[AT 1.0 Feature Request] Historical Calendars

Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:25 pm
Platform: Mac

Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:19 am Post

Hi, Matt.

I downloaded the Aeon Timeline demo and I was very impressed. No other program adresses the particular needs of fiction writers, and it's easy to use and good-looking to boot. I read a bit of your blog, and it sounds like you're primarily focused on stability right now, but I thought I'd bring this feature request to your attention since it's the only thing preventing me from purchasing Aeon Timeline.

I am working on a historical fiction series set in the Renaissance, but events in the stories have causes deep in the histories of Mesopotamian, Indian, Roman, Greek, Islamic, and Mesoamerican civilizations, histories which both parallel and differ from the real histories of those civilizations. Unfortunately, they all used different calendars. I'm not requesting that all ancient calendars be available. What I really need is the following:

1. I would love to have the ability to associate multiple custom calendars to a single timeline, so that I can switch between them quickly, e.g., between my Julian and pre-Julian Roman calendars. But that feature is less important than:

2. The problem with a lot of these ancient calendars is that they weren't strictly algorithmic in nature. For example, ancient Greek and pre-Julian Roman calendars were governed by elected officials, so the lengths of years often varied for purely political reasons! This is a nightmare for historians to deal with, and authors of ancient historical fiction (and probably conspiracy fiction) run into this problem frequently. There's a (maybe simple?) solution that would cover 90% of cases: Make AT's months and weeks children of eras, or have option to make them hierarchical, so that the number, name, and length of months could be changed for every era. This would be especially useful if there was an option to start the year numbering of an era at x+1 (x-1 in the case of BC-like eras), where x is the last year of previous era.

3. Another option, more helpful for people like me with important events taking place in ancient Greece and the Roman Republic, but maybe less so for other authors, would be an "import calendar" feature that takes data from a spreadsheet, say a csv file, so that I can explicitly define a calendar during a span that's particularly key to my story; e.g., I could define the era "BC" using the standard Aeon tools, but use "import calendar" to exactly specify the lengths of months and years during the Alexandrian wars of succession, between 322 and 275 BC on the Roman calendar.

Sorry for the length, but I didn't want to just complain without offering some ideas. I realize these are probably not high priorities at this point, but I would imagine these issues are a significant adoption hurdle for ancient hist. fic. authors. I hope solutions show up in future AT releases, because it's a great piece of software I'd love to use.

If AT currently does have some of these features and I just overlooked them, I'd love to hear it and I'll delete/edit this post accordingly.

Thank you,


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Posts: 243
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:11 pm
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Location: Sweden

Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:08 am Post

Hi Andrew,

I would suggest that you re-post at http://www.scribblecode.com/forum/viewf ... 414b545d92. Matt now has his own forum at his website, http://www.scribblecode.com, since quite some time.

I believe that Matt sometimes checks this 'lodger forum' as well, but most Timeliners hang out at the Scribblecode forum.

Kind regards,


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

Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:00 pm Post

Thanks for the request and kind words.

Trying to open up calendars to be more flexible is something I hope to do in a future version.

I'm sure you can imagine the programming nightmare that it would be to account for all of these variations, and other things like the "day in the middle of the year that is not a normal weekday" from Tolkien's calendar etc.

I hope to find a way to make it more flexible and programmable by the user, but I expect it will be a lot of work, and probably a 2.0 thing.