Porting from WordPress to Storyspace, 5: galleries and timelines

In my last article, I elaborated on my main thread using a sidethread, to enrich my hypertext narrative. So far I have been paying a lot of attention to those threads, and have neglected two other important features of my document: the gallery of example paintings, and the timeline of events. Before I add too many more paintings and sidethreads, I want to attend to those.


At present, I have just dumped all my painting images, large and small, into the gallery. This is a mess which no reader will enjoy, so I need to bring some order here.

On thinking about this, as my images come in pairs, a small and large size, I’d like the reader to enter each painting in the gallery through the small version, but to have a default link to the large version, and back again. Then I will (sort of) hide the large versions on one side, and lay the small ones out on display, in approximate chronological order.


Pairing them up with links is a straightforward task. However, at present the large images are shown in a rather bold green; I think that I should make their tiles a little more subfuse, using a grey which is closer to the background colour. I like the default background colour, as it is reasonably light and neutral, and contrasts well with the dark blue of the small image tiles. So I will keep that as it stands.


Because all the large paintings have a common prototype, all I have to do to change their tile colour is to navigate back up to the top level, then enter the Prototypes container, and change the colour of their prototype. This is simple using the Inspector.


That gives me just the effect that I want: clear enough to see the tile, but not shouting their presence out.


Whilst I am here, inspecting the PaintingLarge prototype, there is another change that I want to make to help clean up the timeline view. At present, each small and each large size painting has key attributes of $StartDate and $EndDate, which ensure that they are inserted in that view. Twice. So I have decided to remove those key attributes from the PaintingLarge prototype, another simple task with the Inspector open on that prototype.


Back in the gallery, I now shrink each of the large paintings (grey tiles) to a vestigial bar, and stack them on one side. The small size paintings, using the PaintingSmall prototype, I now drag out so that the tile exposes the whole of the image. This is why I decided to use the small versions in the gallery, as their exposed tiles are a sensible size for this role.


Although I have removed $StartDate and $EndDate as key attributes for the PaintingLarge prototype, all my current paintings have values set for those attributes, so they are still cluttering up the timeline. Entering the timeline view may seem a bit cryptic in Storyspace: you have to do this using the toolbar on a window. So to make this timeline view, I first created a new window (in the File menu), then showed its toolbar (View menu), and selected the Timeline view in that.


So for each existing large painting tile, now conveniently shown in lighter grey text in the timeline, I bring up the contextual menu, and use the Get Info… command. That produces this floating window, in which I select attributes, Events, and by Option-Clicking over the entered date, I can set it back to the inherited value, which is never.

It does not take long to work through all the large paintings in the timeline view. Those items will then be removed from the timeline when it is next opened, so I save the whole document, close its windows starting with the main map view, and then re-open the document.


I also need to set the start and end dates for the whole timeline display, which is readily done using the Inspector. Here $TimelineStart will be 1000 CE, and $TimelineEnd would be 2010, but it is worth increasing that to ensure there is adequate room at the right end of the timeline for all the labels, e.g. to around 2130.


The finished timeline still shows all the links, but now provides the reader with a much more useful overview of the different stages in the history of oil painting (in red) and the key paintings which illustrate it.


Meanwhile back in the gallery, all my large painting tiles are stacked neatly on one side, with their links looking fairly ordered too.


The gallery view itself is rather lovely, affording the reader an overview of the wonderful paintings included. Each of these small versions links through to a large image, and back again, should the reader wish to browse them individually.

The completed document – which should now open three windows, containing the main map view, the gallery, and a timeline – is free to download here: historyofoils3

Having got these two views more usable and useful, as I add further paintings I can follow the new order. So I am back to adding more sidethreads, to finish the main hypertext.

Happy hypertexting!