How do you use Timeline for really long events?

Ow
OwenRawlings
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:29 pm
Platform: Mac

Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:54 pm Post

I've been using Timeline for nearly four months now. I'm wondering if other users have encountered this issue and how you deal with it.

Planning a series of crime fiction novels that cover a 70 year time period, I frequently find myself having to enter information about situations that last for years or even decades. The First world war would be an obvious example, but I also have characters whose marriages go through periods when they’re not living in the same house, let alone sleeping in the same room. Other characters are juggling multiple relationships, that last for years.

The consequence is that I end up having extremely long bars across the screen most of the time. Furthermore, at the point when there is a huge amount of different events being recorded - the events that actual make up the novel - these bars can end up in the middle of the screen and clog things up.

I suspect there's a way of using tags or the arcs that I've simply not seen. Any ideas??

Solutions I've tried so far, but am unhappy with are…
1) the one I've just described: setting up single events with very long durations. The advantage is that I just have to click on a long bar to be certain what event is still ongoing. The disadvantage is a clogged up messy screen.

2) setting up two separate events - a 'start and an 'end' that have no duration. The advantage is that I lose the long bar, but the problem is that I have to go searching around to find out where the new event I'm trying to enter comes in relation to the long-term event. For example, suppose a character is going to have a one night stand, it's relevant to know automatically if this is before or after the divorce is final.

Thanks in advance
Owen
Owen Rawlings, Ashopton, Nr Sheffield, Derbyshire

ma
matt
Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Sun Dec 18, 2011 4:14 pm Post

I don't have a good answer for this right now (probably because it is 3am), but I will give it some thought.

Hopefully someone else has suggestions for you.

To turn it around, what would you want Aeon to do to make it easier for you?

Ow
OwenRawlings
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:29 pm
Platform: Mac

Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:14 pm Post

I think the simplest addition that might be of broader use to other users would be a not search function. So, to use my long events example, if they were all tagged 'long event' then I would do a search for all events that are not tagged in this way. So, as well as 'match any criteria' we need a 'Not match any criteria' in the first menu selection for filters. (I suspect that a 'not match all criteria' logical analysis is also valid.)

A similar expansion would be to change the way that events are chosen for display when arc mode is switched on and off. At the moment, we can choose which arcs are displayed when arc mode is switched on. Then, only the events assigned to those arcs appear, but they are all separated into their assigned arcs. That is, of course, an extremely helpful feature. However, suppose that a similar thing happened when arc mode was turned off: instead of displaying all events only those events assigned to the arcs that are switch on were displayed. In this instance, I would assign my long events to a separate arc that can be toggled on and off, much as I constantly toggle which entities are shown to match the particular needs of the novel under scrutiny at that time.

This would probably also be a useful approach for my other posting about repeated events. Yes, a repeating event of 'Wednesday half day closing' would produce some 500 events for a ten year period. So, I would like to assign those events to a separate arc that I can toggle on and off and which would not appear when irrelevant. Maybe you'd want to specify that this arc becomes a designated arc that Timeline creates and will not allow a user to reassign the repeating event to a different arc. My reference to iCal was therefore deliberate: I have all sorts of reminders set up that repeat weekly for an indefinite period. It handles huge amounts of date information; does Apple provide any hints towards the way they do that? It's a while since I was tinkering with programming, but I was also stunned and deeply impressed with the code Apple did freely share for developers (late 90s).
Owen Rawlings, Ashopton, Nr Sheffield, Derbyshire

Ow
OwenRawlings
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 9:29 pm
Platform: Mac

Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:39 pm Post

Hi Matt
I posted the above before discovering that 0.9.1 is available. Evidently the idea of moving long events to the top of the screen is a response to my comment. Many thanks. First impression is that this goes a very long way towards to dealing with the issue I've raised. Searching my main timeline, I initially guessed you've set the criterion of 'long event' at 24 hours; that seems to be working well. There are a few anomalies, but I'll get back to you another time on that.
Owen
Owen Rawlings, Ashopton, Nr Sheffield, Derbyshire

ma
matt
Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:23 pm Post

Hi,
I will read through your suggestion later and give it some thought.

And yes, the long events was in response to your comment.

They are actually based on the length of the bar at current zoom, so as you zoom in, extra events might be considered "long", and as you zoom out, less will.

Matt