Marking Time: other routes to timelines

I have illustrated how you can use:

  • Timeline 3D to create wizzy animated timelines of one basic pattern,
  • Aeon Timeline to create a diverse range of static timelines,
  • Storyspace and Tinderbox to create sophisticated interactive timelines within collections of notes or hypertext.

Additional techniques which you might like to consider include the following.

TikiToki Desktop – App Store £18.99.

This looks quite versatile, and can include images, video clips, and more. Its major drawback (and the reason that I have not looked at it in more detail) is that it currently does not export into generally accessible formats. To view its timelines in their full glory, you have to use its free reader app.

Bartas Temporis – $24.99

Looks to be a competent basic tool, which can export to PDF, graphics file, or XML. Intended as a companion to Bartas Transcriva, for making transcripts of meetings, etc.

timetoast makes and shares online timelines.

ChronoZoom is an open source environment which enables direct web development, but requires Windows-based development tools and is hosted on Microsoft server products.

Maxicode History Timeline Editor: Chronica and Chronica Plus – App Store £21.99 and £59.99

Look thoroughly capable if expensive, but only export to PDF or image files, and work in text without rich media.

SIMILE Widgets Timeline – a web widget for displaying timelines. Requires JavaScript code and more. Open source and free to use.

timemap – integrates Google and other maps with SIMILE Widgets Timeline. Open source.

Project Management apps, such as Project Planning Pro (App Store £52.99), OmniPlan 3 (App Store £109.99)

Seldom suited to making pure timelines, most incorporate special timeline views. If you want the rest of the project management features, these can be excellent; if you just want to create timelines, they are a waste of money and effort.

General design apps, from Affinity Designer and Scapple, up to Adobe Illustrator CC, can be used. To do this well and efficiently, you will need good user skills with the app. Making even small changes, e.g. to the duration of the whole timeline, can require an inordinate amount of additional work, though.

Spreadsheets, such as Microsoft Excel and Apple’s Numbers. The results are not good, and they are worth avoiding unless you have nothing better.