General plugins

New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget

 
 
Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Developers

Hi,

I've created a filter to embed an MIT SIMILE Timeline Javascript interactive widget. You and your class can use it to visualize temporal/ historical data. The data source can be a static XML file, or a dynamic Moodle Database activity (currently Moodle 1.9 only).

Upload a timeline XML, then the minimal syntax is:

[Timeline]
dataUrl = COURSE_ID/simile-invent.xml
[/Timeline]

And a screenshot of the included inventions example:

Screenshot of inventions timeline

Feedback welcome. Enjoy!

Nick

 
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Picture of Geoffrey Rowland
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi Nick

A big thanks for this work and making the code available. It has a lot of potential for anything from geological and historical timeframes to, say, project management. I'll certainly give it a spin on Moodle 2.

As you are aware, David Hicks started work on integrating SIMILE back in 2006 but, for whatever reason, interest/development waned.

http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=58038#p276684

If you have not already found his original code (and it is farly well hidden) it is still available here:

http://www.sansay.co.uk/?q=node/9 

May still be some useful stuff in it.

There is some related info from the ULCC on using timelines in Moodle

http://moodle.ulcc.ac.uk/mod/resource/index.php?id=81

I'm also aware of a SIMILE-based course format and a course reports plugin, but have not tried either of these

http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=133701

http://www.dfwikilabs.org/course/view.php?id=24

Will report back experiences of your new code

Cheers

Geoff

 
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Picture of Geoffrey Rowland
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Hi again Nick

A quick follow up ..

Works for me on Moodle 1.9.11 cool

Though the bottom link to the XML data is not working for me

I'm getting a link like http://[moodleaddress]/course/4/simile-invent.xml

whereas I guess it should be more like

http://[moodleaddress]/file.php/4/simile-invent.xml

 

Not yet had any luck with Moodle 2.1 alpha. Will also try Moodle 2.0.3

I presume you need to set up 'Legacy course file' to get this to work with Moodle 2

 
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Picture of Geoffrey Rowland
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

The following fixed the XML link for me (on Moodle 1.9.11)

In filter.php around line 124

$alt_link ='<p><a class="tl-widget-alt xml" id="tlw-end" href="'.$CFG->wwwroot.'/file.php/'.$config->dataUrl.'" type="application/xml" title="'.$label.'">'.$config->title.'<abbr class="accesshide"> XML</abbr></a></p>';

Probably have to do something similar for the JSON link though I have not tried this

 
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Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Developers

Hi Geoffrey,

Thanks for giving it a go and reporting back.

I'll work on a fix for the XML link - it needs to behave slightly differently for Moodle 1.9 and 2, so not just a one-liner unfortunately. Thanks for the report.

Also, those links are useful. I was aware of the 2006 work on a timeline plugin, but never found a link to the code. I'll take a look when I have mo.

And, I'd come across the Timeline course format, but had not twigged that it used SIMILE - its not mentioned in the plugins entry!

For your interest, CONTRIB-2502 is the issue-report under which I've been working so far. Michael de Raadt has been providing much useful feedback.

Thanks again,

Nick

 
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Picture of Ger Tielemans
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Hi Nick,

I will continue here, so moved my comments to this place:

Picture of Ger Tielemans Ger Tielemans - 18 May, 17:15
 
What a beautiful implementation of the MIT Timeline! Thanks!

The tag under the timeline gives me this: http://www.taalkit.org/moodle/mod/resource/4/timeline/simile-invent.xml
instead of: http://www.taalkit.org/moodle/file.php/4/timeline/simile-invent.xml

Picture of Ger Tielemans Ger Tielemans - 18 May, 17:18
I like your choice to make it available as a filter. Everywhere  a student has access to an edit box (assignment, forum, wiki...) he/she could add a timeline. So it could become a very intersting alternative way of homework assignment.
 
But how can students add a timeline to a forum? I must somewhere store the file before I can add it to the filter...
 
... I tried to attach an xml to a message, reopen that message and then attach the link to that xml to the timeline in the message.... but it gives an error and I can no longer edit/kill this message, because the writing hand is also gone... (Only the admin must delete the message in the database.)
 
 Picture of Ger Tielemans Ger Tielemans - 20 May, 11:11
Of course the admin can remove this wrong forum message from the database, but not accepting an empty or wrong XML file would be better.

By the way, to make it possible for teachers to edit this XML file in the files directory of a course, I made a modification to /files/index.php
(line 848 in moodle 1.9.12 and 1.9.11):
was:
if ($icon=="text.gif" || $icon=="html.gif) {
now:
if ($icon=="text.gif" || $icon=="html.gif" || $icon=="xml.gif") {
(I do not know where to change it in Moodle 2.0 and higher)
 
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Picture of Ger Tielemans
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 
Nick, can you replicate this problem and do you already have a soluition?
 
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Picture of Sue Holtz
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

This widget looks very promising. Can it be an interactive activity, i.e., can the class work on developing the timeline together, and has anyone tried it in 2.0?

