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4.4. The detail history report

The detail report starts with an overall heading followed by a single table showing the records for all the kinds of birds seen in all years of the selected circles.

The overall heading shows the names and coordinates of the included circles. Each circle is displayed in the same form as the primary heading on the regional index page, except that the “Overlaps” lines are omitted.

Some definitions:

logical row

If we could assume unlimited screen width, data for each kind of bird would be displayed in a single row, and we call this a logical row.

row label

The label for a logical row.

heading row

Two rows appear at the top of the main table to provide column headings. Each column of the key row shows the year numbers, and optionally the year keys, for the corresponding column. The party-hours row shows the total party-hours for that column.

In Web rendering, it will be necessary to repeat the key row periodically. Optimally, the reader will always be able to see a key row in a reasonably large browser window. In the initial implementation we will choose an arbitrary interval and repeat the key row at that interval. Later implementations may allow the user to specify this value.

census row

A logical row that displays counts for one kind of bird.

physical row

In the real world (especially with tiny iScreens), horizontal real estate is limited, so we need to be able to fold each logical row into a group of one or more physical rows that share the same row label.

label column

The first column, containing row labels.

detail column

The second and succeeding columns of a logical row.

suffix column

One of the special cells at the end of each row. Currently there are two: one each for the mean and standard deviation.


The content at the intersection of one row and one column.

census cell

A cell containing counts of the number of individuals of one kind of bird.

suffix cell

One cell in a suffix column. These cells are displayed with a different style (italic and boldface) so that they are visually distinct from census cells. Furthermore, they always appear in the last two physical columns.

spacer cell

A cell between the last detail cell in a logical row and the first suffix cell.

Here's a simplified example. Assume that there are six detail columns, and we are displaying a report that spans eleven years; with the two statistics columns, that makes a total of thirteen logical columns per detail row. Folded into six detail rows, that gives us three rows, with five spacer cells inserted before the statistics columns (which are always at the end of the last row).

In the figure above, cells labeled d are census detail cells, the shaded cells are spacer cells, and the cells labeled s are the statistics cells. The row label always spans all the physical rows, so in the rendered table, the first row of each set has seven cells, and the second and third row of each set have only six.

One of the author's bedrock rules for table presentation is that there must never be vast expanses of undifferentiated table cells. Both columns and rows should be visually grouped into threes, fours, or fives, using thicker rules or color-coding to set off the groups. This grouping is vital to aid the reader's eyes in tracking along a row or column. In the example above, note the thickened vertical rule after the fourth column. We will also add a thickened horizontal rule after every fourth physical row. For the CSS philosophy used to implement these style details, see Section 4.5, “CSS considerations in page design”.