New User - Some ideas

gi
gilgamesh
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Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:50 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:08 pm Post

First off, thanks for developing this program, it seems to fit into a place that is unusually vacant.

I only started using this program yesterday, helping me keep track of a historical event I am writing a screenplay about. As I worked I wrote a few notes about things I wished I could do with Aeon Timeline, and wanted to share my thoughts. Sorry if any of these points have been discussed before, I looked through the previous comments as best I could.

• It'd be nice to have check boxes for entities at the bottom of the event entry box that appears. It would be much faster than connecting them manually.

• When you select an event on the timeline it should become much more obviously selected (so you can track down the line to the connecting entities)

• There should be a way to enter a time as less specific (give the user a choice of not putting in the hours) like when you click on "all day" in iCal and the appointment changes to not show the time.

• is it possible to export notes in beedocs timeline - perhaps I didn't do this correctly but I only seemed to have the event titles, not the notes

• It would be nice to have an "importance" level that changes the size of the event. Something like 1-10. Visually, this would help identify major plot points as opposed to small events.

• Could the timeline have a playhead bar? like in final cut pro, where the date moves forward when you press space bar, and the most recent event is shown in the display? This is probably better suited for another program that was more focused on presentation, but thought it might be an idea to consider.

• Could the entities (and events) have a place to embed photos or videos? A photos connected to a person is a nice touch, and connected to my other suggestion about check boxes for entities, it could be a small photos of that person that appears when we are just viewing the event (and not editing). Although I don't think there is any distinction between viewing and editing in your interface, but you get the idea I hope.

Thanks again for working on the program. I'll be using it for this project, and look forward to seeing further improvements.

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Spitfire31
Posts: 242
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Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:41 am Post

First off, in http://aeontimeline.wordpress.com/latest-version/ the latest beta (0.8.4) is said to expire at the end of January. But when I launch it, I get a warning that it's due to expire on Nov 30. Which one is correct?

Then, I think that Gilgamesh came up with some valid points.

gilgamesh wrote:First off, thanks for developing this program, it seems to fit into a place that is unusually vacant.

Hear, hear!

gilgamesh wrote:• It'd be nice to have check boxes for entities at the bottom of the event entry box that appears. It would be much faster than connecting them manually.

I concur. It would smooth the work flow quite a bit. Maybe for 1.1?

gilgamesh wrote:• When you select an event on the timeline it should become much more obviously selected (so you can track down the line to the connecting entities)

The default colours are a bit murky. Perhaps clearer colours and a fatter line would make the selection more eye-catching?

gilgamesh wrote:• There should be a way to enter a time as less specific (give the user a choice of not putting in the hours) like when you click on "all day" in iCal and the appointment changes to not show the time.

Very good point, I think. Even just having to look at hours, minutes and seconds when dealing with events where the time of day is irrelevant is a bit of a disturbance. An option to select the temporal precision would be welcome.

gilgamesh wrote:• It would be nice to have an "importance" level that changes the size of the event. Something like 1-10. Visually, this would help identify major plot points as opposed to small events.

I like this one a lot. While 1-10 might be a bit over the top, at least 'importance level' 1 to 5 (to keep the size reasonable while still showing meaningful differences) would add another graphical cue dimension. Please, in a point update?

gilgamesh wrote:• Could the entities (and events) have a place to embed photos or videos? A photos connected to a person is a nice touch, and connected to my other suggestion about check boxes for entities, it could be a small photos of that person that appears when we are just viewing the event (and not editing).

I suspect this might be for a future version (1.2?) as I believe that Matt will want to lock down features pretty soon for the first release. But it would be a very helpful feature once the number of entities grows. And of course, the picture doesn't need to be a portrait; it could be a flag or a symbol or whatever.

Just as an example, in my current synopsis I have two twin brothers, one who became a Nazi and the other one a commando with the Swedish army. I keep confusing them and an option to put that ugly crooked cross on one and the Swedish Army badge on the other would simplify things a lot.

And, praeterea censeo Carthaginem esse delendam: my number one plea is to have zoom center on the selected event!

Best,

Joachim

gi
gilgamesh
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Platform: Mac

Fri Nov 25, 2011 11:45 pm Post

Some more thoughts:

• would be nice to tab through the events, or use arrow keys.

• Sometimes is seems as though some notes which are written in the entities boxes disappear. Haven't figured out when this happens exactly, but notes I have written have definitely gone missing. Once it is there, and the doc saved, it seems to stay. This is a very nebulous description of the bug, I will try to repeat and report.

• Perhaps a timeline center box so I could just write in "1965" and it would jump to that year or date. I also strongly agree with Joachim who asked for the zoom feature to centre on the event you are looking at.

