Aeon Timeline Version 0.1 (Beta)

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rhacer
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Location: Portland, OR

Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:22 pm Post

Matt,

I think it looks fabulous. Thank you very much for your efforts in putting it together.

I do have a few comments from my limited play time with it so far...

* It feels un-intuitive to me to have to set a birth date for a character I'm trying to create. I would like to be able to create a character, and if called for at a later point set a birth-date or a death-date.

* There is not enough of a visual clue that the date that is displayed on the Create Character or Create Event dialogue is clickable. While I should have figured that out quite quickly it took me far longer than I would have expected to figure out how to adjust the date of an event.

* I'm not sure this even possible as I'm currently trying to code it in my head and haven't come up with a good solution, but I would love to be able to have a sort of "order of granularity" to dates from "Timothy Grant was born in 1963" to "Timothy Grant was born in August, 1963" to "Timothy Grant was born on August 16th, 1963". That way the timeline can solidify as the plot solidifies.

Once again, thank you.

timothy.

ha
hawksmoor
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Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:55 pm Post

Beginned to play with the beta, and having read the known issue I spent 10 minutes trying to set the correct start date (it figures!)... but I'm stubborn and finally I set the correct date, and right now it works without problem (if not some minor UI glitches, but is something I have to pay more attention). The app is very good, being a .1 release...

Ciao, Andrea
Coffee lover

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:15 am Post

PJS wrote:Matt --

Mostly so far, I'm just playing with it, in odd time free from other tasks. Really need an extended period of time to get into it. One factor: I'm a (relative) newcomer to Mac, so still not fully appreciative of how similarly different apps operate -- still a surprise to try something on a hunch and find out, yeah, that's the way it works. Like sliding the characters and events around.

One small question: since the LH blue bar repeats the slider action, do you even need the slider?

Anyway, it's lovely.

Phil


The overview bar on the left hand side will have increased functionality later on - when you mouse over it, it will show a magnified view, and display the date of where you are hovering.

The scroll bars on the right hand side perform the same action, but is more instantly recognisable to the user. It felt strange to me to have a scroll panel without any scroll bars - it means the user is unlikely to realise that the scroll wheel on a mouse, or double-finger scrolling on my MacBook, will work to scroll up and down the timeline.

Also - it seems for smaller screens, it will be good to be able to hide the overview bar completely, in which case the scrollbars are more important.

Matt

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:16 am Post

MrGruff wrote:Matt,

Brief apologies - I have just submitted comments using the blog form before reviewing posts here. I now find that you are already addressing everything I mentioned.

:?

The app's looking very promising.

Huw Evans


No problem, thanks for downloading the application and giving it a run.

Better to get feedback twice than to not get it at all.

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 12:26 am Post

rhacer wrote:Matt,

I think it looks fabulous. Thank you very much for your efforts in putting it together.


Thanks.

rhacer wrote:* It feels un-intuitive to me to have to set a birth date for a character I'm trying to create. I would like to be able to create a character, and if called for at a later point set a birth-date or a death-date.


The reason birth dates are required from the start is so that ages can be displayed next to all of their events. If characters don't have a date of birth, there would be nothing to calculate their age from.

rhacer wrote:* There is not enough of a visual clue that the date that is displayed on the Create Character or Create Event dialogue is clickable. While I should have figured that out quite quickly it took me far longer than I would have expected to figure out how to adjust the date of an event.


Good point... is there some standard Mac way to say "click on this"? I don't want to include the full date panel in that interface if I can avoid it, but it would be good to give a better visual clue.

rhacer wrote:* I'm not sure this even possible as I'm currently trying to code it in my head and haven't come up with a good solution, but I would love to be able to have a sort of "order of granularity" to dates from "Timothy Grant was born in 1963" to "Timothy Grant was born in August, 1963" to "Timothy Grant was born on August 16th, 1963". That way the timeline can solidify as the plot solidifies.


This is something that was mentioned in the initial thread, and I have given some thought to, but not settled on anything yet.

Being able to set the date format via Timeline Settings was a nod to this (although it does not work in your version). The idea being that you initially just set it to display Year for everything, or Month for everything, and then increase the granularity as required.

Anyway, this is a discussion that deserves its own thread, and a lot more thought for how best to implement it.

Su
Sunny
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:22 am Post

Hi Matt,

Congratulations on the release, I've been waiting with bated breath for a writer's timeline. It's already shaping up as very helpful with my NanoWrimo.

As with an earlier poster I have difficulties with the screen default size (I have a G4 iBook, 1024x768, with a 14" screen, running 10.5.4), but this you know, and who am I to complain?

One thing I have noticed is that if I drag the pane downwards in order to view something else on the screen it does not stay. It just pops up to sit against the underside of the menu bar again.

