EasyTimeline - Generate graphical timelines from a simple script

1. Introduction

2. Procedure   3. Script syntax   4. Download   5. Acknowledgements   6. History

As the saying goes: a picture often tells more than a thousand words. This is certainly true for graphical timelines. A detailed listing of events and dates in tabular form may offer the reader a lot of specifics, but may fail to provide an overview, a grand perspective.

You will find here a detailed recipee for generating graphical timelines from a simple script. You will need three small programs, which are all open source and can be downloaded from this site.

EasyTimeline is also an integral part of the MediaWiki software used by Wikipedia. (all links in the diagrams below also lead to the English Wikipedia).

First a few simple examples of what is possible. For a much more extensive (admittedly very crowded) example see World War II - Asian Theatre.

Soviet Leaders


Just to show you that the script syntax is reasonably intuitive:
here is the script for the image to the left.

ImageSize  = width:160 height:550
PlotArea   = width: 25 height:530 left:50 bottom:10
DateFormat = yyyy
Period     = from:1919 till:1991
TimeAxis   = orientation:vertical
ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:5 start:1920

  color:red width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize:S shift:(25,0)
  # shift texts up or down manually to avoid overlap
  from:start till:1922 shift:(,15)   text:Vladimir~Ilyich~[[Lenin]]
  from:1922  till:1953 shift:(,5)    text:[[Stalin|Josef~Stalin]]
  from:1953  till:1964 shift:(,5)    text:Nikita~[[Khrushchev]]
  from:1964  till:1982 shift:(,5)    text:Leonid~[[Brezhnev]]
  from:1982  till:1984 shift:(,-12)  text:Yuri~[[Andropov]]
  from:1984  till:1985 shift:(,4)    text:Konstantin~[[Chernenko]] fontsize:XS
  from:1985  till:end  shift:(,10)   text:Mikhail~[[Gorbachev]]

Geological Timescales


Classical Composers

Tour de France

US Presidents

History of Modern Chess

Finally, here is an example of the kind of timelines that you do not want to make with EasyTimeline: History of the BBC.

Copyright (C) 2004 Erik Zachte, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Email:erikzachte@+++.com (nospam: +++=infodisiac).

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EasyTimeline is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.