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Tinderbox Users >> Documentation and Tutorials >> aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated

Message started by Mark Anderson on Feb 12th, 2013, 12:23pm

Title: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Mark Anderson on Feb 12th, 2013, 12:23pm

Follwing discussion of getting started with timelines, I've update some of the notes in the Timeline View Interface section of aTbRef and added a specimen timeline to my starter.tbx file.

Useful, I hope is an article clarifying which visualisation aspects are controlled at item level (event note attributes) and which in the view (container note attributes). I've also clarified some nuances to do with adornments in timelines.

The starter TBX now has a container with a 'Timeline' prototype**. It's $OnAdd also makes all children use prototype 'Event'. Some specimen events illustrate some of the basic inclusion criteria.

** I've suggested (off-forum) that this or similar be added as a built-in prototype for v6.

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Sumner Gerard on Feb 12th, 2013, 6:16pm

This is great. When first trying Timeline View I remember puzzling through what had to be controlled at the container level and what belonged in individual child notes. Prototypes with Key Attributes to help show what is controlled where will save a lot of time.

With the introduction of the new prototype 'Timeline' I suspect the 'Timeline view container' prototype was meant to be trashed from starter.tbx.  From what I can see it is similar to 'Timeline' but includes $TimelineMarker, which I see is already a Key Attribute in the 'Event' prototype controlling individual child notes.  Also noticed that 'Timeline' doesn't seem to have an $OnAdd action in the version posted. That will be helpful if it makes it into a built-in prototype for the eagerly anticipated v6.

It would be "nice but not necessary" to have a "timeline-like" badge for the prototype. Couldn't find anything that seemed right in the stock badges.

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Mark Anderson on Feb 12th, 2013, 6:44pm

I made a couple of updates today - try re-downloading the file. i've just re-checked the current upload and it is as intended. As a result of the aTbRef updates i tweaked the starter a bit, including adding an adornment.

$TimelineMarker is used in my file's version of the "Event" prototype - as such it differs from the current TB v5.12.1 built-in version. Also, the 'Timeline' prototype isn't a formal TB one, although i've suggested it for v6.

Badges - I had the same problem but as you say it's a 'nice--to-have and there's nothing to stop you making and using extra badges for which you find a need. Indeed, it's likely a container will not normally be only for timeline view. The key points to understand are:
  • Unlike a map, for a timeline all descendants (including aliases are in scope)
  • Adornments are only shown if (a) direct children of the timeline container and (b) had a start/end date.
  • The view level timeline attributes.
I've had to leave something to self-discovery otherwise people would be complaining 'tl;dr'! (meaning).

I've since submitted a suggestion for v6 that there perhaps be an 'add timeline' option.  This would simulate the above by adding new 'Timeline' and 'Event' prototypes (if not present) and adding a new container using the 'Timeline'. Although simply simulating what an expert could self-configure it is probably a more intuitive approach for the new/casual user. The container's $OnAdd helps with pointing the users to $StartDate use. The more I look at always auto-populating $StartDate for all notes (as discussed elsewhere) the more I realise its actually unhelpful outside the most trivial of files/demos and bulks large files with unwanted and inappropriate data.

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Sumner Gerard on Feb 14th, 2013, 12:40am

Love tl;dr. Can't wait to try it out on the boss!  "That proposal? Oh, yes, sorry sir.  Just tl;dr, so I didn't do anything. I hope that's ok."

In the starter.tbx linked above I see revisions, but suspect the 'Timeline view container' a couple of rows up from 'Timeline' in the Prototypes container is now meant for the trash.

On badges, maybe in Tinderbox 6 (assuming Eastgate can do this easily) a stock badge could be added, perhaps something vaguely like this (except it would actually look good, be the right size, etc., etc.):

(I once spent an inordinate amount of time adding a bunch of badges. Then at some point I must have done something that caused them to disappear. So I now stick to the ones built-in.)

Can see $StartDate being empty can have its advantages in avoiding bloat. Just been trying to think how sophisticated prospective users could get the impression Timeline View is complicated and time-consuming to set up, when it really isn't. "Training wheels" using 'Add Timeline' and/or built-in prototypes that expose that crucial $StartDate attribute and show how it can automatically be populated with $Created could help make something already pretty easy also *seem* easy from the start. In a tl;dr world, probably worth a look.

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Mark Anderson on Feb 14th, 2013, 3:18am

Doh! I got there eventually. I've resolved the prototype issue - there is now just one "Timeline view".  The older prototype incorrectly included $TimelineMarker which is in fact an item-level attribute. You can set it in a view container but it has no effect in that container's timeline view. My demo bank copy and online zip referenced here are both updated to this change.

The layout of the key attributes in the above prototype should also help indicate that $TimelineScaleColor2 should ideally be the same as $MapBackgroundColor. Be aware that changing the latter for a timeline view changes the major view background colour in all view types when viewing that container. Otherwise, unless also given a local value all other containers still use the preference derived colour.

Custom badges live at ~/Library/Application Support/Tinderbox/badges. More on format, size, etc., is described here. Here's a quick try (tested in v5.12.1):

Get the above badge: download. Of course, when used in a TBX it will only show up if the badge is loaded on the current Mac's TB badges folder - if you work on more than one Mac you need to customise TB in each location.

As someone writing a lot of demos and the larger part of whose TB use is working on other user's data, I very much get the problem of exposing features for new users. However, an always-on approach generally bites as what helps with a simple demo hinders other things. A new/casual user is as likely to get stuck changing a simple demo using $Created dates to actual research dates as they are creating a view from scratch. For instance, aTbRef attempts to use/show most features in either/both TBX or HTML form but even that stops short of an actual timeline, but there's no logical place to upt it and it doesn't easily translate to HTML (via normal HTML export) though most view the resource in web form. For things like Timeline view I think small demo TBXs (perhaps in the app package?) are better. It is not enough to show an example of the feature to the less tech user (e.g. the pre-populated $StartDate idea), they also have to be told how to make a relevant example with their own data. Adopting a built-in prototype for the timeline view container (i.e. exposing view related attributes) will certainly help. Of course, we wait to see how v6 changes things in this area, if at all.

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Sumner Gerard on Feb 14th, 2013, 10:57pm

Maybe that badge, or a close sibling, will eventually make its way into the set of stock badges. Meanwhile I've done the option-go thing in Lion to put it in the library. Hope Apple doesn't actually lock us out of the library some day!

A small demo timeline built into the app package would help, I think, showing all that is needed to have a timeline up and running are values in $StartDate and getting values into that attribute easily can be automated. Perhaps the demo could refer to, but not actually expose, the myriad customization options exposed in the 'Timeline view' prototype. At first glance the sheer number of these can be intimidating. Later one is glad to have them, and the prototype is very helpful in showing the way.

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Mark Anderson on Feb 15th, 2013, 5:17am

Actually, in Lion+ you don't have to fiddle around in Finder as there's a much easier way. Use the TB Help menu's "Reveal Support Folder in Finder" option.  A Finder window at correct focus is opened for you - you don't even need to know where the folder actually is (as seems to by Apple's desire with the post-iOS the dumb-ification of OS X).

Title: Re: aTbRef Timeline notes & starter.tbx updated
Post by Sumner Gerard on Feb 15th, 2013, 4:08pm

Thanks for pointing out "Reveal Support Folder in Finder."  Convenient. But the "Help" menu would have been the last place I'd have looked for that, if I knew/remembered such an option existed.

Apple's OS X dumb-ification reminds me of 1980s China when foreigners tended to be carefully shepherded around, not out of concern we'd see or do something untoward, mind you, but "for our own safety."

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