The term Sparkline was proposed by Edward Tufte for small, high resolution graphics embedded in a context of words, numbers, images. Tufte describes sparklines as data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics. Sparklines present trends and variations associated with some measurement, such as average temperature or stock market activity, in a simple and condensed way.
A Sparkline PHP Graphing Library has been developed by James Byers who edits alos a wiki about this topic.
Most sparklines are embedded in webpages with data:URIs (RFC 2397) which are not implemented in Internet Explorer lower than version 8. The sparklines are not displayed with those browsers.
Sparklines are also part of the Google Visualization API which works also with Internet Explorer.
Other useful links about sparklines are :
- How to embed sparklines inline into web pages with “data” URLs (and a little PHP)