used to control colors and the values where the colors will change within the gauge:


      var firstLoad = false;


      var stop00 = 0.0;            // Red

      var stop01 = 0.45;     // Red

      var stop02 = 0.4501;   // Yellow

      var stop02a = 0.90;     // Yellow

      var stop03 = 0.9001;   // Green

      var stop03a = 1.00;     // Green   


      var animation_time = 1000;   


      var stop01_color = '#DF5353';      

      var stop02_color = '#FFFF2A';

      var stop03_color = '#009900';


      var stop01c = 45;

      var stop02c = 90;



// jQuery init


$(document).ready(function() {



Calculate the size of the gauge, depending on the screen size and the "multFactor" variables. If you want to make the chart bigger according to the screen size, just increase the value of the multFactor variable.



      // Calculate gauge size

      var winH = $(window).height();

      var winW = $(window).width();


      winH = winH - 200;

      winW = winW - 200;


      multFactor = 0.60;

      winH = parseInt(winH * multFactor);

      winW = parseInt(winW * multFactor);


Write the calculated values to the hidden debug ID. This is a good way to check various values within your files. Just rename the "hidden" class to something else and press F5 to see the data.


      $('#debug').text( winH + ' -- ' + winW );


      $('#container-gauge').height( winH).width( winW );



Get data from the server using an AJAX call in the getServerData function. Then set an interval timer to repeat the call every 10 seconds.





   setInterval(function () {


   }, 10000);         






// Get server data


function getServerData( ) {



Execute the AJAX call to the RPG-CGI program. Note that I have included a small static XML file called "kpi001-proxy-data.xml." So if you do not want to install the RPG program, just comment out the cgi-bin call, uncomment the kpi001-proxy… Statement, and load the HTML file; you will see the example work right away.


If you change the XML node "pct," you will see the gauge "come alive."



                  type: "GET",

                  //url: "kpi001-proxy-data.xml",

                  url: "/cgi-bin/kpi001",

                  dataType: "xml",

                  cache: false,    

                  beforeSend: function(xml){         



Create "Something is happening" in the right upper corner.






                  success: function( xml) {


                        $(xml).find('data').each(function() {



Parse the XML from the AJAX call. Here I use a static XML file or a call to an RPG program, but of course you could call a PHP program, Java, or something else. Just make sure the XML result looks the same.


                              var update_date = $(this).find('update_date').text();

                              var update_time = $(this).find('update_time').text();


                              var pct = $(this).find('pct').text();


                              $('#info-area').html( 'Date: ' + update_date );

                              $('#update-info').html( 'Last update: ' + update_time );



Note that instead of calling the setGaugeValue function, I store the percent from the XML in a hidden input field and then call set function when the AJAX call has completed. The reason is that I can then use this value to do something else if I want, and it is also very easy to debug the AJAX call (if not using Firebug) as I can just remove the hidden calls from the "container-gauge_val'" field.


                              // Update input field used by setGaugeValue

                              $('#container-gauge_val').val( pct );                       });




                  complete:function ( xml ){         


AJAX call done, if this is the first call, define the gauge; otherwise, set the new percent value without re-drawing the gauge.


                              if ( firstLoad === false ) {


                                    firstLoad = true;

                              } else {








                  error:function (xhr, ajaxOptions, thrownError){      










// Set gauge value


function setGaugeValue()



Update the gauge.


             var chart = $('#container-gauge').highcharts(),





                  if (chart) {

                        point = chart.series[0].points[0];

                        var v1 = parseFloat( $('#container-gauge_val').val() );








// Create chart


function createGauge()



Create the gauge; this is "normal" stuff when creating a Highchart using various options found in the API documentation on the website.

The gauge below is taken from the example on the website and modified mainly in the "yAxis ->stops" and "dataLabels->format". Try changing the various elements, and look in the documentation to add/remove options to/from the gauge.


