SUMMERFEST 2013: Discounts on Great Writing Tools

To coincide with our release of version 1.1 (see post below), Aeon Timeline has teamed up with the developers of some great writing applications to provide discounts on some of the best writing tools on the market (from now until June 14).

This is not a software bundle where you pay your money to a third-party to bundle together 9 apps with the 1 application you want. Each application can be bought individually at a discounted price directly from the developer.

Each participating applications – Scrivener, Scapple, Tinderbox, Movie Draft, Nisus Writer Pro, and Bookends – is crafted by dedicated small or independent development teams who care about the quality of the final product.

And most of the applications offer free trials so you can evaluate the application before committing to a purchase.

For more information about the participating applications and individual offers, please look at our special SummerFest offers page here:

http://www.scribblecode.com/summerfest.html

If you are thinking of purchasing Aeon Timeline but have been sitting on the fence, Aeon Timeline is available at a discounted price too.

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Introducing Aeon Timeline Version 1.1

If you have visited launched Aeon Timeline or visited our website in the past 24 hours, you may have noticed that version 1.1 has just been released.

Aeon Timeline version 1.1 is free for all existing Aeon Timeline customers. This is a significant update that provides the following new functionality.

A few highlights:

  • External Links: Add links to files stored externally from the timeline. Display images directly on the timeline. Open any linked file from directly inside Aeon Timeline using QuickLook or their default application. Use Aeon Timeline as a central hub for other time related information and research.
  • New Timeline Styles: Version 1.1 introduces new timeline styles to go along with the existing standard date/time format. Use year-only calendars spanning anything from centuries to millions of years. Use relative formats to create timeline events that occur on dates like “Monday, Week 5” or “Day 4, 11:00am”. Use the time-only format to create short-duration timelines for movie planning or emergency response.
  • Event Precision and Duration: Decide what precision to use for each event individually.Omit time of day, day of month, or month of year. Directly enter a duration for an event instead of always calculating an end date.
  • Printing and Exporting: Image exporting has been improved, and printing has been added, so you can capture exactly what is displayed on the screen.

And too many other changes including a “completed” property for events, the ability to measure the distance between events, improved timeline settings and additional display options.

We have updated our videos section to provide a video introducing the main features listed above, as well as posting public links to other videos we have made in the last year.

Links to help get you started with the new version:

To upload, choose “Check for Updates…” from inside the Aeon Timeline application, or download it directly from our website: http://www.scribblecode.com/ As always, a free trial is available for 20-days of actual use before you commit to purchasing.

Note to AppStore customers: Version 1.1 is coming to the AppStore as a free update too once it is approved by Apple’s review team.

Regards,

Matt Tobin

Progress Update

This is just a quick update to let everyone know the progress of Aeon Timeline development.

I have just released a beta version of Aeon Timeline 1.1 to participants of our beta testing program (if you wish to join, see here: http://www.scribblecode.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=121)

This new version includes the following major features:

  • Additional calendar formats, include floating weeks (Week 1, Week 2), days (Day 1, Day 2), and hour (00:00:15).
  • Ability to set timeline precision (eg. Year only, Month and year, etc.)
  • Ability to set precision for individual events
  • Ability to set an event duration as an alternative to an end date
  • Add external links/file references to events (including ability to view them with QuickLook or open in an external editor)
  • Ability to display images on the timeline
  • Improved exporting
  • Added printing functionality
  • Many bug fixes and other minor feature improvements

The beta testing process will last until the release is stable, at which point it will be made available as a free update to existing customers.

Now that this release is mostly complete, most of the development focus will shift to creating a Windows version of the application.

Version 1.1: How long is that…?

As I have mentioned briefly, I am currently working on Aeon Timeline version 1.1 for Mac, which will bring Aeon Timeline up to the level I want it to reach before I write a feature-parity version for Windows. Version 1.1 will be out before the end of the year, with a Windows version to hopefully follow some time next year.

Aeon Timeline is intended to aid creativity and data analysis, and to achieve this aim, it is important that users spend their time thinking about their content rather than the application they use to create it. This means Aeon Timeline needs a clean, easy, intuitive user interface.