Other than that I have had a crash while inserting my first event - a pre 1000 date if that makes any difference with the missing initial figure.

I have an automatic problem report generated from the crash, but could not replicate the crash itself afterwards. I'm not sure then whether the report would be of any use to you. It may have just been a problem at my end. If you would like a copy of the report, let me know and I'll send it through.

Cheers

Lewis

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 3:08 am Post

Hi,
I am working on making it easier for smaller screens now.

The crash report would be useful - hopefully it is one I have already fixed, but it would be good to have the report so I can double check (and practice looking at the information contained in the crash reports).

Matt

Su
Sunny
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:46 am Post

I've attached the report.

Beforehand I netered the year 400 for the start of the timeline, then 650 for the end, all working as expected, though the buttons at the top did grey out for a worrying five or so seconds while it thought about it.

Then I entered a character birth, hit OK, and spinning beachball and crash.

As I said, I restarted the programme and did exactly the same thing again and there were no problems at all.

Lewis
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AndreasE
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:15 am Post

Great application! Very promising.

A glitch I haven't seen mentioned: I can move events along the timeline, but they do not change their order.

Let's say, I start with Jim born 1960 and Bob born 1961, they appear in the order Jim -> Bob.

Now let's say I have the idea that Jim should be younger than Bob. So I move his birth to 1965.

This works in the sense that there will be a thin line from the entry "Jim" to 1965, but the entry itself stays above Bob, which irritates my intuition... :lol:

But I'm impressed. This will be a very useful application. Every writer will ask itself how he could have ever lived without it. (Put a screenshot on your website!)

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:06 am Post

Do you mean that the lines cross over?
Could you perhaps post a screenshot? I am not getting that problem in my version.

Matt

ha
hawksmoor
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:50 am Post

AndreasE wrote:Great application! Very promising.

A glitch I haven't seen mentioned: I can move events along the timeline, but they do not change their order.


Got this too... changed two dates by dragging the events: the dates changed accordingly but the captions remained in the initial order.
Tonight I closed my MBP (there was a very bad storm) and I've just restarted the machine and fired up again Aeon... and the captions display correctly.
Now I got some errands to do for my wife, later I'll try to replicate this... I'll post the results, if any.

Keep up the very good work Matt!
Coffee lover

Hu
Hugh
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 11:44 am Post

Too early for me to post bugs, but meanwhile two observations:

- I think this application will be very useful. Initially I was a sceptic, believing a standard timeline app to be more or less all that's needed. But Aeon delivers new and useful functionality.

- starting with the character's birth-date - again I was doubtful, but now I'm persuaded it's an excellent discipline that writers neglect at the risk of reader disbelief. How many novels have you read where the plot doesn't really work because of the characters' ages and the unlikely span of events they're supposed to have experienced? Too many, in my case.

Code faster, Matt! :wink:

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:33 pm Post

hawksmoor wrote:
AndreasE wrote:Great application! Very promising.

A glitch I haven't seen mentioned: I can move events along the timeline, but they do not change their order.


Got this too... changed two dates by dragging the events: the dates changed accordingly but the captions remained in the initial order.


This bug has been found and fixed.

Matt

ma
matt
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 2:36 pm Post

Hugh wrote:Too early for me to post bugs, but meanwhile two observations:

- I think this application will be very useful. Initially I was a sceptic, believing a standard timeline app to be more or less all that's needed. But Aeon delivers new and useful functionality.

- starting with the character's birth-date - again I was doubtful, but now I'm persuaded it's an excellent discipline that writers neglect at the risk of reader disbelief. How many novels have you read where the plot doesn't really work because of the characters' ages and the unlikely span of events they're supposed to have experienced? Too many, in my case.

Code faster, Matt! :wink:

H


Thanks for the kind words.

In a day or so I will release a bug fix (version 0.1.1) so that people can use the application bug-free.

Then I will move onto the next set of features - which probably requires a bit of discussion, and a decision on which of all the pending features I should work on next.

Matt

he
henrietta
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Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:14 pm Post

Hi Matt,

First, thanks so much for developing this program. I've been waiting with bated breath, too. Thanks for taking this on--it looks like a complicated beast to shape (from a non-coder's perspective).

FYI, I look forward to using it for a couple of projects: my academic work, as well as a sloooowly-simmering historical fiction project. Here's what I'm anticipating tracking and have futzed with outlining in various programs (and quit very quickly):

Typically, over a century:
--basic historical periods and events,
--openings and closings of theaters
--administration of theaters
--cultural markers: works, philosophical writings
--performances

I've played a little with Aeon, and am really pleased with what you're developing. I ran into the same issues others have, so haven't copied those. The program did crash, and I've sent you the console and crash report by email. SOHONotes also crashed and quit--maybe related? I hope this helps. Many thanks!

--Marianne