Help:Timelines

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Introduction

This is a guide for creating fannish timelines. Following the syntax and instructions detailed will enable you to add to the timeline category and enhance your articles. You are encouraged to adapt existing timelines rather than to start afresh, as to do the latter is a bit of work.

Please note that wikilinks within a timeline will be displayed as blue even if they do not point to an existing article. Please check to make sure all links are spelled and formatted correctly before creating a new article.

Adding New Data to a Timeline

If you are adding a data-point to an existing timeline, you will find the data under the sub-heading 'plotdata'. Copy a line, and replace the values which differ for your new data-point.

Creating a Timeline

As mentioned previously, it is far easier to adapt an existing timeline than start afresh.

  1. By finding a similar timeline, either on Fanlore, or elsewhere and adapting it to your needs.
  2. Start a new timeline on a new template page. The timeline can be easily transcluded in one or more articles where it is needed. This makes it less likely that someone will accidentally destroy the timeline when editing the page.
    1. When creating a new timeline template, use the naming pattern "Template:Timeline______" to make it easy to spot.
    2. Use the timeline template to create an outline for the timeline. This will:
      1. Place notes for editors at the top of the template, in between <noinclude> tags.
      2. Put the timeline in its own subsection for ease of editing, but put the section header betwen <noinclude>.
      3. Categorize the timeline, without passing the category on to the articles it is included in.

It's also recommended that you document your timeline heavily for later editors. Material to the right of a # is commented out, and is only visible when you edit the page.

Syntax

If you do decide that it's easier to start afresh with your timeline, we've documented the most common syntax form, with explanations of what they are. Further, more complex details are available at the extension's home page.

So, to start a timeline, we begin with the following code:


<timeline> 
DateFormat = yyyy
Period = from:1940 till:$now
Define $skip = at:end # Force a blank line

ImageSize  = width:200 height:600
PlotArea   = left:50 right:0 bottom:10 top:10
AlignBars  = justify

Define $dx = 25 # shift text to right side of bar

These lines of code tell the wiki how you want your timeline to look. DateFormat indicates how you want to enter your years of interest -- in this example, we've used yyyy. The Period tells when the timeline should start and when it should end. The global variable $now is a short-hand way of making it easy to continue to add dates of interest to the timeline. The ImageSize defines how wide and high our plot should be. The PlotArea command determines the margins -- you can use relative measurements here, but I've used pixels to make it easier to understand. AlignBars determines whether the bars should be spaced as far apart as possible (early leaves space on the right or bottom of your plot, depending on orientation, late on the left, and justify leaves as much space as possible).

Now we continue:


PlotData=
  bar:ZineProduction color:red width:25 mark:(line,white) align:left fontsize: