Timeline Program

A while ago my brother (Peter) asked if I knew a program that could do a nice timeline for him. Much like google's stock thing where you can drag the window size to "zoom in the mainview" and "bubbles pop up". I don't, didn't and may never know a good one. He made his in photoshop. It looked awesome. was extremely customized, but it wasn't so interactive or on the web.

I read some articles from the long now foundation, they provided a timeline program in python but mylord it was compiling hell on windows. I had to do crazy cygwin install stuff and edit their code, upon reading compile error line numbers. And in the end it looked like shité. bullshavik. soooo far from web 2.0 it was sad. Well at least they write their dates with a zero out front as in 02008. 'Cause that's long term thinking. (doesn't matter if what you make is terrible)

Peter had to use photoshop, longnow stunk, I want to see google offer one as a service, that feels like their stock exchange thing. I also found another one, it had the bubble thing and looked nice. but it didn't have the google stock exchange overview thing.


Argh. So dear internet, please… one day, recommend a good one. Here is the required reading before recommending a timeline program:

  • mit - simile timeline
  • longnow - longview
  • google - finance
  • timepedia - chronoscope they offer a gwt app named chronoscope that is more for data-points than human history timelines. but it's pretty fantastic considering it has to do a lot of interpolation like vector graphics and looks amazing. And so I can only wait for their human history attempt with the hopes that it looks like…
  • Beedocs for Mac OSX the bee docs timeline program creator himself had post like this, and thus his list. His program can even do links to the web and export it all to pdf. It doesn't display live on the web. But at least it hit's the mark with information and beauty
  • hyperhistory - posters (goto then click on hyper history online) like peter's, except painstakingly htmlified. On a side note, I find the individual ones kind of weak. But, they sell a giant poster to put on your wall.

Considering that I love well done maps that provide both an overview and elegance to information access, hyperhistory's poster and beedocs get my vote. On my wall I have:

  • a CANDU nuclear reactor in great 3/4 view
  • the avro arrow (with a zillion parts labeled)
  • final fantasy 3 (6 in japan) world map (includes the world of ruin).

Most importantly is a poster by IBM called "The Men of Modern Mathematics" which I've always wanted (oh and they know they left out women and tried to correct that I hear, but I've never seen that one).

Update 2012: see also the IBM Mathematicians ipad app