• When in timeline settings, clicking on the space below should not add a label, it's too easy to add one without wanting to. Also, when you click on a name to change it, the edit box should go away when you click on another label. It stays there, and then it is not possible to use the "-" button to erase ones you don't want.

• Events that are on the same day should have their bullet marker in line with each other. The line that connects to the entities can move over, but it is confusing to see two events that happen on the same day be misaligned.

I also agree with Joachim that 1-10 importance level is probably a lot. But 1-5 would be great.

gi
gilgamesh
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:00 am Post

I have some more ideas. Sorry if ask too much :)

•When writing a note in a entitiy entry, if you add another entity (pressing on the button) the notes written in the previous entity disappear.

•Be nice to have the option to sort entities as well as have your own default placement, like being able to sort alphabetical, by age, by type, etc.

•Spell check in the notes section (or everywhere really)

•Tags for entities. Perhaps a way to connect two contacts - something that indicated relationships, like "brother of JOHN" or "worked for POST OFFICE" (as though John and Post Office were previously entered entities.

•Related to the last suggestion, perhaps a way to auto connect entities with events while you are writing a note about it. Kind of like a tag in twitter or facebook where you write @john (and it automatically connects JOHN to the note). For example the note for the event "Finally a Job!" could be "@john gets a job at the @Post Office. The connections would happen automatically without having to click on anything else.

ma
matt
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:03 am Post

gilgamesh wrote:First off, thanks for developing this program, it seems to fit into a place that is unusually vacant.

I only started using this program yesterday, helping me keep track of a historical event I am writing a screenplay about. As I worked I wrote a few notes about things I wished I could do with Aeon Timeline, and wanted to share my thoughts. Sorry if any of these points have been discussed before, I looked through the previous comments as best I could.


Firstly, thanks for using the software and posting this feedback. It is always good to get more suggestions. As Joachim points out, I am trying to work to a fairly limited list now so that I can get a proper commercial release out the door.

So some of these suggestions may not make it to the first release - but I am keeping a list of further ideas to consider once the first release is done, and they will go onto that list.

gilgamesh wrote:• It'd be nice to have check boxes for entities at the bottom of the event entry box that appears. It would be much faster than connecting them manually.


This would work okay for just a few entities, but could become more problematic for timelines I have seen where there are dozens of entities involved.

That said, I agree that it would be good to streamline this process.

gilgamesh wrote:• When you select an event on the timeline it should become much more obviously selected (so you can track down the line to the connecting entities)


I will look to add a setting for how "highlighted" this becomes...?

gilgamesh wrote:• There should be a way to enter a time as less specific (give the user a choice of not putting in the hours) like when you click on "all day" in iCal and the appointment changes to not show the time.


This is one that has been brought up a fair bit, in the sense of wanting to be able to provide less precision, although no one has suggested an "all day" checkbox, which is probably the best presentation idea I have heard so far. I will look at how iCal does it and think about how the layout and formatting could work.

gilgamesh wrote:• is it possible to export notes in beedocs timeline - perhaps I didn't do this correctly but I only seemed to have the event titles, not the notes


Unless it has been updated since I last looked, Bee Doc's importer doesn't allow notes.

gilgamesh wrote:• It would be nice to have an "importance" level that changes the size of the event. Something like 1-10. Visually, this would help identify major plot points as opposed to small events.


I have thought about wanting some kind of "importance" option before, but hadn't thought of a good way to present the information. Changing size is one option that may work - I will add it to the list to think about, and see what could be done.

gilgamesh wrote:• Could the timeline have a playhead bar? like in final cut pro, where the date moves forward when you press space bar, and the most recent event is shown in the display? This is probably better suited for another program that was more focused on presentation, but thought it might be an idea to consider.


Do you just mean a "jump to end of timeline" option?

gilgamesh wrote:• Could the entities (and events) have a place to embed photos or videos? A photos connected to a person is a nice touch, and connected to my other suggestion about check boxes for entities, it could be a small photos of that person that appears when we are just viewing the event (and not editing). Although I don't think there is any distinction between viewing and editing in your interface, but you get the idea I hope.


This is a nice idea, but will definitely not be before the first release - there is a fair bit of work associated with this. The biggest issues would be how to lay out the interface, how it actually gets displayed, etc.

gilgamesh wrote:• would be nice to tab through the events, or use arrow keys.


This is already on my list.

gilgamesh wrote:• Sometimes is seems as though some notes which are written in the entities boxes disappear. Haven't figured out when this happens exactly, but notes I have written have definitely gone missing. Once it is there, and the doc saved, it seems to stay. This is a very nebulous description of the bug, I will try to repeat and report.


