Template talk:Grand Unified Timeline of Human History/Roman Empire

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The new template and the old one (version June 19 2005) are presented here on the same page for easy comparison.

Let me first state that the original template is very impressive already, a very nice example of how a major period can be visualized in a graphical timeline. This is why I chose it as a model for the project, and tried to optimize it in some aspects. Differences are explained below the charts. Of course some changes may be a matter of personal taste. Please give your opinion! Erik Zachte

Some differences between the old and new version:

  • The new version shows the whole period as one long timeline. The old version started that way as well and was later cut in two pieces that fit better on a page. This is just a matter of taste. I like to see the big picture and don't mind some extra horizontal scrolling. Practically, it is very easy to split a complete timeline into several parts, that can be used in different articles. Easier than the other way around. so my proposal is to build the timeline as one long diagram and split it for publication purposes in the final stage. A disadvantage is that having a timeline both at full length and also in split parts does mean double maintenance.
  • All bar colors have been optimised for better contrast with the texts. No dark text on a dark colored bar.
  • All texts are in fontsize:S, which makes them easier to read. Of course that also means they need more space, in this setup mostly extra vertical space. Spreading the emperors names over more rows meant that not much more horizontal space was needed and yet the overall height of the diagram is still within very reasonable limits. On a large screen or even medium sized screen no vertical scrolling is needed.
  • Most events are shown as wrapped text. This gives the overall impression that the chart looks a bit less crowded (I feel).
  • The periods section has been moved up. The periods (yellow and orange bars) deal mainly with emperors, so keeing it close to the names makes it easier to see the relations.
  • The new layout separates war events from all others. Few states gave more importance to military matter than the Romans; the history of Rome is filled with tales of war and conquest. Presenting these events separately makes it somewhat easier to get an overview of both categories of events.
  • The legend is now below the chart, together with other meta information, like related timelines and main article reference.
  • The new timeline is hopefully a little easier to maintain. The old timeline used quite a lot of shift statements to influence the position of each text, which must have taken quite some time to tune. The new chart frankly took some time as well to tune, yet it hopefully is somewhat easier to maintain. The emperors, war and events sections have now all been defined as a barset, meaning that each consecutive bar is automatically placed below the previous bar, and only on a barset:break the next bar is again placed topmost. Sometimes a barset:skip can be used to place the next bar one position further down, to prevent overlapping texts. Together with wrapping all longer texts, aligning all texts in the same fashion, and allowing more space less finetuning was needed.
  • Both old and new charts tell only half of the story. I would prefer to see one timeline of the whole history of the Roman state (again, which can be split into sections for different articles). After all despite all changes there is also much continuity between the three periods of Roman history, the monarchy, republic and empire. However at present EasyTimeline does not allow diagrams wider than 1600 pixels.

Erik Zachte 01:50, July 10, 2005 (UTC)

I started a new layer: very concise sketch of major developments. It can only be catchphrases but they give some guidance, and help to get some overview (or get it back after reading several full articles). Also many important people are missing yet, writers, philosophers, etc. Problem is how to present them. I tried Livy with bar from birth till death but it tends to dominate the chart then, especially if another 10 VIP's are added, so showing year of death only can be a compromise? Not quite happy with it. Best would be to show most active years with non-emperor VIP's as well (not the same as but similar to emperors where bar only shows years in office), but will this be feasible (can it be known) for all writers? Erik Zachte 04:12, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

Looks much more polished, this way! Maybe Timelines like this should be on separate pages, so they do not burst the layout of the pages they are hosted in. I'd like them to be linked with a thumbnail, like an image. With this much space, we could even try adding the span from birth to inauguration for each emperor in a lighter shade of red. For most of them life ends with the end of office anyway (or other way around) :-). --Dschwen 07:27, 11 July 2005 (UTC)

I'm glad you like it. Full life span, can be tried, they did not grow too old in those times, so maybe it won't clutter the page too much. A small symbol which emperors were murdered would be nice (with at:), probably a pattern will emerge. I'l keep adding to and polishing the timeline from time to time. First while my vacation lasts I'll do some EasyTimeline programming and bring us closer to external fonts and unicode support. Erik Zachte 20:22, July 12, 2005 (UTC)
I wanted to add a few emperor full life bars. I just realize that is not so easy in the barset concept, there is not way yet to keep consecutive plotdata lines one the same bar (in other words to suppress autoincrement bar number). Next to barset:break and barset:skip we would need a ... barset:keep ? These barset:keep's would have to be inserted for every emperor. Too bad, but I don't see a more concise soluton yet that would not fall out of line with rest of syntax. Erik Zachte 01:15, July 13, 2005 (UTC)
It can be done with a slightly different organisation of PlotData statements, but the bars are not going to fit in anyway, further to the right, see reverted test [1] Erik Zachte 01:41, July 13, 2005 (UTC)