Timeline Files

Timeline files contain categories, events, and other definitions needed to draw, link and document timelines.

Relative Timeline Files

Relative timeline files have relative times for all event definitions. Relative times are expressed as durations from a single origin time. These durations have such values as "2.4 seconds", "3 weeks", and "200 years". The origin time can be set in the relative timeline file, but more often it is given by the user when the file is loaded into the QViewer. This allows the timeline to be relocated as desired, and is useful to describe sets of events that have a fixed relationship with each other but don't have a relationship with a fixed time. This can include a pattern of events that the user wants to move around in the QViewer's time axis. An example is a list of songs of known duration that are to be played one after another, and together are movable to any starting time.

Timeline file format and creation

Timeline files are stored as an instance of XML (eXtensible Markup Language), an industry standard. Although the files are readable text, they are not pleasant to write with a simple text editor and require careful attention to the details of punctuation and formatting. The QEditor handles this for authors and supports both the creation of simple events and more complex authoring tasks.

The files containing the XML schema that define Quotidian timelines are distributed with both the QEditor and QViewer. These are not allowed to be modified in any way. This restriction is to preserve the compatibility of timeline files with the QViewer. It is likely that some users will wish to add additional types of structured data to their timeline files. They should use XML mechanisms to create their own schema which reference the Quotidian timeline schema files. The QViewer will ignore any unknown XML entities, so it should work correctly with augmented timeline files.

Some applications may wish to generate timeline files directly and use the QViewer to display their information. This is relatively easy as long as the generated files follow the Quotidian XML schema.

Timeline files and extension files are the property of their authors and can be licensed, sold or given away as their authors see fit.

Opening Timeline Files

There are several ways that timeline files get loaded into the QViewer:

  • A link to a timeline file in a webpage can be activated. Browsers should use the QViewer to handle links with the quotid: protocol.
  • An event has a link to another event in an unloaded timeline file. When the link is activated, the QViewer will load the file and move to the destination event.
  • The Open Timeline command and Open URL command will load files.
  • A timeline file can include another timeline file in its include list. When the first file is loaded all the files on its include list are loaded.
  • The user can drag and drop a file object onto the QViewer display area.
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