Sometimes we want to present events on a timeline to see how they developed. I have done this for referendums on immigration in Switzerland, but there are many other applications in research.

If you are looking for a free (as in open source), flexible, cross-platform application to create such timelines, look no further than the Timeline project. The web page is not the most appealing one, but the application does great timelines. The file format is a very (human) readable XML, so you need not fear lock in.

Features are given as:

– Scroll and zoom with mouse wheel (quite useful for longer timelines)
– Different representation depending on zoom level (so intuitive you won’t notice this)
– Go to a specific date, search events
– Organize events in hierarchical categories (this I find quite useful for research)
– Move and resize events with the mouse
– Duplicate events
– Export to image, text lists (great for smaller timelines), CSV (should that XML be too much of a challenge)

Where it could improve: more styling and better export to images. Well, it does do SVG export, so styling can readily be done in Inkscape or so.