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Sortable wiki tables#

This JSPWikiStyle allows you to make tables sortable by enclosing them inside a %%sortable block.
Just click the column header and your table is sorted without round-trip to the server.

Sortable tables are now part of the standard JSPWiki distribution, V.2.3.x.
Initially they appeared as part of the BrushedTemplate. See also other JSPWikiStyles
-- DF Nov 2005



Enclose your tables in %%sortable tags. Make sure your table starts with a row of all header cells ( wikisyntax: || ). Now move your the mouse over one of the clickable header cells. You'll see a tool-tip and a changed mouse pointer. Click the column header to sort, clicking again will reverse the sort order. The sort algorithm will auto-guess the data type of your column -- date, numeric or string -- and adjust the sorting algorithm accordingly !

|| Title || Author || Published   || Edition || Time
| book1  |  zappy  |  25-Feb-2005 |  5 | 12
| book2  |  happy  |  25-Jan-2005 |  19|12
| book3  |  pappy  |  23-Mar-2005 |  06|12
| book4  |  dappy  |  21-Apr-2005 |  199|12
| book5  |  rappy  |  25-Jul-2005 |  017|12

Reality check:

Title Author Published Edition Time
book1 zappy 25-Feb-2005 5 12
book2 happy 25-Jan-2005 1919
book3 pappy 23-Mar-2005 0618
book4 dappy 21-Apr-2005 19912
book5 rappy 25-Jul-2005 01710

The implementation was inspired by the excellent javascript created by Erik Arvidsson. See

However, I refactored it completely so it better fits with JSPWiki pages. JSPWiki tables dont use thead or tbody tags; it needed to be more flexible to change the appearance of the sortAscending/sortDescending controls through css; allowing fine control in different skins; and I wanted automatic recognition of the data-type of the column to be sorted.

Check out the scripts/jspwiki-common.js file for the actual implementation.

The needed javascript is very powerful, and still pretty small. Everything is included in the Sortable object to keep the .js namespace unpolluted.

The onPageLoad does the initialisation after the page is loaded. (make sure to add a call to this function in your window.onload() handler somewhere) It will track all %%sortable elements and process its first TABLE element. An onclick() handler is added to each column header which points to the heart of the javascript: the Sortable.sort() function.

The sort function has four major steps :

  1. Validate the header row and checking which column was clicked
  2. Copy the table body rows into a javascript array and at the same time find out the data-type of the column to be sorted being date, number or (default) string format
  3. Do the actual sort or reverse sort
  4. Put the sorted array back into the DOM tree of the document

The Sortable.convert() and Sortable.createCompare() are helper functions for data-type conversion and for creation of appropriate comparsion routines used by the javascript sort engine.

Check out the templates/default/jspwiki.css file for the css definitions.

Folloing CSS selectors can be changed if needed:

  • column headers which are clicable, but not yet sorted, get the style .sort
  • column headers, which are sorted ascending, get the style .sortAscending.
  • column headers, which are sorted descending, get the style .sortDescending.

I added the ability to sort IP's in the IP dot notation. The numbers do not need to be padded with 0's for this to work correctly. I attached a new jspwiki-common.js file that includes the code if you need this feature. Just copy it over the one already in JSPWIKI/scripts directory for it to work.

Joseph Schmigel - 14.09.06

Tx ! Nice addition. It will take it in in the next BrushedTemplate. --DF

(How) does it work if there are more than one Table on the same Page? --Manuel J. Schaffner

Give it a try and let us know ;-) Multiple tables should be possible --DF

Hi, does anyone know how I can cause the table to be sorted on a particular column on page load?

--biggroover, 20-Nov-2006

I'm afraid the only way today is to enter the table sorted on that particular column. Allthough I think it would not be to difficult to add some default sort column parameter to the javascript. --DF

Hi, I've made a change to the java script that will keep the highlighted rows from moving around when you sort the table. In the current jspwiki-common.js file, there is a function called Sortable.sort. At the end of this function, there is a piece of code that looks like so...

  //put the sorted table back into the document
  var frag = document.createDocumentFragment();
  for( var i=0; i < rows.length; i++ )
    frag.appendChild( rows[i] );
  table.appendChild( frag );

If you change this to the following, then it will not move the highlighted rows around, when you sort.

  //put the sorted table back into the document
  var frag = document.createDocumentFragment();
  for( var i=0; i < rows.length; i++ )
    if( ( i % 2 ) == 0 )
      rows[i].className = '';
      rows[i].className = 'odd';

    frag.appendChild( rows[i] );
  table.appendChild( frag );

Example, compare to above "reality check", when sorted down by author.

--Ryan 28-Nov-2006

Great suggestion,tx! I'll add it to the next upload. --DF

Am I right that a sortable table cannot be combined with a zebra-table? If I'm wrong please be so kind and post an example. Thanks! --BFT 20-Feb-2007

Not a bug, but missing feature. You can fix this in brushed.js, at the end of the sort function in the Sortable object. --DF
    //put the sorted table back into the document
    var frag = document.createDocumentFragment();
    for( var i=0; i < rows.length; i++ )
      rows[i].className = ( (i%2) == 0 ) ? '' : 'odd';   // new line to save zebra-tables
      frag.appendChild( rows[i] );
I've done the changes. Everything works fine. Thank you very much! --BFT 21-Feb-2007

Sort order bug
It seems the sort is done as a pure ASCII sort, rather than a lexigraphical sort. This has two consequences:
  1. All upper case letters come before lower case letters (e.g. "Z" comes before "a").
    This might be fixed by making the sort case-insensitive - sort on a lowercase conversion of the cell value.
  2. International characters (ISO-8859-1/Unicode > 128) are sorted in a "random" way).
    This one would require a java.text.Collator equivalent to handle, possibly including a way to set the appropriate Locale. Something that may be impossible using JavaScript.

Examples of sort order (press "Sortable" header to see actual sort order):

ædanish letter which should appear after "z"
aain danish/norwegian collation,
this also comes after "z"/"æ"
and is equivalent to the letter "å"
åin danish collation, this letter is the last in the alphabet (equiv. to "aa")
Correct sort order of above table, with "Danish" locale: "a", "Z"/"z", "æ", "aa"/"å"
-- Morten Hattesen

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List of attachments

Kind Attachment Name Size Version Date Modified Author Change note
SortHighlightFix.png 8.1 kB 1 29-Nov-2006 01:04 Ryan Sawatzky
extravanilla-sortable.jpg 19.7 kB 1 24-Oct-2005 22:56 DirkFrederickx
jspwiki-common.js 30.2 kB 1 14-Sep-2006 23:01 Joseph Schmigel
vanilla-sort.jpg 22.7 kB 1 24-Oct-2005 22:56 DirkFrederickx
« This particular version was published on 20-Oct-2007 19:37 by