I will keep an eye out for it, but if you are able to provide any definite details, that will help immensely.

gilgamesh wrote:• Perhaps a timeline center box so I could just write in "1965" and it would jump to that year or date.


Hit Cmd-J and you will get what you want.

gilgamesh wrote:• When in timeline settings, clicking on the space below should not add a label, it's too easy to add one without wanting to. Also, when you click on a name to change it, the edit box should go away when you click on another label. It stays there, and then it is not possible to use the "-" button to erase ones you don't want.


Thanks, will take a look.

gilgamesh wrote:• Events that are on the same day should have their bullet marker in line with each other. The line that connects to the entities can move over, but it is confusing to see two events that happen on the same day be misaligned.


I think this would become even more confusing though, trying to match up the entity markers to the bullets if they are not offset.

If you want to see the markers aligned exactly, you can turn off "View Relationships" in the toolbar and it will revert to showing the correct position.

You can then filter events by a particular entity or group of entities, if you wish, which can give you some information about entities while the relationships are switched off.

ma
matt
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:07 am Post

You slipped in before me...

gilgamesh wrote:•When writing a note in a entitiy entry, if you add another entity (pressing on the button) the notes written in the previous entity disappear.


I will take a look at this. Is this the issue you think you were seeing previously?

gilgamesh wrote:•Be nice to have the option to sort entities as well as have your own default placement, like being able to sort alphabetical, by age, by type, etc.


You can sort them by dragging them around currently. Good idea to sort them by other details such as this - will probably be post-1.0, but definitely something I will look at.

gilgamesh wrote:•Spell check in the notes section (or everywhere really)


Hmm... spell check comes default with some controls and not others - and sadly, not with the one I used. I will see what can be done to switch it on.

gilgamesh wrote:•Tags for entities. Perhaps a way to connect two contacts - something that indicated relationships, like "brother of JOHN" or "worked for POST OFFICE" (as though John and Post Office were previously entered entities.

•Related to the last suggestion, perhaps a way to auto connect entities with events while you are writing a note about it. Kind of like a tag in twitter or facebook where you write @john (and it automatically connects JOHN to the note). For example the note for the event "Finally a Job!" could be "@john gets a job at the @Post Office. The connections would happen automatically without having to click on anything else.


Neat idea, although I would have to think about it further to see exactly how to work it in. Again, this would need to be pushed to post-1.0 if implemented.

ma
matt
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:11 am Post

Spitfire31 wrote:And, praeterea censeo Carthaginem esse delendam: my number one plea is to have zoom center on the selected event!


At present, when zooming with gestures/Cmd-scrolling, it zooms on the mouse cursor, and when using toolbar buttons, it keeps the centre of the current view position, which I think is the correct behaviour.

Otherwise, you may have scrolled to a completely different section of the timeline, attempt to zoom, and find yourself thrown back to a different position you were viewing 10 minutes ago when you last selected an entity.

Perhaps an additional key (eg. holding down alt/option) could revert to centre on selected event, but I don't think it would work as a default behaviour.

gi
gilgamesh
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:05 am Post

Thanks for the reply Matt. I understand you'll be making an official release soon but it's great you're making a list of future features for a 1.x release.

About your questions:

The playhead bar - the more I used the program I realized this suggestion didn't make much sense so forget about it. I think I was thinking that you could have a playhead that moves forward slowly like a movie would. Again, it's more of a presentation thing, and I don't think that is what this program is focused on.

The entitiy note disappearing bug is the one I mentioned before. I've repeated the bug a few times to be sure.

Zooming. For some reason when I use the zoom it brings me to entirely different times than what I am viewing. My timeline runs from about 1912 to 1960ish. On screen is a time period between 1949-1951. When I press command+ or press the menu bar button it gives me 1936. I am not sure if I am doing something wrong, or not understanding something about the zoom feature, but it just doesn't seem like it should do that.

ma
matt
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:40 am Post

gilgamesh wrote:Zooming. For some reason when I use the zoom it brings me to entirely different times than what I am viewing. My timeline runs from about 1912 to 1960ish. On screen is a time period between 1949-1951. When I press command+ or press the menu bar button it gives me 1936. I am not sure if I am doing something wrong, or not understanding something about the zoom feature, but it just doesn't seem like it should do that.


Sounds like a bug, I will check it out.

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Spitfire31
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Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:34 am Post

matt wrote:
Spitfire31 wrote:And, praeterea censeo Carthaginem esse delendam: my number one plea is to have zoom center on the selected event!


