Four timeline tools tested

Time Travel

Article from Issue 148/2013

Back in 1962, the threat of a third world war loomed for 13 days, but what happened during the Cuban missile crisis and when? What was the timing of events for the first moon landing? Four timeline tools present complex topics of world history and current affairs in clear context.

Online media, academic institutions, and private users can benefit from timelines – intuitive representations of abstract numbers and facts. Ideally, a timeline contains not just data, but photos, videos, text, and links to external content as well, presenting a virtual stroll through history.

In this article, I’ll introduce you to four timeline tools that can help you indulge in the sport of time travel: the commercial cloud service Dipity, the Simile Timeline widget, a desktop tool named Timeline, and the TimelineJS JavaScript library. On Ubuntu 12.10 and Linux Mint Cinnamon, the candidates showed how well they work with modern browsers and Linux systems. The test team examined how conveniently data could be migrated to the timeline, what multimedia content is supported there, and how user-friendly the navigation is. Finally, we considered import and export formats.

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