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Identifying Timelines

A guide on how to identify potential uses of the Timeline behaviour.

We have found that while it is quite easy to have a theoretical understanding of how a behaviour works, it can be hard to actually identify the use of a behaviour when looking at an app of reading requirements. It is the purpose of this article to help you understand the best way to go about recognising a potential use of the Timeline behaviour.

The first step is being familiar with behaviour and how it works. For a developer, this may mean knowing the technical details of how it operates, but for most people this just requires an understanding of its capabilities and limitations. If you haven't already, make sure you read our Timelines Behaviour Overview.

Identifying a potential Timeline

There are two aspects to consider when it comes to the Timeline behaviour: the visual aspect, when you are displaying an actual graphical representation of the Timeline of changes; and the data aspect, the tracking of changes in data over a period of time.

As you probably realise, the visual aspect is the easiest to identify, and if you spot that, then you are almost guaranteed that the behaviour will be used. Visually, a timeline can be displayed in two ways (unless custom code is involved): it will either be the historical log, displayed as a list of actions; or it will be an actual timeline with the events as points on the timeline.

From a data point of view, you can identify the use of a timeline when there is a need to track changes or other events against an entity. Whether this collected data is used for reporting, or creating a history against an entity, it can be put to use in a number of ways.

Examples of Timelines

Change Log

You can use the Timeline behaviour (with a bit of custom code) to create a log of changes which have occurred against a specific entity. Say for example that you had an application of some description which needs to go through multiple people to get filled out. You could use the Timeline behaviour to see who had edited it and when they did it, and then display that information as a log.

Daily Report

Timeline can be quite helpful when it comes to creating reports about changes in the system. While it cannot do all of the legwork, it can assist with the capturing of information which can then be manipulated into a report or dashboard.

Viewing History

The viewing history list found on streaming sites like Netflix or Youtube are an example of a customised Timeline behaviour. It is capturing actions, in this case viewing history, and displaying that information back in a list.