Thursday, January 06, 2011
When I write software, most of the time I am coding for customers. I'm responding to bug reports and feature requests or trying to dream up new features that will win new categories of customers. However, from time to time I code for myself and work on things just because they make me happy. This is one of those features…
There are best-practices for how to write date ranges but these are hardly ever followed by software programs. Here is the date section from Wikipedia's Manual of Style. In fact, I've never actually seen a software program that follows these practices before.
Let me give you an example. If you are writing a date range that goes from January 4, 2011 to January 5, 2011, the correct way to typeset it is not…
January 4, 2011 – January 5, 2011 (incorrect)
…but rather like this:
January 4–5, 2011 (correct)
It takes up less space this way and is easier understand. Since our software is all about making things easier to understand, I am proud to announce that Timeline 3D v3 will automatically format date ranges with the correct date range style. Also, the correct style is also retained when publishing timelines to the web.
Here are some more examples:
|Current Version||Upcoming (v3)|
|Sep 25, 2009 – Oct 26, 2009||Sep 25 – Oct 26, 2009|
|June 4, 2010 – June 21, 2010||June 4–21, 2010|
|January 2011 – June 2011||January–June 2011|
Undoubtably there will be other features of the Timeline 3D that generate more attention for us, but this is one of the features that I am most personally proud of. Especially because I believe that we are the first software program to do it.
PS - I've been pretty enamored with typesetting as a craft since reading "The Elements of Typographic Style" by Robert Bringhurst which is one of my favorite books on any subject. Highly recommended for anyone who appreciates details.