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Instructions for {{Timeline}}
== Usage ==

This template works automatically. Simply place {{timeline}} on any year, date or century page. The template does the rest for you.

It is completely automatic, and has no user-definable parameters.

Ideally, the template should be the first thing on a page, and the page should have a lead paragraph.

Sample output

Because this template uses parser functions that manipulate the PAGENAME of pages on which it is placed, it is impossible to show sample output on this page (Template:Timeline). If you wish to test it, just go to any timeline-related page and use it.

Special notes and limitations

  • Years must be in proper date format for this template to work. Thus the template will work on 5000000000, but not on the (technically incorrect) 5,000,000,000. New pages on extremely far-future years should be created in proper date format only. The easier-to-read, comma-separated version should be a redirect only.
  • As things stand on 11:14, April 1, 2010 (UTC), this template only works properly on century pages from the 11th to the 98th centuries AD. There are no immediate plans to make this template work on any century out of that range, as this wiki currently has (discounting redirects) no century page earlier than 15th century AD, and only two pages (101st century and 372nd century) beyond the upper limit.
  • This is the second version of this template. The past version required users to specifically define several variables. Thus you may occasionally encounter pages where this template has defined parameters. These are harmless, and do not impinge upon the proper operation of this version of the template. To reiterate, however, they are not required, or even used, by this template. Thus, editors should refrain from trying to define parameters such as "next", "prev", "century" and "decade".

To do list

Though this template currently has basic functionality on all pages, there are some things that need to be tweaked:

  • Graphic design — Initially, this version was implemented without full graphical design of the century and decade navigation boxes. This will be corrected by April 2010. Suggestions are welcome on the Template talk:Timeline.
Update 23:37, April 1, 2010 (UTC): All templates now have a basic level of graphic design to them. They're all reasonably "pretty". They work best when placed at the very top of a page. They float right and text flows around them. They look best when on a page with a genuine lead, like 2000s, 21st century or 5000000000.
  • 3-digit centuries — The template math does not current allow for anything other than 2-digit centuries (21st, 18th, etc.). At first it was thought that some solution would have to address the 1-digit centuries, but our earliest century page is in fact 15th century. Thus the concern is at the higher end of time. 101st century is the only non-2-digit century page on the wiki. Nevertheless a solution is possible, even if it isn't a particularly high priority.
  • Categories — automatic category addition isn't yet implemented, but this is a high priority. It should shortly be possible to enter {{timeline}}, and have it not only automatically create a nav box, but also to have the page automatically sort into the right year, century or decade category.
Update 09:41, March 31, 2010 (UTC): Automatic category stamping for years has now been enabled. Simply by putting {{timeline}} on the page, a page will be placed into the category pertaining to the relevant decade and century. What this template will not do automatically is start a brand new category. Thus, if no category currently exists, a redlink will be created.
Update 23:37, April 1, 2010 (UTC) Autocategorization has been enabled on year, century and decade pages.
  • Redlinks - A number of date-related pages are isolated, and it is extremely unlikely that there will ever be set in the next or previous year/decade/century. For instance, there's a little bit of stuff that happened in 292009, but it's doubtful we'll ever hear about 292008 or 292010. Somehow, the template should take care of this and be able to sense the next year/century/decade for which we have a page. This will eliminate a practice that has started to happen lately by which editors have been creating empty pages just to get a bluelink. If it is not possible to come up with a formula to find the mathematically "next" bluelink, then at the very least, the template will be changed to provide a message to consult "other years/decades/centuries" in this Category:decade/century/whatever.
A related issue is being able to make sense of very large numbers. If you look at 5000000000, the template functions properly, but uselessly. Those redlinks are never going to be filled in. And there's not much around that year, either. By sensing that all four links are red, the template should be able to replace the usual YearNav template with one link to Far future and be done with it.
Update 23:35, April 14, 2010 (UTC). This feature has been implemented for year pages.
  • Putting more into the boxes. As of 23:53, April 1, 2010 (UTC) the templates only include information that can be calculated simply from the PAGENAME. So, basically, you get what's ±1 or ±10 from the PAGENAME. So basically previous and next. We can do better. It should be possible to dumpt the entire contents of a decade category onto a year page, so that the template gives you every year that's within the same decade as the PAGENAME. It should be possible to give you every decade in the century to which the PAGENAME belongs.
Update 23:35, April 14, 2010 (UTC). This feature has been implemented on decade pages. Now, decades nav boxes tell you every year in the decade, plus what century the decade is in.
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