How do you visually represent a project’s timeline?

Here is a fun example to illustrate why software development in general is a complex endeavour:

  1. You think you’re going to fix a tiny problem: “hey, maybe we could make ‘s welcome dialog look a bit nicer“.
  2. Eventually, someone proposes a design or idea that looks interesting, and you realize that to truly realize it, you should also implement an audacious new feature: a way to visually represent an entire timeline as a thumbnail (that one is an open question, by the way; if you have some clever ideas, feel free to share them)
  3. …and to display new feature B properly, you should also consider—ideally—being a good citizen and implementing feature C upstream, in the toolkit you use instead of doing your own thing in your corner.

This kind of serendipity and interdependence happens regularly in FLOSS applications like Pitivi where we prioritize quality over “meeting shareholders’ deadlines and objectives”, which is why we sometimes take more time to flesh out a solution to a problem: we aim for the best user experience possible, all while negotiating and working with the greater software ecosystem we live in, instead of silently piling up hacks in our application… and we depend on the involvement of everyone for things to progress.

nekohayo

Branding strategist and business developer, free & open-source software UX designer and experienced community manager. Has unlimited hi-HP potions to keep teammates alive.

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5 Replies to “How do you visually represent a project’s timeline?”

  1. Hi, I don’t feel that using the timeline to represent a project is a good idea. Most of the time, you don’t pay attention to the look of it and reather work on a portion of it.
    Why not just pick up a frame and show it like Totem does for video ?
    Wouldn’it be more meaningfull ?
    You don’t have to present the whole thing to get something that can be representative. Totem plays audio-video streams but only represent the video part in its icon.
    When I’m éditing videos, I’m not thinking about its timeline, I’m thinking about rushes and result

    1. Why not just pick up a frame and show it like Totem does for video ? Wouldn’t it be more meaningful?

      I’m not sure it would be meaningful to me. As I said in the linked bug report, a single frame can’t really be representative for longer projects (ex: a 30 mins or 2 hours long movie can’t be summarized by one still picture, can it?), and it’s probably unable to serve as a unique identifier either: what if you have multiple variants of a project/story, or what if you reuse some clips across different projects (which is actually something I often do)?

  2. And this is why free and open source software is truly great. Because people think beyond themselves and do things _for_ the community, because they truly love the community, enough that they will sacrifice time for their own project so that the community can benefit. Thanks so much for doing it the right way. <3

  3. What I like, I don’t remember where they did this, is that you can scrub through the thumbnail simply by moving the mouse over it, i.e. from left to right would go from 0% to 100% of the video. Won’t work for things like nautilus, but you can make that work inside Pitivi at least.

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