 
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Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Developers

Hi Sue,

Sorry I haven't replied sooner. Thanks for the enquiry.

Yes, the timeline can be generated from a Moodle Database activity, so that your class can collaborate to create the timeline. See an example further down the Readme (substitute a value for the 'DATA_ID').

This feature is not yet available for Moodle 2, though I've created an issue in the tracker for the task. Feel free to watch the issue report, and I'll also report back here.

Many thanks,

Nick

 
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Picture of Sue Holtz
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Nick,

Sorry for sounding ignorant here, but is it just the widget that does not work in 2.0.3 or the Timeline itself? The page at the beginning of this post mentions a download for 2.0, which I tried. I got the database started, but then I got stuck on the install instructions. (Not really a programmer).

Many of the courses we teach are historical in nature, so it would be really neat to use the timeline.

If the timeline itself does work in 2.0.3 could someone please simplify the instructions for me, or point me in the direction where I could find them?

Thanks

 

Sue

 
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Picture of Sue Holtz
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

I am playing with this in my 1.9 install using the database option. The timeline shows up as does a link to my data(base)source, but the data do not show on the timeline. When I click on the link to the data, I am taken to the database. What am I doing wrong?

 
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Picture of Sue Holtz
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

I got it to work when I read your notes on the bottom of the README file. I changed the DATE field to text and used the ISO 8601 format and now my timeline works. Thanks!

Now if I could only get the title to work on the top of the timeline.

One more question, can the students download and keep the timelines they develop in class?

 
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Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
"Can students download...?" Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Developers

Hi Sue,

Interesting question regarding downloads!

The timeline is a mixture of HTML, Javascript, CSS and images (the filter is mostly PHP). So a true 'download' would need to package this up.

So, currently no. I can look at an <iframe> embed as a hack - so the student could download a small HTML file, which embedded the timeline. Would that help?

I'll note all these requests, and review them.

Cheers,

Nick

 

BTW, I'll keep repeating this! - the entry in the new Plugins database,

http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=filter_timelinewidget

 
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Picture of Sue Holtz
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

I hate to be a pest on this, but I have the timeline working in 1.9 using the database option so students can enter information. I figured out to use the ISO formatting for the dates, but now am stuck on what to do when the date is BC. My research says that you just put a - before the year, but the date did not register on the timeline. Any ideas. This is such a wonderful product, we would love to be able to figure out how to use it for the BC era.

Thanks again for all of your hard work. I know I could not do the programming.

 
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Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget / BC dates
Group Developers

Hi Sue,

I'm sorry it's taken so long to respond. (I've been completing a book, about Moodle).

BC dates are tricky. There are potentially limitations in Javascript, and in the MIT Simile libraries. I'm putting a question to the author of this page on the SIMILE Wiki, RonanKER,

I know I had a play with,

intervalUnit = MILLENIUM

-- Events tended to be 'lost' because they were generally too short, relativly speaking (I thought of archaeology as an interesting use-case).

I'll report back when I know more. Thanks for your interest and patience,

Nick

 

BTW, the entry in the new Plugins database,

http://moodle.org/plugins/view.php?plugin=filter_timelinewidget

 
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Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
Links to 'research' - Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Developers

Hi Sue,

Sorry forgot to ask - would you mind posting any links related to the 'research' you mention?

You may have found something useful! (If you can remember/ find the links - months...)

Thanks, Nick

 
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Picture of Sue Holtz
Re: Links to 'research' - Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Nick,

Sorry, I did not save the research, or my notes on this. I would think, though, that I searched on the ISO date standard.

Sue

 
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Picture of Dan Fenske
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Please forgive my lack of codingn skills.  I would like to use this filter with a Moodle Database.  When you refer in the ReadMe to :

substituting an appropriate integer in place of DATA_ID (mod/data/view.php?d=N): 

I'm afraid I don't know what the appropriate integer is.

How do I know what to put here?

 
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Picture of Dan Fenske
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Just wondering if anyone is still following this thread.  I am pretty much stuck.  I need to know how to find the values specific to my database.  If there is help out there, I would really apprciate it.

 
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Nick a few years ago, in a leather jacket
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group Developers

Hi Dan,

Sorry for the delay in responding (this filter features in a book I've been writing, and it's been a mad dash to finish the book - details in my user profile).

This is a very useful question.

If we imagined for a minute that the Books database on Moodle.org had the appropriate fields ('start', 'end', 'title' etc. as mentioned in the Readme), and that the Timeline Widget filter worked with the Database module in Moodle 2+ (which it may not yet - it's on my list of todos), then we take this URL:

    http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=55

And use the value of 'd', 55, like so in a Moodle resource:

[Timeline]
dataSrc = mod/data
dataId = 55
; other parameters ...
[/Timeline]

Note don't use the 'id' (you may have to put example data in your DB, and browse around to find 'data/view.php?d=M&r=N'. 'd' database, 'r' record.) I hope that helps.

Many thanks for your interest and comments,

Nick

 
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Picture of Roger Emery
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Hi,

I'm also struggling with getting database data to display in 1.9.14

 

The timeline filter is working OK, there are no errors, however I have nothing displayed on the timeline.

