Stack Apps is a question and answer site for apps, scripts, and development with the Stack Exchange API. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I don't understand the difference between ascending and descending? Surely ascending means the most active/recent/popular/A first, and descending means the least active/recent/popular/Z first?

But it seems it's the reverse in most API routes. (I think there are a few where it's different but I always find it hard to get my head around asc vs desc)

EG: brings up results that start with Z

but: when using descending with date/activity sorted routes the most recent/active items are shown.

share|improve this question
+1 I never noticed this either. Tagging as a bug. – Nathan Osman Mar 20 '11 at 19:42
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Dates increase as time advances, so 1293861600 (Jan. 1st 2011) is greater than 946706400 (Jan 1st. 2000). Thus, a descending ordering puts the most recent dates first.

Because sorting by dates is much more common than by name, ordering is descending by default.

share|improve this answer
Surely ascending means, as you go up the list the value gets greater? It doesn't say this in /usage – Jonathan. Mar 21 '11 at 7:33
@Jonathan - that is what ascending means, and that's why the most recent dates are returned first in when order=desc; since they are larger than dates in the past. – Kevin Montrose Mar 21 '11 at 15:49
ok I've just never understood ascending and descending I find they are uselessly indiscriptive and kind of generic. I'll just have to take 15 minutes to learn them. – Jonathan. Mar 21 '11 at 15:57
I know I'm late, but I'll point out for the alphabet: think of it in ASCII (Unicode) numbering. Z is highest in number, while A is lowest in number. So a descending alphabet starts at Z and ends at A. – Adam Dunn Mar 24 '14 at 19:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .