Project history

Initial mission statement

In the very beginning, Timeline was created because Rickard was frustrated with regular calendars. He found it difficult to get a sense of when events occurred in time. Especially events far apart that would not fit in a calendar view. He thought that presenting events on a timeline where he could quickly zoom in and out and move around to show different views would help.

So, the core task of Timeline is to display and navigate events on a timeline. It has done that since version 0.1.0 which was released on 11 April 2009. Excerpt from the README:

The Timeline Project aims to create a cross-platform application for displaying and navigating information on a timeline. The main goal is that it should be easy to quickly display different periods in time with different kinds of information on the timeline.

If you have data that you would like to display on a timeline, Timeline should be able to show it. Timeline has multiple backends to display data from different sources.

Conference 2015

The first Timeline conference took place at Södertuna castle on the 13-15 February 2015.

The Timeline team met to discuss future directions of the project.


Södertuna castle.


The Timeline team.


  • We want to continue developing Timeline

  • We want to get more people involved in the development of Timeline

  • We worked on making it easier for new people to get into Timeline

    • We started writing guides
    • We improved the structure of the files in the repository
    • We experimented with a plugin architecture that will make it easier to make small modifications to Timeline
  • We want to let the Timeline community decide the direction in which Timeline should develop

    • We looked at mailing list traffic from 2014 to learn what problems users face when they are using Timeline
    • We started entering those problems in a backlog
    • We documented the process we should try to follow
    • In this process, all users’ problems are entered in the backlog
    • We try to solve problems from the backlog that most users have faced

Conference 2016

The second Timeline conference took place at Trosa stadshotell on the 12-14 February 2016.

Review of past year:

  • We have continued to develop Timeline. We are happy with that and will continue.
  • More people are involved in discussions about Timeline. We are happy about that. Although there have been no contributions of code.

We discussed if extracting the canvas component would be a good project to work on. Reasons for doing it:

  • More developers might contribute code to the canvas component if they use it themselves in their own project.
  • The canvas is used today but is not supported by us.

We discussed having a forum instead of the mailing list and backlog. Problems it might solve:

  • The discussion happens in one place: in the forum thread instead of first on the mailing list and then transfered to the backlog.
  • It is easier to see the history of discussions compared to the mailing list archive.

Refactoring goals:

  • Rename timeline to db.
  • Move test/specs to test/unit and test/something-else.

Future plans:

  • We would like to find a conference where we can meet people interested in Timeline. Perhaps FOSDEM?
  • We are interested in creating an Android app that displays timelines. It will be a totally different project, but it will use concepts from Timeline and will try to preserve the look and feel. One idea is to focus on the Canvas component and try to implement such component in Java as well. It will still be separate projects, but they can use similar concepts.