Aeon Timeline 0.6 (Significant Usability Improvements)

ma
matt
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Wed May 04, 2011 9:40 am Post

I have made a few promises about this recently, and now Aeon Timeline Version 0.6.0 (Beta) can finally be downloaded from the following URL:

[UPDATE: Version 0.6.1 now available]
[UPDATE: Version 0.6.2 now available]

http://aeontimeline.wordpress.com/latest-version/

If you have not used Aeon Timeline for some time, or tested earlier versions and found it lacking user-friendliness, then this might be the version to test out again. I am very happy with the improvements that have been made, and I have a definite path to final release.

If you have dropped out of using and testing Aeon Timeline, please download this and give it another go. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.

The application has been tested on Snow Leopard and Leopard, and should be reasonably stable. No testing has been done on Tiger yet and I believe there are a few compatibility issues with some third party tools I have been using, but I will be working to ensure Tiger compatibility prior to the final release.

The focus for this release has been improving the usability and navigation around the timelines, and generally improving the user interface and adding minor interface features that have been missing for some time. A summary of the changes includes:

Much Improve Navigable Context Bar
  • Cleaner, more attractive appearance
  • Location of surrounding events to provide greater contextual awareness
  • Scroll the timeline into view in the main window by dragging it underneath the highlighted area
  • Double click to jump to that location in the timeline
  • Adjust the zoom level by dragging the edges of the view highlight area

New Display HUD to control visible Entities and Story Arcs
  • Brand new HUD window allows the user to show, hide and re-order Story Arcs or Entities (depending on view) in a more user-friendly and convenient manner
  • Bring it up using the menu, keyboard shortcut, toolbar icon, or by double clicking on the Entity or Story Arc name areas within the main view

Updated Header Bar Filtering
  • Events can now be filtered based on Tag, Entity, and Story Arc (was previously just Tags)
  • Allows different Boolean Logic, including Any/All and And/Or.
  • (This does have a display problem when the window is too small, which I will fix in a subsequent release)

Many more much-needed interface improvements
  • Full Search capabilities, include Find Next, Find Previous to move between matching events
  • The date picker control can now be switched between Month/Day and Day/Month formats in Preferences (via Aeon Timeline menu)
  • The ‘Reveal’ button in the Inspector now scrolls to correct Y position in Story Arc View
  • ‘Go To Date’ functionality available via menus and shortcuts
  • New toolbar links to Manage Entities and Manage Story Arcs
  • Plus many bug fixes, and more.

Before downloading the beta, please read the Introduction and Beta/Forum Rules.

Please post all general bug reports found in this beta as a reply to this thread. Wish list items and discussion of other pending features belong in their own threads.

If the application crashes, please include the crash log and output from the Console in your bug report.

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igregor
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Wed May 04, 2011 7:23 pm Post

Hi Matt. Nice work. I like what you've done with the context bar. So far I have found only one glitch. Switching preferences from initial default of day/month to month/day results in a change in the date format in Entity View and the inspector, but NOT in StoryArc View (stays day/month regardless).
-- iGregor

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shorn
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Thu May 05, 2011 12:02 am Post

Hi,

Glad to see the steps forward and the plan to get to v.1, but I now have a problem: the 0.6 download appears to be Intel-only? 0.5.3 is universal.

Is this a change?

Thanks,
Simon
Image

ma
matt
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Thu May 05, 2011 12:39 am Post

Not an intentional one, but I only have Intel Macs which makes it hard to test older hardware.

I will check to see if there is a setting I accidentally changed or a new component added that could cause this.

Do you still have access to the older version?

Matt

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shorn
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Thu May 05, 2011 12:21 pm Post

Hi Matt,

Yes, I still have the previous version (experience has made me very careful about that). Intel would normally not be a problem for me, but I am on vacation with a G4 Powerbook.

Thanks for looking into this.

--Simon
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ma
matt
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Sat May 07, 2011 1:50 am Post

I have just uploaded version 0.6.1, which is correctly compiled as a Universal Binary, and also fixes the Month/Day bug in Story Arc View.

Matt

ja
janra
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Sat May 07, 2011 3:07 am Post

Hi Matt,

Could I make an old usability request again?

In every form that involves keyboard input (inspector and new event forms especially) could you please please please go through them *keyboard only* and make sure the tab key moves you through all the entry fields in a sensible order and the location of the cursor is visible in its new location - either field halo, blinky cursor, or selected text, I don't care what it looks like as long as I know where my input point went when I tabbed out of a field!

