Sparklines and SpriteMe

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.

jQuery plugin developed by Gareth Watts generates sparklines directly in the browser using data supplied either inline in the HTML, or via javascript.

Joe Gregorio created a sparkline generator. You can start right away by dynamically creating a sparkline using the Sparkline Generator Web Application or you can download the spark.cgi code written in python and running the sparkline service on your own server. Joe Gregorio published a contribution about sparklines (A Bright, Shiny Service: Sparklines) in june 2005. Another sparkline builder has been developed by Mark Pursey. Will Larson created a a simple javascript utility for building sparklines.

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 :

Another technique to reduces the number of downloads in a webpage are sprites. A sprite combines multiple background images into a single image. Steve Souders developed a bookmarklet (javascript file) called SpriteMe to add this functionality to webpages.