Locking events & Marking events for multiple story arcs?

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nbfilms
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Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:21 am Post

Hello,

First off, Aeon is fantastic! I work with a small writer's group and we're knee-deep into several hundred events over 8 story arcs on Aeon, and so far it has given us only the smallest bit of trouble. It works much better than most of the online timeline programs we've used. We're loving it!

Last night, I unveiled our timeline on a 60" television to a new group of writers who are joining us. Aeon was met with "ooo's and ahhh's". Everyone loves the dual views!

As was to be expected, everyone started playing with it, and before long, many of the events were thrown out of whack by accidental mouse moves. Is there a way to lock off events once you're happy with them? (I apologize if I've missed an existing feature).

If not, I'd love to see a little lock event icon in the inspector when you're editing/creating an event/entity. I've accidentally knocked events out of whack more than once, due to my sloppy mouse skills. ^_^

Another suggestion: The ability to mark an event for more than one story arc (say it affects 1-4 of 8 story arcs). That would be great, rather than manually remaking similar events for multiple story arcs (which we're doing now). Even a "duplicate event" function could speed that up considerably.

Thanks again for an awesome program. I'm really excited about upcoming Aeon/Scrivener sharing functionality! Keep up the great work!

ma
matt
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Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:27 pm Post

I hope you had a backup before you let them all start dragging events everywhere!

Thanks for the suggestion - you are right, I could see a lot of benefit to being able to lock events. The only issue is what happens when you genuinely want to move an event, and have completely forgotten the lock is in place. Otherwise, I expect I would get a lot of bug reports from people saying their events are stuck!

It can disallow the move easily enough, but there would need to be something that guides the user to unlock the event if they do actually want it moved. A popup message is one option, but could be very annoying for the user.

Can you think of any alternative methods?

One option I am considering some kind of message system that flashes on the screen for a while, but disappears by itself after a while if the user ignores it might be better than one where the user has to click OK every time.

---------------

Regarding events spread across multiple Story Arcs:

The 'Global Story Arc' is intended to reflect Global events that are relevant to multiple story arcs - but I can see where it would be helpful to have more control than that.

I have had it on my list for a while, but I am yet to come up with a really convincing way to make it happen.

I can just allow events to belong to multiple Story Arcs and draw them accordingly, but then I would prefer the visual representation to be clear that some of them are just "copies" of events elsewhere, and moving one will affect them all.

But maybe I am over-thinking that and it is not necessary to make it explicit.

---------------

Finally - thanks for your replies in the other threads also. Some of those old posts are still sitting around on my to-do list of things I want to consider, once I find time and a good way to implement them.

I won't reply to each of those posts individually.

Matt

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xiamenese
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:02 am Post

matt wrote:It can disallow the move easily enough, but there would need to be something that guides the user to unlock the event if they do actually want it moved. A popup message is one option, but could be very annoying for the user.

Can you think of any alternative methods?

One option I am considering some kind of message system that flashes on the screen for a while, but disappears by itself after a while if the user ignores it might be better than one where the user has to click OK every time.Matt

Growl integration? Then each user could choose whether and for how long it stayed on screen and if they needed to click the close button. If another kind of alert box appeared and then disappeared, if too short they might miss it; if too long it might get annoying; some might prefer to have to dismiss it themselves.

I'm not a developer, but it seems to me that Growl has already done the spade-work (together with customisable alert styles) and I would guess that it would be possible to set it so that clicking the body of the Growl message would do the unlocking ... to simply close it with no other action you have to click in the .

Mark
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 2:31 am Post

xiamenese wrote:
matt wrote:It can disallow the move easily enough, but there would need to be something that guides the user to unlock the event if they do actually want it moved. A popup message is one option, but could be very annoying for the user.

Can you think of any alternative methods?

One option I am considering some kind of message system that flashes on the screen for a while, but disappears by itself after a while if the user ignores it might be better than one where the user has to click OK every time.Matt

Growl integration? Then each user could choose whether and for how long it stayed on screen and if they needed to click the close button. If another kind of alert box appeared and then disappeared, if too short they might miss it; if too long it might get annoying; some might prefer to have to dismiss it themselves.

