As question had mention, is allow sorting a datatable on web is a MUST function? As sorting did put some extra load to the server, which cause web to load slower than without sort function, How many people out there did use the "sorting" function provided at any webs?

If there is more than thousand of record, what is the point to perform sorting as we can actually use Search to narrow down the criteria we want? Gmail did not provide sort ability to the content, if not mistaken, which save quite a lot of code and cut down loading time of the content inside.

I had an internal web that house thousand a record, from bosses point of view, sorting is a great function to be use, but in production, no one is actually bother to do a sorting in content, without narrow down the criteria, the records will take a few second to display on the web, and a few second of delay is a mass destruction to the experience of continue using the web. And, without doing any sorting, the content display is still slow due to the code need to run through the sort function. So now I planning to offer to my team that to remove the sort function from the code, but still, I asking any opinion whether sort is still a Must with current web experience, whats the point to do Sorting?

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    This is a pretty broad question - a sortable datatable has myriad use cases. Can you clarify what your use case is? Sep 6 '13 at 2:09

If there is more than thousand of record, what is the point to perform sorting as we can actually use Search to narrow down the criteria we want?

For many types of data, sorting it in a logical order is necessary to use it effectively. This is the case when the user wants to look at records that are the most something.

For example, a user might want to look at the cheapest hotels, the best-reviewed products, or the oldest records. This can't be accomplished easily with search; ordering is required.

Note that GMail does provide a sort: messages are ordered by date, and this is essential to use email! But the sort isn't customizable, because this is the only ordering that really makes sense.

In my opinion, you should provide sorting if the users may want to view the data in more than one logical order.

(And if this adds a few seconds to the time it takes to display a few thousand records, you have a serious design problem. It won't add much overhead for data that is properly stored in a database.)


I think who is really could need sorting function are your users. Both your boss and you are people who bring business goals and technical side of a project. Don't miss a user!

Also pay attention in differences between Searching and Ordering patterns.

  • Search is used when exact data should be located. Although there are fuzzy search, including typos and similarities. Anyway user have some data before the search.
  • Ordering is used for data observation to find some patterns and insights. So user frequently has some ideas rather data before sorting.

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