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Easy Timeline Plugin

Generate graphical timeline diagrams from markup text

Introduction

As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. This is certainly true for graphical timelines. A detailed listing of events and dates in tabular form may offer the reader a lot of specifics, but may fail to provide an overview, a grand perspective.

This plugin allows one to use a %TIMELINE% variable to generate a timeline on the fly. This plugin is equal in function to the EasyTimeline Plugin for MediaWiki by Erik Zachte, on which this is based.

For first time users EasyTimelinePlugin may not seem that easy at all. As with all script languages it takes some getting used to. Also the syntax description may be a bit bewildering due to its sheer size. Fortunately many elements of the script language are optional.

The 'Easy' in EasyTimelinePlugin conveys the message that once a timeline exists it is not that hard to understand, enhance or correct.

Full syntax and markup description is available at http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:EasyTimeline/syntax.

Note that sometimes the WYSIWYG editor can break the timelines, by removing white space and the macros. To prevent the WYSIWYG editor from being used on a topic with the timelines, you can use the following setting:

  • Set NOWYSIWYG = 1

Syntax

%TIMELINE%
Timeline markup
%ENDTIMELINE%

Examples

Icelandic Heritage Example

Pretty standard timeline, easy to extend.

Pre-rendered sample:

IcelandicHeritageExample.png

Plugin (if installed):

%TIMELINE% ImageSize = width:270 height:300 PlotArea = left:45 right:0 bottom:20 top:20 AlignBars = early

DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:1944 till:2005 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:4 start:1944

Colors= id:1 value:rgb(1,0.4,0.2) id:2 value:rgb(0.8,0.6,0) id:3 value:rgb(1,0.8,0) id:4 value:rgb(1,0.6,0.2) id:5 value:rgb(0.6,0.2,0.2)

PlotData= bar:Leaders width:25 mark:(line,black) align:left fontsize:S shift:(25,-5) anchor:middle

from:start till:1952 color:1 text:"1944-1952_Sveinn Bjoernsson" from:1952 till:1968 color:2 text:"1952-1968_Asgeir Asgeirsson" from:1968 till:1980 color:3 text:"1968-1980_Kristjan Eldjarn" from:1980 till:1996 color:4 text:"1980-1996_Vigdis Finnbogadottir" from:1996 till:end color:5 text:"1996-_Olafur Ragnar Grimsson" %ENDTIMELINE%

Verbatim:
%TIMELINE%
ImageSize = width:270 height:300
PlotArea  = left:45 right:0 bottom:20 top:20
AlignBars = early

DateFormat = yyyy
Period     = from:1944 till:2005
TimeAxis   = orientation:vertical
ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:4 start:1944

Colors=
  id:1   value:rgb(1,0.4,0.2)
  id:2   value:rgb(0.8,0.6,0)
  id:3   value:rgb(1,0.8,0)
  id:4   value:rgb(1,0.6,0.2)
  id:5   value:rgb(0.6,0.2,0.2)

PlotData=
  bar:Leaders width:25 mark:(line,black) align:left fontsize:S shift:(25,-5) anchor:middle

  from:start  till:1952 color:1  text:"1944-1952_Sveinn Bjoernsson"
  from:1952   till:1968 color:2  text:"1952-1968_Asgeir Asgeirsson"
  from:1968   till:1980 color:3  text:"1968-1980_Kristjan Eldjarn"
  from:1980   till:1996 color:4  text:"1980-1996_Vigdis Finnbogadottir"
  from:1996   till:end  color:5  text:"1996-_Olafur Ragnar Grimsson"
%ENDTIMELINE%

Windows Versions Example

An example of multiple parallel timelines. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

WindowsVersionsExample.png

Binary Logic Example

This plugin might be of help in descriping binary logic execution patterns, as for instance a figure like the one below is not too hard to produce. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

BinaryLogicExample.png

UNIX Versions Example

Information dense graphic, heavy use of mouseover areas. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

This example also shows how to use hyperlinks in the timeline. Although this only uses external links, you can also use internal TWiki links such as [[Main.WebHome][Home]]. Note that the links need to be in the longhand form as shown. Links such as [[WebHome]] and WikiWords are not currently supported.

