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Tinderbox Users >> Documentation and Tutorials >> What happens if $TimelineBand is too large
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Message started by Sumner Gerard on May 6th, 2011, 7:08pm

Title: What happens if $TimelineBand is too large
Post by Sumner Gerard on May 6th, 2011, 7:08pm

Revisiting my 7-band timeline after several months, I was dismayed to find all the events still there but band widths wrong and band labels simply gone.  I finally found the cause: '1945' had somehow crept into $TimelineBand of one event (probably originally intended for $StartDate, immediately above in key attributes).  In my timeline the bands, amazingly, still display correctly with an erroneous value in $TimelineBand as high as 1300!  Anyway, maybe mention in the documentation somewhere the consequences of exceeding intended limits?

Title: Re: What happens if $TimelineBand is too large
Post by Mark Anderson on May 6th, 2011, 7:34pm

I'm not sure I totally understand, but anyway I think that's one to dial into support.  It's more of an unusual result to an unexpected input than something to document (IOW, it shouldn't really happen).  Now - once reported - it's known I suspect the result will be less unusual.

Title: Re: What happens if $TimelineBand is too large
Post by Sumner Gerard on May 12th, 2011, 5:54pm

Thanks, Mark. Wasn't my description of the situation clear? Band labels "mysteriously" disappeared. After much searching for a needle in the haystack, this disappearance turned out to be the result of one rogue entry in one attribute in one event note out of dozens.  Of course user errors like this "shouldn't really happen." But they do. I'm amazed at how robust the capabilities are; it seems one could do a 1300-band timeline!  Up to you, of course, whether you think more guidance on timelines is appropriate. Just a suggestion.

Title: Re: What happens if $TimelineBand is too large
Post by Mark Anderson on May 13th, 2011, 3:43am

You describe the band widths as 'wrong'. How? Vertically too narrow or too wide? I'm not able to test this right now but my assumption is that if you've 1300 bands they will get compressed a bit to fit the available (virtual) drawing space and in doing so this may cause the band labels to be obscured or suppressed.

As you point out the app is pretty robust. When the user did something odd and very unexpected it didn't fail or crash - it did its best to honour the user's setting. Someone might want 1000+ bands.  ;D

Testing shows that at about 1310 bands (i.e. the highest $TimelineBand being that value) band labels start to get clipped and eventually don't display at all.

Also, manual or code entry of data can set $Timeline band to negative (-5) or partial (5.7) numbers both of which render incorrectly.  Valid entries ( in terms of display) are zero or any positive whole integer. The above suggests the value should also be less than 1300.

Testing (v5.9.0), I've also discovered you will get odd plotting it an event has $EndDate but no $StartDate or if $EndDate precedes $StartDate - so don't use those configurations.  It's none too difficult to make agents to check for such error conditions. If you're doing I lot of timeline based work it's probably worth setting up a few 'utility' agents to check data cleanliness. You can always switch the agents off when not needed.

I'm not sure exactly what there is to document here, and perhaps here, in the forum, it is now documented. However see these aTbRef pages I've just amended:
[post edit - merged/expanded two previous posts]

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