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In most usage scenarios, the data displayed in a Microsoft Chart control comes from some dynamic source, such as from a database query. The appearance of the chart can be modified dynamically, as well; past installments in this article series showed how to programmatically customize the axes, labels, and other appearance-related settings. However, it is possible to statically define the chart's data and appearance strictly through the control's declarative markup. One of the demos examined in the Getting Started article rendered a column chart with seven columns whose labels and values were defined statically in the <asp:Series> tag's <Points> collection.
Given this functionality, it should come as no surprise that the Microsoft Chart Controls also support serialization. Serialization is the process of persisting the state of a control or an object to some other medium, such as to disk. Deserialization is the inverse process, and involves taking the persisted data and recreating the control or object. With just a few lines of code you can persist the appearance settings, the data, or both to a file on disk or to any stream. Likewise, it takes just a few lines of codes to reconstitute a chart from the persisted information.
This article shows how to use the Microsoft Chart Control's serialization functionality by examining a demo application that allows users to create custom charts, specifying the data to plot and some appearance-related settings. The user can then save a "snapshot" of this chart, which persists its appearance and data to a record in a database. From another page, users can view these saved chart snapshots. Read on to learn more!