Please can you clarify the Database field types. I've named them exactly as per the readme, start and end are type date, what type should the others be? i.e. is link field of type text or URL?

my embed code is:-

[Timeline]
dataSrc = mod/data
dataId = 487
date = 2011
intervalUnit = MONTH
intervalPixels= 75
[/Timeline]

 

This is an excellent tool! If only I could get it to work - I'm sure I'm missing something simple.

Kind Regards

Roger

 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

I expiriencing similar issue, not able to see any entries on the time line, though every thing seems to function fine, without errors.

 
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Picture of Nadav Kavalerchik
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators

I am attaching a fix (patch) to the /filter/timelinewidget/json.php file, to make it work with a Moodle Databse activity datasource.

Enjoy smile

Picture of Darcy Christ
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Hi Nick, great plugin! I've used Timeline before and noticed your development on the forums and just yesterday one of my colleagues requested some kind of timeline. Perfect timing!

Anyway, I am experiencing an error with Moodle 2.1.1. The error i

filter_timelinewidget/errorindataurl, loaded into the iframe. The URL for the iframe is:

http://<my domain>/moodle/filter/timelinewidget/widget.php?conf[title]=My+timeline&conf[date]=1900&conf[intervalUnit]=DECADE&conf[intervalPixels]=35&conf[dataUrl]=3%2Fsimile-invent.xml

3 is my course id and i have a file with title and filename are 'simile-invent.xml'. It is available with this URL:

http://<my domain>/moodle/pluginfile.php/86/mod_resource/content/3/simile-invent.xml

what might I be doing wrong?

 
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Picture of Darcy Christ
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

According to the documentation, the link to the timeline data should look like 2/timeline-invent.xml, but according to the code (regular expressions), it is expecting the url to include either content or user/draft

lines 37 - 55

// Handle relative URLs. They must start with a course/resource ID, eg. '2/timeline-invent.xml'
        if (0!==strpos($config->dataUrl, '/')
          && 0!==stripos($config->dataUrl, 'http://')) {
          if (file_exists("$CFG->dirroot/draftfile.php")) {
              // Moodle 2.x.
              if (preg_match('#\d+\/[a-z_]+\/content\/\d+\/.+\.#', $config->dataUrl)) {
                //dataUrl = 60/mod_resource/content/1/simile-invent.xml
                $config->dataUrl="$CFG->wwwroot/pluginfile.php/$config->dataUrl";
              }
              elseif (preg_match('#\d+\/user\/draft\/\d+\/.+\.#', $config->dataUrl)) {
                //dataUrl = 14/user/draft/403117530/simile-invent.xml
                $config->dataUrl="$CFG->wwwroot/draftfile.php/$config->dataUrl";
              } else {
                  print_error('errorindataurl', 'filter_timelinewidget');
              }
          } else { // Moodle 1.8-1.9.x
              $config->dataUrl = "$CFG->wwwroot/file.php/$config->dataUrl";
          }
        }
 
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Picture of Darcy Christ
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

indeed, the URL required should look more like:

86/mod_resource/content/4/simile-invent.xml

So perhaps this is just a documentation issue.

 
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Picture of Veronica Brandt
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

I'm hoping to get this working in Moodle 2.2, but the dataURL is not finding the xml file.

I'm guessing the paths have changed since Moodle 2.0.

Yet another reason to go and start over again in Moodle 1.9

Did you get Timeline working in 2.1?

 
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Picture of Veronica Brandt
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Also I'm noticing the url of the xml file keeps changing - it's dynamic so maybe that's the problem.  There is no static url you can pass for sure.

Though I'm not 100% sure, it might be similar to the difficulties holding back the Task Chain plugin: http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=196679

Any hope for this working in 2.3?  I guess we have to wait till June to know that.

 
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Picture of Veronica Brandt
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

I can't seem to get it to work in Moodle 1.9.15 either.

Database or xml.

the xml file is at: http://brandt.id.au/education/file.php/2/simile-invent.xml

but the timeline widget is looking for: http://brandt.id.au/education/mod/resource/2/simile-invent.xml - which just gives a 404 error.

 
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Picture of Darcy Christ
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

It works if you follow the path format above and make sure the code matches the YUI libraries. I had to update the path and I created a fork on the code to do so.

https://github.com/1000camels/moodle-filter_timelinewidget

 
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Picture of David Cheung
Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Hi Nick,

I am currently trying to make this filter on my Moodle 2.5.3+ (Build: 20131224) website but not succeed. I have followed your instruction stated in your github README procedure.

  • NOTE: it would appear that the path has changed, so if you are using Moodle 2.x, the path to the XML should look like:

    dataUrl = 60/mod_resource/content/1/simile-invent.xml (i.e. /mod_resource/content/1/simile-invent.xml)

 
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Picture of Irith Herman
תשובה ל: Re: New filter - SIMILE Timeline Widget
 

Did you get some answer to thr problem?

it is not workong for me also

Irith

 
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