Re: sorting numbers

Subject: Re: sorting numbers
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:47:54 -0400

On Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:18:52 -0400, Laurie Little <llittle -at- words-tw -dot- com> wrote:

A client's documentation says "Numbers will sort alphabetically rather than in numeric order ...

That sorting looks to me like the naive "sort by ASCII value" (or EBCDIC value) that once commonly infested computer programming. The excuse was, "That's the way the computer does it," or (coming from the programmer) "Yes, we could code it to sort differently, but that would be too much trouble."

The sorting that you see is what happens if the individual numerals are each considered as characters in the alphabet, rather than as components of a numeric entity.

You can observe that the whole problem has been totally overcome in some venues. For example, Google search recognizes the spelled and the numeric versions of numbers as possible equivalents.

You are stuck having to document someone's excuse for poor software performance.


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