I'm not a developer, but it seems to me that Growl has already done the spade-work (together with customisable alert styles) and I would guess that it would be possible to set it so that clicking the body of the Growl message would do the unlocking ... to simply close it with no other action you have to click in the .

Mark


The only problem with Growl is that it is generally used to provide notifications for background applications rather than the foreground application you are currently using.

As a result, if I am busy working on something and I see a Growl message, I often completely ignore it and don't even look up to read the message - I just assume it is something else and I will deal with it later.

If this matches the experience of others, then it is unlikely they would connect the appearance of a Growl message with an action they are currently performing, and are likely to overlook its significance.

Matt

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Spitfire31
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:07 am Post

matt wrote: The only issue is what happens when you genuinely want to move an event, and have completely forgotten the lock is in place. Otherwise, I expect I would get a lot of bug reports from people saying their events are stuck!

It can disallow the move easily enough, but there would need to be something that guides the user to unlock the event if they do actually want it moved. A popup message is one option, but could be very annoying for the user.

Can you think of any alternative methods?
...
Matt

Adding a small padlock to a locked event might be a bit over the top, perhaps.

I thought about making the locked event icon unfilled, but that might cause confusion with the Event view 'Observer' icon. What about a simple, permanent lock indicator, such as a full stop in the middle of the event circle in Arc view?

While I'm on line, could I please enter a plea for dynamically updated date/time readouts when pushing events around, in both views? Right now it's hit or miss, unless I actually type in the time info.

Best,

Joachim

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Sat Jul 16, 2011 12:08 pm Post

Thank you for your reply!
Hahaha, yes it was a copy! If I've learned anything, it's don't let the mob fondle the original! ^_^

I agree, locking is useful, but needs a careful balance not to annoy the user. So far, I have yet to work in Aeon (both views) without the inspector turned on. It's helpful to have a big monitor to work on, but regardless it helps me quickly make changes.

With a lock function, if I try to move an event and it doesn't move, I could glance right to the inspector and see a "locked" icon displayed in the lower section of the inspector (perhaps similar to the permissions lock on an osx "info" window) that would remind me to unlock before changing. This would apply to the info in the event as well as physically moving it. This seems adequate for my needs, but I would be interested to hear if this method would work for others.

Selecting multiple events to reposition a group would necessitate unlocking for all selected events with a single click of the lock icon (and perhaps a "right-click --> lock/unlock" function would speed things up as well). On that note, being able to select multiple events and group/un-group them would be a killer feature in v2.0 or whenever.

Perhaps a small, light dot in the center of an event marker (or on the front of entity-view balloon) could signify a locked event?
lock ideas.jpg
lock ideas.jpg (41.85 KiB) Viewed 1355 times
This may be a complete pain from a rendering standpoint (I know nothing of software engineering, so I apologize for the oversimplification). I'll try to come up with some tasteful ideas.

The Global story arc is wonderful, and extremely useful. I'm treading on an overly complicated timeline, to be sure, but it's great to have a tool that will allow us to see all the major story events over many intertwining story arcs. I think you are right to want an explicit sign that the events are copies across multiple story arcs. That may require another type of graphic signal. I'll try to come up with some good ideas for that as well.

Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on. Let me end by saying that you've got some ravenous fans here, and we'll be ready to purchase when the time comes. Thanks again for putting together such as a great piece of software!

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xiamenese
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:36 pm Post

matt wrote:The only problem with Growl is that it is generally used to provide notifications for background applications rather than the foreground application you are currently using.

As a result, if I am busy working on something and I see a Growl message, I often completely ignore it and don't even look up to read the message - I just assume it is something else and I will deal with it later.

If this matches the experience of others, then it is unlikely they would connect the appearance of a Growl message with an action they are currently performing, and are likely to overlook its significance.

Matt

True ... mind you, I always pay attention to Growl notifications. And it was just a suggestion ... :)

Mark
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matt
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:16 am Post

xiamenese wrote:True ... mind you, I always pay attention to Growl notifications. And it was just a suggestion ... :)

Mark


Sorry - I wasn't being critical of the suggestion. I appreciate it and have looked into it further as a result. I was just musing about my own expectations of growl messages - that they are in no way connected with what I am currently doing - and wondering whether that is shared with others also.

It is certainly preferable to rolling my own, if people will interpret them the correct way.

