Log timeline

Kaustav recently introduced me to Timeline — a facility that does for timelines what Google Maps does for geographical data.

At first I thought it was a neat curiosity but I soon realised that it could be used to give another view into my observing logs. After some playing around with the timeline API (some of the documentation is lacking so a bit of code-reading was required), and after writing an XSL file for use with Sablotron that took my log source files and produced a timeline XML data file, I finally had a working timeline view of my logs.

I probably still need to do some work — I think the look and layout could be improved a little — but so far I'm pleased with the result and I'm impressed with how simple it was to get up and running.

I'm also thinking about adding some extra bits to the page: having controls that let you easily jump to the first or last observation might be handy, also having some sort of "bookmark" system for significant observations might be useful too.

File Under: Timeline, Astronomy, Observing Logs, JavaScript, Sablotron.


Anonymous said...

Very cool application of the Timeline API, which I just started playing around with. I'm having no end of trouble trying to get it to work for me. I can get the timeline created and it shows the months and years and scrolls just fine, but I get a Javascript error when it tries to load the data from the xml file. I'm a newbie, sorry if this is silly, but any ideas?
Thanks, Al

Dave Pearson said...

No, it's not a silly question Al. I ran into a couple of problems while getting the data loading side of things working so there's a good chance you've made one of the simple mistakes I made (understandable given that the documentation for timeline is still mostly under development).

To stand a chance of helping I'd need to know exactly what error it is you're getting.

By the way, it might be easier to deal with this via email so, if you wish, feel free to email me more details (you'll find my email address on any of my main web sites).

Also, don't forget that timeline has a mailing list for giving people support. I don't know what it's like myself as I've not actually signed up (yet).