Following this most recent release, I thought I would give you an update of where I see things heading from here. I have mapped out the features I intend to add into the first official release from here, and divided them into the releases that I think will be required.
Although I might swap around the order of these a little, and I will always accept suggestions for improvement (big changes would probably wait until after 1.0), here is a quick summary of where I see the application heading between now and release time.
Version 0.6 – Navigation and Usability (Just released)
- This version, just released, added many user interface improvements to aid navigation and usability
Version 0.7 – Addressing Information Overload
Ideally, the application should provide different levels of detail depending on context – there is no use showing 35 different events on one day when zooming out to view an entire decade, it just leads to information overload. I want to look at options to adjust the amount of information displayed based on context. This might include things such as automatically grouping and hiding events when there are too many competing for one spot, allowing the user to name time periods, etc. Obviously, usability must remain paramount here – anything that improves usability and simplifies information flow without requiring significant additional effort is the goal.
Version 0.8 – Integration and Exporting
I intend to work with Keith to improve the integration between Scrivener and Aeon Timeline – options we will consider include bi-directional exporting and importing between the two, potentially with some kind of guided (but ultimately user-controlled) syncing. The “non-linear narrative” idea that was first considered at the very start of the application may also be revised and considered as a way to link the two. Again, all of this will depend on what can be achieved in a user-friendly manner, and what we think will provide definite benefit. As part of this release, I will also look at fixing up and adding to exporters for other applications, and consider including some importers from things such as CSV, iCal, etc.
Version 0.9 – Final Polish
This will add many interface polishes and “nice-to-have” ideas that have accumulated on my list, items such as opening the last used timeline at startup, text wrap on event titles, ability to edit event titles in-place in the main view, bulk-change label via right click menu, etc. I will also update the toolbar buttons at this point in time.
Version 0.9.5 – Release Candidate
This will be the final release that will roll into a Version 1.0 release provided no further bugs are identified. Aside from fixing any bugs found in version 0.9, this will add the necessary licencing controls, updated documentation etc. that is required for a commercial release.
Version 1.0 – First Official Non-Beta Release
Among everything else, I will need to build a website to sell the product, create demonstration videos, get it into the App Store and all of those exciting things.
I am not going to put a timeline on any of these items right now, but I am feeling much more comfortable now that the finish line is in sight and I have a plan for how to get there. To avoid some of the long delays we have seen previously, I will be actively reducing my work hours soon to allow me to dedicate more time to this development and get the application out in a shorter time period.
I hope you all find the most recent release (0.6) to be a great improvement and continue to provide me feedback over the next few months as the application finally nears release. If you think there is anything significant missing from my development plan, of course you can let me know and see if I can squeeze it in.