sparkline

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A sparkline is a small, simple, data-dense graphic with typographic resolution that is shown inline and in-context with relevant text.

The term was coined by Edward Tufte, and inspired by Galileo's drawings of the shape of Saturn inline with his writings about them.

See also: http://www.edwardtufte.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=0001OR

Contrary to the Wikipedia definition, sparklines are not limited to graphs, graphs are simply the most common use of sparklines (and "line graph" is unfortunately somewhat implied by the word "line" in the name). Rather, sparkline includes the kinds of graphics that inspired them in the first place, e.g. see Tufte's notes about Galileo's drawings of the shape of Saturn inline with text:

0001sC-2044.jpg


IndieWeb Examples

IndieWeb Wiki

The IndieWeb wiki allows the simple addition of sparklines in the form of mini-avatars along with user's names for providing quick attributions and links within the wiki. To create your own reference the following pages:

Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith has sparklines on his personal site (since ??-??-??) indicating how frequent certain posts have been made historically. He's also documented some of his experiments with them in the past:

Jeremy Keith sparklines.PNG An example of sparklines for Journal entries, Links, Articles, and Notes on Jeremy Keith's website

Chris Burnell

Chris Burnell has been experimenting with sparklines and wrote abouts some of his experiences in Sparkline Sound Off

Resources

WordPress

There are several plugins for adding sparklines to WordPress websites including:

  • Activity Sparks plugin by Greg Jackson adds some configurable functionality for adding sparklines to WordPress sites including for posts and comments as well as for tracking categories/tags.
  • Sparkplug by Beau Lebens has similarity to the Activity Sparks plugin (above), but with a slightly older and different implementation.

Sparks, a typeface

Sparks is a typeface for creating sparklines in text without code. Functionality and details described in more detail at: The world’s first code-free sparkline typeface.

See Also