Spitfire31 wrote:Adding a small padlock to a locked event might be a bit over the top, perhaps.

I thought about making the locked event icon unfilled, but that might cause confusion with the Event view 'Observer' icon. What about a simple, permanent lock indicator, such as a full stop in the middle of the event circle in Arc view?


A padlock icon would certainly be the clearest and most easily understood - I think I would prefer that to just a dot, which could mean just about anything, and would therefore require specialist knowledge to know what was going on.

This is more intended to help people who have forgotten the lock feature exists altogether.

Spitfire31 wrote:While I'm on line, could I please enter a plea for dynamically updated date/time readouts when pushing events around, in both views? Right now it's hit or miss, unless I actually type in the time info.


This has been on the "to-do prior to release" list for quite some time now.

In addition to displaying the date, I intend to use the zoom to guide how deep the change should go. For example, if you are zoomed out to show a full year and you drag an event from "05/01/2011 11:00am" to a different day or month, it will retain the 11:00am as you drag.

Both should make dragging events around a lot easier to use.

Matt

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xiamenese
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:39 am Post

matt wrote:
xiamenese wrote:True ... mind you, I always pay attention to Growl notifications. And it was just a suggestion ... :)

Mark


Sorry - I wasn't being critical of the suggestion. I appreciate it and have looked into it further as a result. I was just musing about my own expectations of growl messages - that they are in no way connected with what I am currently doing - and wondering whether that is shared with others also.

It is certainly preferable to rolling my own, if people will interpret them the correct way.

Matt

Don't worry, I didn't think you were, and I do take your point. I have to say I am not using Aeon Timeline ... I have no need or use for a timeline in my work as a translation editor and linguistics lecturer, though I follow these threads and often wish I did have a use for it. And sadly, certainly for the moment, have no time or energy for any other kind of writing for which it might be useful.

Mark
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iMac 27" (late 2015) 10.15.4, 24GB RAM, 512GB SSID
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Spitfire31
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:58 am Post

matt wrote:
Spitfire31 wrote:While I'm on line, could I please enter a plea for dynamically updated date/time readouts when pushing events around, in both views? Right now it's hit or miss, unless I actually type in the time info.


This has been on the "to-do prior to release" list for quite some time now.

In addition to displaying the date, I intend to use the zoom to guide how deep the change should go. For example, if you are zoomed out to show a full year and you drag an event from "05/01/2011 11:00am" to a different day or month, it will retain the 11:00am as you drag.

Both should make dragging events around a lot easier to use.

Matt

Thank you very much! That sounds like an excellent solution.

Joachim

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Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:41 pm Post

Spitfire31 wrote:Thank you very much! That sounds like an excellent solution.


I have implemented the text readout and the limited granularity of drag based on zoom in the 'Scrivener Sync Alpha' mentioned in the other thread. If you don't want to test out the Scriv Sync, you can still download it and let me know if the implementation meets your hopes and needs.

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Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:08 pm Post

matt wrote:
Spitfire31 wrote:Thank you very much! That sounds like an excellent solution.


I have implemented the text readout and the limited granularity of drag based on zoom in the 'Scrivener Sync Alpha' mentioned in the other thread. If you don't want to test out the Scriv Sync, you can still download it and let me know if the implementation meets your hopes and needs.

Thank you, Matt! Works just like my mind's eye had imagined. Makes the (my) workflow so much smoother and more intuitive!

/Joachim

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Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:47 pm Post

And of course, now that we have a text readout when dragging events, I can just change that to say "Event is locked" when trying to drag a locked event.

No need to clog the interface with locked symbols or worry about Growl interpretations.

Matt

(Typed from bed at 2am so I don't forget by morning)

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Spitfire31
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 3:02 am Post

matt wrote:And of course, now that we have a text readout when dragging events, I can just change that to say "Event is locked" when trying to drag a locked event.

No need to clog the interface with locked symbols or worry about Growl interpretations.

Matt

(Typed from bed at 2am so I don't forget by morning)

Brilliant!

You must feel like Alfred Nobel did one sleepless night in 1887 when he hit on a formula for smokeless gunpowder, consisting of ingredients he already had in front of him in his Paris home lab.

/Joachim

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:05 am Post

Fantastic. Love the new functionality!