$(function () {


   var gaugeOptions = {


       chart: {

           type: 'solidgauge'



       title: null,


       pane: {

           center: ['50%', '85%'],

           size: '140%',

           startAngle: -90,

           endAngle: 90,

           background: {

                        backgroundColor: '#EEE',

               innerRadius: '60%',

               outerRadius: '100%',

               shape: 'arc'



       tooltip: {

           enabled: false



       navigation: {

           enabled: false



       exporting: {

           enabled: false



      // the value axis

       yAxis: {



               [stop00, stop01_color], // green

               [stop01, stop01_color], // green

               [stop02, stop02_color], // yellos

               [stop02a, stop02_color], // yellos

               [stop03, stop03_color], // red

               [stop03a, stop03_color] // red


           lineWidth: 0,

           minorTickInterval: null,

           tickPixelInterval: null,

           tickWidth: 0,

           title: {

               y: -70


           labels: {

               y: 16




       plotOptions: {

           solidgauge: {

               dataLabels: {

                    y: 5,

                   borderWidth: 0,

                   useHTML: true


                        animation: {

                   duration: animation_time






      var v1 = parseFloat( $('#container-gauge_val').val() );


   // Gauge

   $('#container-gauge').highcharts(Highcharts.merge(gaugeOptions, {

       yAxis: {

           min: 0,

           max: 100,

           title: {

               text: ''




       credits: {

           enabled: false



       series: [{

           name: '',

           data: [v1],

           dataLabels: {

               format: '<div style="text-align:center"><span style="font-size:3.0vw;color:' +

                   ((Highcharts.theme && Highcharts.theme.contrastTextColor) || 'black') + '">{y} </span></div>'


           tooltip: {

               valueSuffix: ''













// -->







Hidden fields are used for debug and percent storing.


<div class="hidden">

<span id="debug"></span>

<input id="container-gauge_val" value="0">



<table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0">



<td width="250">



<td align="center">

<div class="header_gauge_text" style="text-align:center">Random number from RPG program</div>

<span style="position:absolute;float:right;top:12px;right:35px;font-size:12px" id="update-info"></span>



<td width="250" align="right" valign="bottom">

<div id="work-message" style="position:absolute;float:right;top:8px;right:5px">&nbsp;</div>









This table holds the gauge:



<table border="1" bordercolor="#e8e8e8" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" width="100%">


<tr bgcolor="#e8e8e8">


<div class="header_gauge_01" id="info-area"></div>


<td align="center">







<span class="header_gauge">Our lucky number</span>


<td align="center">

      <div id="container-gauge" class="gauge-layout"></div>








Figure 2: This is the kpi001.htm source.


I really hope that the bold highlights above have made sense for you and that you can see the meaning of all the code. The best way to test is to download the example and just run it. Then try changing some of the options while reading the API documentation at the Highcharts website.


Let's Look at the RPG

Now with the HTML source in your backpack, let's have a look at something that might be a little more "common ground" an RPG-CGI program.


This very simple program is meant only as a driver to produce some simple data. In a real-world situation, you will of course replace it with something more useful and change the XML output to reflect your needs.


Again, look through the code where I have added some comments in bold.


     H CopyRight('Copyright Someone (c) - 2015')

     H DatEdit(*YMD.)

     H Option( *SrcStmt: *NoDebugIO)

     H DECEDIT('0.')


     H BndDir('QC2LE')


The binding dir just contains the QZHBCGI service program and allows me to compile with CRTBNDRPG. It's included within the save file in the install section.


     /If Defined(*Crtbndrpg)

     H BndDir( '*LIBL/CGIBNDDIR' )

     H DftActGrp(*NO)





     //* Function :‚Generate random number and pass back to browser


     //* ------------------------------------------------------------

     //* Created:

     //* Programmer:‚JJ

     //* Date . . :‚2015-07-06









Set variables used within the program.


     // Contants

     D XMLHeader       c                   Const('Content-type: text/xml')

     D NewLine         c                   Const(X'15')


     D WrkLine         s           2000a   varying


     D Str             s             2a

     D min             s              3u 0 Inz( x'F0' )

     D max             s             3u 0 Inz( x'F9' )

     D idx             s             5u 0

     D seed           s             10i 0

     D random         s             8f


     D char           Ds

     D hex                          3u 0



     // Prototypes


     D MakeXML         pr

     D   StringIn                 2000   value


     d getrandom       pr                 ExtProc( 'CEERAN0' )

     d seed                         10i 0

     d rand                         8f

     D fc                             *   Options( *Omit )





       //‚Generate number



         For       Idx = 1 to %Len( Str );

             CallP     getrandom( seed: random: *Omit );

             Eval     hex = ( random * ( max - min )) + min;

             Eval     %Subst( str: idx: 1 ) = char;



         // Number found

         Str = Str;



       // Tell browser XML is coming


       // Content-Type

         MakeXML ( %trim(XMLHeader) + NewLine + NewLine );



       // Create output


         ExSr subrCreateReply;



       // Stop Program


         ExSr StopPgm;



       // Create XML reply


       BegSr subrCreateReply;


Create XML output and write it to the browser.