At present, when zooming with gestures/Cmd-scrolling, it zooms on the mouse cursor, and when using toolbar buttons, it keeps the centre of the current view position, which I think is the correct behaviour.
On my 'typewriter' system, MB Pro Leopard 10.5.8, zoom works as you say (zooming to the cursor) when zooming with Cmd + scroll wheel. That's expected behaviour and very useful.

However, when I zoom in using the toolbar button, I end up somewhere completely different. Just now, I had focus on the years 2000 to 2006 (with 2003/4 centered on the screen) and when I hit the '+' zoom button, I ended up in 1969 to 1972!

This seems to be related to the zoom problem that Gilgamesh reported above. I think there's a bug somewhere, in Leopard and in its Snow sibling. On the plus side, if I hit the '–' zoom button, I get back to where I was.

Related but separate:

• It would be nice if Aeon would remember the focus and the time line zoom level for the next time I open a certain file. I just discovered that Aeon reacts differently in Leopard and Snow Leopard.

In Leopard, when I reopen the last file, I do get the same zoom level but focus is on the start of the era I have defined originally, in this case 1910. But my last work was on the time span 2000 to 2006…

In Snow Leopard it's a bit worse, because everything is forgotten. My defined era (1910 to 2015) is compressed in the middle of the time line, which spans 1851 to 2101!

So, there seems to be some glitches in this respect. Ideally, I would like Aeon to open a file in the same spot and with the same zoom level as when I closed it.

Also, I would appreciate it if Aeon would open the last file automatically when launched. This doesn't happen in either of my two systems, 10.5.8 and 10.6.8, both on MB Pros.

So far, I'm leaving Lion to the masochists, not least because some pro audio features are messed up.

Best regards,

Joachim

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matt
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Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:15 am Post

Spitfire31 wrote:However, when I zoom in using the toolbar button, I end up somewhere completely different. Just now, I had focus on the years 2000 to 2006 (with 2003/4 centered on the screen) and when I hit the '+' zoom button, I ended up in 1969 to 1972!


Yep, there's a bug there, will look into it.

Spitfire31 wrote:• It would be nice if Aeon would remember the focus and the time line zoom level for the next time I open a certain file. I just discovered that Aeon reacts differently in Leopard and Snow Leopard.

In Leopard, when I reopen the last file, I do get the same zoom level but focus is on the start of the era I have defined originally, in this case 1910. But my last work was on the time span 2000 to 2006…

In Snow Leopard it's a bit worse, because everything is forgotten. My defined era (1910 to 2015) is compressed in the middle of the time line, which spans 1851 to 2101!

So, there seems to be some glitches in this respect. Ideally, I would like Aeon to open a file in the same spot and with the same zoom level as when I closed it.


Again, this is just a bug for an intended feature.

Spitfire31 wrote:Also, I would appreciate it if Aeon would open the last file automatically when launched. This doesn't happen in either of my two systems, 10.5.8 and 10.6.8, both on MB Pros.


This comes with Lion automatically.

I did have it do this for a while (opening the last used file), but took it out when Lion came along until I can implement it properly.

Ideally, it should open whatever was open last time you quit, including nothing if the last document was closed, rather than always opening whatever is top of the list.

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Spitfire31
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Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:54 am Post

matt wrote:…Ideally, it [Aeon] should open whatever was open last time you quit, including nothing if the last document was closed, rather than always opening whatever is top of the list.

Yes, that sounds like correct behaviour.

Good luck with the bug hunt!

/Joachim

gi
gilgamesh
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Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:39 pm Post

Some newer thoughts for features:

• a web address bar in an event?

• be able to copy and paste events in the timeline (for a situation where simultanious events took place that were similar but not the same)

Some bugs:

• If you are writing a note for an entity, and before going to another entity or event you change the colour of the entity, you lose all changes in your note.

• When going to a date with control-j, when you press RETURN it should activate the "OK" button. It doesn't seem to do that for me (after changing a date in the window).

Oh, and btw I thought I'd say that I am using the program on a white macbook with Lion, in case that changes anything for debugging.

Ra
Rayz
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Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:35 am Post

matt wrote:[

gilgamesh wrote:• When you select an event on the timeline it should become much more obviously selected (so you can track down the line to the connecting entities)


I will look to add a setting for how "highlighted" this becomes...?



That would be great if you could do it. Once the events start to build up it starts to get a bit tricky to see which line goes where unless you expand the timeline.
As if I didn't talk enough: Dom on Writing

ma
matt
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Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:53 am Post

gilgamesh wrote:Also, when you click on a name to change it, the edit box should go away when you click on another label. It stays there, and then it is not possible to use the "-" button to erase ones you don't want.


I can't reproduce this...

When I am editing a label name and click elsewhere, it ends editing and selects the new object as expected.

Out of interest, what OS are you using?

Matt