Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Computers can be frustratingly specific. To a computer, it all comes down to ones and zeros. Either something is on or it is off…
It is fairly easy for software developers to create a computer program where the end user can specify "draw this thing at this specific location." Those of us who make timeline software tell our customers "enter a date and we'll display the date as part of the event."
However, if you are creating timelines, it doesn't take long to realize that the world itself is not so specific. There are a lot of occasions where a specific date is not known, or an event represents an era, or perhaps an event has not happened yet.
With that in mind, I'd like to introduce Custom Date Labels in Timeline 3D.
In version 3, you will still need to enter a specific start date. After all, the computer needs to know where to draw the event. However, you can now override the display of the date to be anything you can imagine. Consider the following example:
Here is the edit panel for that event. Note that it has a specific start and end date, but that instead of letting the computer format that date range for display (it would have been "Aug 15–18, 1969"), I have chosen to Set Custom Date Label:
We will provide a lot of new flexibility for working with dates in v3, but if you don't find a format that works for you, you will be able to display the date anyway that you can imagine. Here are a few examples:
- ~500 BC
- Cretaceous Period
- Born 1960—
- Next Year
- Autumn 2005