Thanks!

ma
matt
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Sat May 07, 2011 3:58 am Post

Hi janra,
I did try to do that at one point, although I think the date picker caused a few hassles.

I will go through them again and take another look - is there anywhere in particular that you find is a problem?

Matt

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ptram
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Sat May 07, 2011 2:01 pm Post

Matt, beautiful revision. I hope to be able to use it extensively soon.

Paolo

ja
janra
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Sat May 07, 2011 2:06 pm Post

Everywhere on those two forms?

Ok, actual usage:

In the new event form tab moves the field between title, tags, and comments, if I have additional details open. If I don't, tab does nothing but hilight the title field again. If I click into the date field I can tab between the parts of the field and then leaving it I go to the title, and can't tab back into the date field. When I'm creating a new event, I double-click more or less where I want it, but the time is never quite right so I want to adjust it, usually right after giving it a title.

In the inspector, tabbing out of every field seems to take me to notes, which can't be tabbed out of because it prints a tab to the notes. The part that annoys me the most about the inspector is when I try to set the date/time: I can tab through the parts of the event start date, then when I tab out of it I keep expecting it to move to the beginning of the event end date, but it goes somewhere unknown where typing is not accepted, then a tab later to the notes. (update: the "somewhere unknown" was the AD (era) field, which was hidden because my inspector was too narrow. So the focus went directly from the event start date to the notes field.)
Last edited by janra on Sat May 07, 2011 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ja
janra
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Sat May 07, 2011 5:07 pm Post

Label colour bug (no crashing yet): when I create a new event, the colour definition for that label turns black and so all the events with that label turn black. If I go to the timeline settings I can change the label back to the colour I had it, and the display returns to the correct colour, but the next event I create does the same thing. Seems to be more likely with the default label. I'll need to test it more to be sure.

I upgraded this morning to 0.6.1, made a new story arc and a new label. At first it did this with my new label but now it does the colour switch with the default label and not the new one when I tested again.

Also, I checked the console log to see if there was anything there, and found a flood of messages from Aeon, all about displayString stuff, all for tags. I think you forgot to shut off a debug message :-) Here's one:

11-05-07 11:54:04 Aeon Timeline[61962] tokenField:displayStringForRepresentedObject: To write

ja
janra
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Sat May 07, 2011 6:16 pm Post

Regarding the label colour bug: if I close the "additional information" on the new event form, it doesn't change the colour of the label. If the form is expanded, it does change the colour.

This is while adding events to the default label.

ma
matt
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Sun May 08, 2011 1:24 am Post

janra wrote:In the inspector, tabbing out of every field seems to take me to notes, which can't be tabbed out of because it prints a tab to the notes. The part that annoys me the most about the inspector is when I try to set the date/time: I can tab through the parts of the event start date, then when I tab out of it I keep expecting it to move to the beginning of the event end date, but it goes somewhere unknown where typing is not accepted, then a tab later to the notes. (update: the "somewhere unknown" was the AD (era) field, which was hidden because my inspector was too narrow. So the focus went directly from the event start date to the notes field.)


[Edited...]

Hi janra,

I am fixing up the tab order now. It was working for me, because I didn't realise that I had 'Full Keyboard Control' enabled in System Preferences.

Matt

ja
janra
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Sun May 08, 2011 3:54 am Post

Even with full keyboard control the tab order seems a little off.

(Inspector:) I clicked in title. The next two tabs select the next two dropdowns, but there's no visible indication of this. Then the dates arrow and the dates header separately, both of which do the same thing. Then the "AD" portion of the date field. From there I can shift-tab backwards through the date, but tab just jumps AD to AD. Then it skips the tags field entirely and goes to Notes.

But yeah, making sure it works sensibly for both full keyboard control on and off is good. (And I learned something new about my mac. Also good.)

ma
matt
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Sun May 08, 2011 5:19 am Post

janra wrote:Even with full keyboard control the tab order seems a little off.

(Inspector:) I clicked in title. The next two tabs select the next two dropdowns, but there's no visible indication of this. Then the dates arrow and the dates header separately, both of which do the same thing. Then the "AD" portion of the date field. From there I can shift-tab backwards through the date, but tab just jumps AD to AD. Then it skips the tags field entirely and goes to Notes.

But yeah, making sure it works sensibly for both full keyboard control on and off is good. (And I learned something new about my mac. Also good.)


Yeah, there were still a couple of inconsistencies that I need to fix up, but it wasn't as bad as without Full Keyboard Control. The tags field is currently driving me mental - for some reason, it seems to refuse to tab into that in the correct order whether I tell it to or not.

But I'll sort it out for the next release.