Friday, April 19, 2013

Enkitec Sparklines Plug-in for APEX in the Wild

If you were fortunate enough to attend Kscope in 2012, you may have caught Doug Gault's excellent presentation titled "Creating a SparkLine Plugin From Scratch". I remember being there and being really intrigued by the concept of "sparklines". Here's a little bit about them for those that don't know:
Edward Tuft, who both invented and coined the term sparkline, described them as "data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics". Sparklines are the perfect tool to present trends or variations in data “at a glance”. Unlike the charts commonly used in APEX, sparklines are very small in size, often presented alongside or within text. Also, sparklines rarely contain scale or axis data and single data points are rarely singled out. To put it another way, charts provide the detail whereas sparklines provide a snapshot.
And for those of you who simply prefer pictures, here they are:
Neat huh?!? Well, now that Doug is my boss, you can imaging how much arm twisting it took (none really) for him to convince me to wrap this one up and get it out the door as the 3rd plug-in under the Enkitec name. The plug-in currently supports line, bar, and tristate sparklines and it makes many options declarative and easy to adjust. It also adds a new "Sparkline Click" event to the dynamic action framework in your application so you can respond to clicks when needed.

If you're interested in learning more go to and click on help or demo on the right.



  1. Dan,

    Thanks a lot for building this plug-in. I was lucky enough to attend an all-day seminar by Mr. Tufte in Boston a few years back and sparklines were the most intriguing take-away I got.

    Now I just have to figure out a good place in an application to include these!

  2. Hi Stew,

    Don't thank me, thank Doug! ;) I'm only teasing...

    That's really neat that you got to attend a seminar with Mr. Tufte. I hope you're able to find a use for the plug-in!


  3. Very nice!

    This may be just the answer for a recent design problem - using the bar chart with negative values, it can display a visual indicator for the users that encourage them to target "zero", which is a big culture change.

    Is there a typo in the PL/SQL?

  4. Not type, just inconsistency compared with "line" binding detail - unless there is a reason for the difference?

  5. Hi Scott,

    No reason for the inconsistency. I was probably trying to debug something and didn't switch it back...