UNIXVersionsExample.png

Kurdistan Workers Party Example

Very condensed timeline. Not taking up much space, but very informative in it's layered telling. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

KurdistanWorkersPartyExample.png

New Kingdom Example

Typical chronological "Microsoft Project" look. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

Btw: There's no hinderance to having the bars overlap if wanted. (I guess that's not how the Kingdom preferred it to be, though) smile View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

NewKingdomExample.png

Freeciv Timeline Example

Very spartanic look, only a few colours used. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

FreecivTimelineExample.png

Vocal and Instrumental Pitch Ranges

An example on displaying something that is not chronological at all. View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

Vocal_and_Instrumental_Pitch_Ranges_Example.png

Timeline of Conquests of the Ottoman Empire

A somewhat dense and graphic timeline; could probably be lightened with good effect :-). View Raw Text of this topic to see source.

Timeline_of_Conquests_of_the_Ottoman_Empire_Example.png

Upgrading from Earlier Plugin Versions

If you are using plugin version 20 Jul 2006 or older you will need to be aware that the syntax of this plugin has changed. Previous syntax:

<easytimeline>
...
<easytimeline>

This syntax has been changed to the %VARIABLE% syntax because the old syntax can cause problems when using a WYSIWYG editor. New syntax:

%TIMELINE%
...
%ENDTIMELINE%

The included script tools/EasyTimelinePlugin_convert.pl can convert topics using the old syntax to the new. Always test on a copy of your data first!

Installation Instructions

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this plugin. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the plugin on the TWiki server.

You do not need to install anything in the browser to use this extension. The following instructions are for the administrator who installs the extension on the server where TWiki is running.

Like many other TWiki extensions, this module is shipped with a fully automatic installer script written using the BuildContrib.

  • If you have TWiki 4.2 or later, you can install from the configure interface (Go to Plugins->Find More Extensions)
  • If you have any problems, then you can still install manually from the command-line:
    1. Download one of the .zip or .tgz archives
    2. Unpack the archive in the root directory of your TWiki installation.
    3. Run the installer script ( perl <module>_installer )
    4. Run configure and enable the module, if it is a plugin.
    5. Repeat for any missing dependencies.
  • If you are still having problems, then instead of running the installer script:
    1. Make sure that the file permissions allow the webserver user to access all files.
    2. Check in any installed files that have existing ,v files in your existing install (take care not to lock the files when you check in)
    3. Manually edit LocalSite.cfg to set any configuration variables.

Once you have installed the plugin you should visit configure and check that the paths for Ploticus and the EasyTimeline.pl script are correct.

Plugin Info

Plugin Authors: TWiki:Main.AndrewJones, TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen, TWiki:Main.MikeMarion
Copyright: © 2009-2010 Andrew Jones
© 2006 Mike Marion
© 2006-2011 TWiki:TWiki/TWikiContributor
License: GPL (Gnu General Public License)
Plugin Release: 1.3
Plugin Version: 21270 (2011-05-14)
Change History:  
2011-05-14: TWikibug:Item6701: Doc fixes; small fix in Config.spec -- TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny
11 Feb 2010 v1.2 - Missing screenshot; Set NOWYSIWYG for plugin topic; Update pl dependency. Thanks to TWiki:Main.BryanThale. - TWiki:Main.AndrewJones
22 Oct 2009 v1.1 - Fix hyperlinks and upgrade docs - TWiki:Main.AndrewJones
13 Mar 2009 v1.0 - New standard syntax and script to convert; Updated EasyTimeline.pl script; Changes to code to use more of the official extension API; Configuration items now set in configure - TWiki:Main.AndrewJones
20 Jul 2006: Support for hierarchical webs. (TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen)
22 Apr 2006: Rewrote plugin from scratch. Multiple timelines per topic and sandbox security mechanism. Generated files attached to timeline topic. EasyTimeline.pl script now shipped in plugin. Multiple demonstration samples added. Doc updated. (TWiki:Main.SteffenPoulsen)
11 Feb 2006: Initial version
Dependencies:
NameVersionDescription
Digest::MD5>0Required
File::Path>0Required
Ploticus>2.4.0Required. Available from http://ploticus.sourceforge.net/doc/welcome.html. Version 2.3.2 is known to cause problems. Other versions have not been tested, so we recommend the latest
Plugin Home: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/EasyTimelinePlugin
Feedback: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/EasyTimelinePluginDev
Appraisal: http://TWiki.org/cgi-bin/view/Plugins/EasyTimelinePluginAppraisal

Related Topics: TWikiPlugins, DeveloperDocumentationCategory, AdminDocumentationCategory, TWikiPreferences, TWikiPreferences

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