         WrkLine   = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>'

                   + '<data>'


         MakeXML ( %trim(WrkLine) + NewLine );


                 WrkLine = '<update_date>'

                         + %char( %date() )

                         + '</update_date>'


                         + '<update_time>'

                         + %char( %time() )

                         + '</update_time>'


                         + '<pct>'

                         + %trim( Str )

                         + '</pct>'




                 // Write to browser

                 WrkLine   = %trim( WrkLine );

                 MakeXML ( %trim(WrkLine) + NewLine );


                 // Write to browser

                 WrkLine   = '</data>'


                 MakeXML ( %trim(WrkLine) + NewLine );





       // Stop Program


       BegSr StopPgm;


         *inLR = *ON;






       // Global error catcher


       BegSr *PSSR;







       // Function MakeXML - Write string to StdOut


     P MakeXML         b


     D MakeXML         pi

     D StringIn                   2000   value


     D Work           s                   like(StringIn)

     D StdOutLen       s             9B 0



     // General API error routine


     DQUSEC           DS

     D qusbprv                 1     4B 0 Inz( 16 )                           Qus EC

     D qusbavl                 5     8B 0                                     Bytes Provided

     D qusei                   9     15                                         Bytes Available

     D quserved               16     16                                         Exception Id



     // Calculate length of StdOut string





           Work     = %trim(StringIn);


           Work = %trim(Work);


           StdOutLen = %CheckR(' ':Work);





     // Call QtmhWrStout API to write response HTML to StdOut



     C                   CallB(e) 'QtmhWrStout'

     C                   Parm                   Work

     C                   Parm                   StdOutLen

     C                   Parm                   QUSEC


   P MakeXML         e


Figure 3: This RPG-CGI code generates data to the solid gauge.


Well, I didn't make many comments as I expect that you might have your own standard of writing RPG-CGI programs that might look different from mine or maybe you use things like CGIDEV2 or likewise. Nevertheless, the objective is to create some XML that looks like this:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>







Figure 4: Here's the XML output from the RPG-CGI program.


And that's it! If you're still with me after this long journey, here's how to install and run it on your IBM i.


Install the Lot

Download the savefile named highchart3.savf from here.


Log on to your IBM i and create savefile HIGHCHART3 in QGPL.


CRTSAVF FILE(QGPL/HIGHCHART3) TEXT('mcpressonine -> highcharts part_3')


FTP the savefile from your PC to the savefile in your IBM i (Google it if you don't know how).


Restore the contents of QGPL/HIGHCHART3 to the library from where you ran your CGI programs.


To test the program, open a browser and enter this URL:




You should then see a result like the one in Figure 5.



Figure 5: You should see XML output from RPG-CGI program KPI001.


Download the file from here.


Using your favorite FTP program, upload the kpi0001.htm to the doc dir of your webserver.


IMPORTANT: The HTML file must reside on the same server as the RPG-CGI program. Otherwise, the AJAX call will not succeed because you will have what is called "domain crossing." If you want to store it on separate servers, you have to create some kind of proxy solution and then call the RPG-CGI program from there (again, ask Google if this is the case).


You are now set and can start your first test by running the following URL:



Hopefully, you'll see in your browser a very, very nice solid gauge that will refresh every 10 seconds.


End of Part 3


Well, this became a very long tip, but most of it was raw code, and I really hope you followed this far.


This completes the Highcharts TechTips. I know that I've made only a few scratches on the surface, but I hope you see the potential that this tool has. And once again, I hope you can blow some new life into your IBM i data.


Till next time, have a nice summer and chart away all you can.

Jan Jorgensen

Jan Jorgensen is one of the owners of, which specializes in mobile and i5 solutions. He works with RPG, HTML, JavaScript, Perl, and PHP. You can reach him at




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    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
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  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

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  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
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