There are many decisions made in designing a user interface that take a long time to get right, but when done correctly, go completely unnoticed by the end user.

It seems a shame to say it given the amount of time I have spent thinking about the problem I discuss below, but I hope this is destined to become one of those decisions. If the final decision goes unnoticed, it means the interface has done its job and got out of the way. What most users notice are the design decisions that have gone wrong.

Below is a sneak peek of a couple of new features coming to Aeon Timeline version 1.1.

This particular problem is subtle, but also difficult. I don’t yet have a complete answer to the problem, but the shape of one is forming in my mind.

Time will tell if I make the right decision. Suggestions, as always, are welcome.

Continue reading

Follow up to: ‘Why Does Microsoft make it so hard?’

Firstly, I want to thank everybody who responded to my last blog post: From Mac to Windows: Why is Microsoft making it so hard? There is always a risk that any post dealing with a Mac versus Windows topic could descend into a flame war, so I was very appreciative of the intelligent thoughts and suggestions offered by everyone who commented on the blog.

Secondly, I will apologise for taking so long posting this follow up blog post. I have been sitting on this blog post for a couple of months waiting for permission to include a few quotes from Chris Bernard, a Chief Experience Evangelist at Microsoft, but after not hearing back, I have decided to publish the post without them.

In that time, Microsoft has abandoned the Metro name, but I will continue to use it here in lieu of a non-Wordy alternative.

Back in July, I spoke to Chris for an hour about the direction Microsoft is taking. I certainly wasn’t expecting to receive that kind of pro-active response. If we are still talking pros and cons between Apple and Microsoft, it seems unlikely that someone from Apple would have been as supportive in this way (again, I may be just as ignorant of the support channels Apple provides).

As a developer looking to move across to the Windows platform, there are two partially-related decisions I need to make:

  1. Which Windows platform should I target, and given the imminent release of Windows 8, should I make a Desktop or a Metro application?
  2. Which framework and language should I use to develop that application?

Since numerous people have asked me for a follow up, in this post I will discuss what I have drawn from my conversation with Chris, as well as my own experiences with Windows 8 to answer the first of these questions.

I will cover specific frameworks and technology choices in a separate post.

Continue reading

From Mac to Windows: Why is Microsoft making it so hard for developers?

Now that Aeon Timeline has been shipped off to the Mac AppStore folk for review, I have a bit of dead time while I wait for their approval. Since I say on my website that I am considering a Windows version, and I am now getting several emails a day asking for one, I have spent the evening researching my options.

The results is not pretty: Microsoft has created a mess of half-finished technologies, with no clear path to move forward. If I am wrong in this, I would dearly love for a more experienced Windows developer to come along and point this out.

What follows will be somewhat more technical and developer-oriented than my usual blog posts. I have tried to keep it simple, but apologies if I lose any non-developers along the way. The implications, in turns of support for different operating systems, may still be relevant to you.

Continue reading

Aeon Timeline 1.0.5 has just been released

Aeon Timeline 1.0.5 has just been released and is available for download here:

http://release.scribblecode.com/AeonTimeline.dmg

To avoid the link constantly changing, I have dropped the version number naming convention from the dmg file.

Version 1.0.5 fixes the following bugs in 1.0.4:

  • A crash that occurred when removing an existing link in Scrivener Synchronize.
  • A bug that prevented the time component of end dates from the Add Event window from updating correctly.
  • Tags set in Add Entity window are now correctly added to the Start Event.
  • Fixed bug in Export that didn’t show new events without restarting the application.
  • Fixed tab order in Add Event window to allow tabbing into every field.

Apologies for the stream of updates, but I am releasing new versions in quick succession so that we can achieve a bug-free, stable version of the application as quickly as possible to give everyone the best possible experience with the application.

I feel this approach is better than leaving people using software with known bugs, just to release the bug fixes as a unit.

Hopefully, the number of reported bugs will start to dip after this release. The number of crash reports I have seen in the last few days is reducing, and are almost all related to the crashes that I have fixed in this release.

Regards,
Matt