Collapsible timeline

na
nachodragon
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:21 pm
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Sat Jul 23, 2011 3:49 pm Post

I am not sure how many people this will help but somehow adding a way to collapse part of the timeline would be a great feature. In one of my stories I have a lot of years in between several events and while scrolling to them there is a lot of empty space and doesn't really help. If I zoom out this does make it a little bit more bearable but then all of the events that do happen are scrunched together and doesn't really help me to visualize those events happening. Basically, if multiple events happen every twenty years, it gets to be cumbersome.

Ah
Ahab
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Location: Maine

Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:32 pm Post

Not that Matt's program is a democracy, but I'll add my vote for this feature. My Ur-event takes place around 1100, and not much happens until 1630, a brief blip around 1816, and then it's 2008 all the time.

ma
matt
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Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:10 am Post

One of the earlier incarnations of the application had a timeline that expanded and contracted in different areas based on the number of events in an area, but it was very hard to get right and was not overly usable - in the end I removed it and opted for the new system with much easier zooming in and out.

I am currently in the process of completely overhauling the UI for the final release - making it more unified and straightforward than the current multiple views approach, so I won't get to this for a while.

But there is a chance down the track, possibly post-1.0, where I will look at introducing something similar.

If I were to do it, it would not involve changing the time scales like I did previously, but instead completely omitting sections with no events and replacing them with something like a "tear in the page" to indicate that stuff is taken out.

The feature would be controlled with a toggle, so you can turn collapsing on or off.

Ideally, it might work out which sections to collapse based on your current zoom level, as it could get annoying to have to specify which parts.

Matt

na
nachodragon
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Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:52 am Post

I was thinking of exactly what you described. I would say setting the section would be the preferred method. If it were to do it based on the level of zoom, I (and other users) may not care about a given section at all and don't need to see it. I see it more as a feature people can opt into and not have it forced upon them as some people may need to see the large gap between their events and others just need to see the dates/events.

Also, this program is coming along nicely and I am happy to have stumbled across it some how.

ma
matt
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Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:51 pm Post

When I said "based on zoom level", what I was thinking was:
* If you are viewing decades at a time, and there is (for example) a 100 year stretch where you have no events, it could automatically hide those 100 years.
* If you are viewing one year a time, it would do the same for a 10 year gap.
* If you are viewing months, you might omit an entire year without events, etc.

Obviously the ratios etc. would change with experimentation (or may even be configurable), and the option could be toggled on or off if you wanted to see everything at once...

Anyway, as I said - something to think about later. It won't be something I look to do for the next little while at least.

Matt

de
deele
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:57 am Post

I'm sorry if this is going to sound b*tchy or overly critical, but my biggest problem with Aeon Timeline is that I'm a very visual person. Right now the program has absolutely no appeal to me due to the way it's designed. Honestly it looks like it came out of the 1990s.

I want something that's got drag and drop and lets me work in a far more visual manner. After looking at AT I seriously considered using OmniGraffle as a timeline kludge.

It's very disappointing to me that the folks at Literature and Latte seem to have no desire to add this functionality. Why can't I drag and drop scenes/chapters right into a timeline?

jr
jravan
Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:15 pm
Platform: Windows

Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:18 am Post

First, to understand why Scrivener will probably never have a timeline, see:

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/blog/?p=104

Second, I'm confused as to what the basis of your complaint is. Are you asking for better Scrivener integration? Or something else in AT itself?

Just curious.

User avatar
Spitfire31
Posts: 242
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Location: Sweden

Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:50 am Post

deele wrote:I'm sorry if this is going to sound b*tchy or overly critical, but my biggest problem with Aeon Timeline is that I'm a very visual person. Right now the program has absolutely no appeal to me due to the way it's designed. Honestly it looks like it came out of the 1990s.

I want something that's got drag and drop and lets me work in a far more visual manner. After looking at AT I seriously considered using OmniGraffle as a timeline kludge.

It's very disappointing to me that the folks at Literature and Latte seem to have no desire to add this functionality. Why can't I drag and drop scenes/chapters right into a timeline?

You don't seem to realise that your post comes across as the whining of a spoilt child.

FYI, AT is a product in development. Structure and basic functionality comes first, visual blingbling is second priority.

In its current guise AT is meant for users who appreciate the dedication of a single dev, who are prepared to contribute with creative ideas and constructive criticism and who enjoy being part of the development process.

Clearly, you do not belong to that group, that much you have made abundantly clear. Good luck with OmniGraffle and your writing.

/Joachim

ma
matt
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Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:02 am Post

You may be pleased to know I have been getting some advice from a User Interface designer to clean up the look and feel of the app prior to release. That new version should be available within a month or so.

As Joachim says, it is best to concentrate on the functionality first when creating software, which I have done. This new version will fix up the other side of things to match.

Matt

nb
nbfilms
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Platform: Mac

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:47 pm Post

hear, hear Joachim...
excited to see what you have in mind Matt!

Ra
Rayz
Posts: 557
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Platform: Mac

Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:01 pm Post

matt wrote:You may be pleased to know I have been getting some advice from a User Interface designer to clean up the look and feel of the app prior to release. That new version should be available within a month or so.

As Joachim says, it is best to concentrate on the functionality first when creating software, which I have done. This new version will fix up the other side of things to match.

Matt


Just a quick note to say that many appreciate your efforts to date. I used an earlier release to help with some complex scene timings and it worked brilliantly.
As if I didn't talk enough: Dom on Writing

Di
DigitalAndre
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Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:24 pm
Platform: Mac + Windows

Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:27 am Post

I think the idea of keeping a liner scale, but breaking it with a sort of "torn page" indicator, is a great one, and (to me at least) visually more intuitive than non-linear representations of the past or future or, indeed, gaps in the timeline.

If the user adds an event that falls inside one of the "torn" areas (e.g. by creating the event manually, or dragging it into the tear), then Aeon could just recalculate any required tears around it:

-A--B-C-//-D-E-//-F--G-
("-" marks a short empty period, "//" a tear in the timeline. Now I add event H somewhere between C and D, and get)
-A--B-C-//-H-//-D-E-//-F--G-

Something like that, anyway. :)

wc
wcosshall
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Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:18 am Post

Matt,

Depending on how you have built your internal data structures, it probably wouldn't be too hard to offer a non-linear view. Just thinking about it I came up with a couple of ways of achieving it, from switching from a linear to a logaritmic scale depending on the interval between adjacent events (this would work well for books that have events taking place on quite different timescales) through to a mode where all events are spaced evenly but the connecting line or scale indicates through width or the broken symbol that it is not the same time interval as elsewhere.

This is one of those areas where, ideally, you would want a number of different options to suit different writers.

Code-wise, it would mean some option buttons somewhere that set a mode flag and then the drawing code would switch on the mode flag between differing rendering code.

BTW great software. Well done.

Sorry for the input, just from one coder to another, and in no way critical. Moving to 1.0 I am sure you have other things on your mind.

Cheers,

Wayne