Re: question about ascending vs. descending order....

Subject: Re: question about ascending vs. descending order....
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2002 14:09:56 +0100

>An application sorts messages by date, the oldest date is listed first, the
>newest date is listed last. Is this considered 'ascending'? The same
>application sorts names A-Z. Is this considered 'descending'? My colleague
>and I both agree that the first example is ascending, and the second example
>is descending, but the application is supposed to sort both lists in either
>ascending or descending order (both lists should be sorted the same way)....

'Ascending' means that smaller values come first and larger last. Thus
both 1..9 and a..z are considered ascending sorting orders.

Dates are somewhat ambiguous. If you are looking at a sequence of events
(say, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire), earlier dates would be
considered smaller and later ones, larger.

On the other hand, if you look back from the present you could consider
the temporal distance more important, meaning that later dates would be
smaller (being closer to the present) and earlier, larger. (This
principle is used by both Windows and Mac OS when arranging files by date.)

For the sorting of messages in your application, I suggest using the
pronciple of easy user access: The messages that the user wants to view
or edit most frequently should be the ones that are easiest to access. In
most contexts this means sorting the newest messages to the top, but that
depends on the user interface of the application.

Hope this helps
Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 81 79 93 07 12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:
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