Help:Building Event Note Cards/Archives1

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Mr. Smartie Notes: this is the weekly(or so) summations that provided information on how the implementation process for the new events/annotations/timelines functions were progressing. --Infobroker (talk) 08:03, 7 January 2015 (PST)

Timelines and Annotation Lists Are Back (with a vengeance)[edit]

The structural framework and working mechanics for Building dynamic on-demand Timelines using Event Note-Cards is pretty much in place and functioning smoothly. There are still lots of fine-tuning and look'n'feel things to attend to, but most of that will not impact the event note-card process for entering events/.

People are free to try their hand at making Event Note-Cards. I suggest picking a favorite issue and begin identifying and annotating events as a list. There is a button down below to prime an event page. (It will be moving elsewhere eventually). But for now it will hang here.

  • I will be adding some documentation which might also include a basic Q&A as time permits.
  • The template names might (WILL) change, but that impact should be negligible to authors.
  • There will be ongoing impact and changes to the site as a whole as these events note-cards firm up.
  • I ask for now, that any issue being annotated not to have been published within the last six months. Yes there are already some that I did during testing that violate this guideline, but lets try to adhere to this going forward.
  • As current examples show, there is only ONE EVENT PER PAGE.
  • Use the discussion tab on this page for questions, suggestions, ideas and comments.

As always, thanks for your participation, help and patience.

--Infobroker (talk) 10:11, 12 December 2014 (PST)

P.S. most of the earlier notes (below) on Timelines will be archived and/or incorporated into Help documentations.

Timelines are Coming Back (Part III):[edit]

Milestone #2 - 90% achieved

An entire issue of an Astro City comic annotated using the new (and currently still in test mode) event templates.

I was originally planning to do the newest issue of Astro City (Astro City #17), but as I explained to Kurt, there were a bit too many events happening in that issue to make a good demonstration vehicle. He apologized, but he also laughed. So instead I compromised and went with Astro City: The Flip Book. This is a better choice for two very good reasons:

  1. It is straight line continuity, without too many references to other time periods, and there are no flashbacks or flashforwards.
  2. The issue is available for a free read to anyone that wants to register an account with Comixology (also free). So everyone can read it and be familiar with the granularity I used in delineating the events.

You can access the issue [| here].

Doing an Event Annotation is easy and straightforward because it is template driven. Here's the process in a nutshell.

Step 1: Start by making a list of the events in an outline like format. I put my outline on a Sandbox page I built here on the herocopia site. You will note, I made them links so they serve as the feed to make the Event Annotation pages, one for each defined event.

Step #2: Use an event framework (it may, probably will change over time, but if done properly, the impact will be minimal) to annotate the event. You can use this button to get it started, or you can cut and paste from an existing event.

(I'll explain more about the framework when I get round to building the documentation pages for each of the templates.)

step #3: Edit the EventHeader template. This is where you add information about the element itself. The parameters should be fairly self-explanatory. I'll add more documentation later.

step #4: An event is made of one to many event elements. You use an eventElement template for each one. I've identified two types for now (character and device). There might be more. Feel free to weigh in on your thoughts here.

step #5: Close the framework with and EventFooter template.

The example I've done should help put all of this into context (I hope). If you are comfortable about all this, you are welcome to pick an issue and try it out. Use a sandbox page to test with. I plan to put up a signout sheet so we can coordinate the process better. For now please just append a note here saying you are reserving an issue.

There are still some glitches and ghosts in the machine. Page name is currently a problem. The wiki semantic parser likes to frame the name with two single quotes. Don't worry about that for now, we will fix it so they append from the current Publications pages. Probably as "<current pub page>/Events" or something similar.

Have fun! Ask questions using the discussion tab above.

Summary For Milestone #2 The Generated Event list for ''Astro_City:_The_Flip_Book''

The Events Pages (one for each event)

The events for this issue(Astro City: The Flip Book) incorporated into some of the many Annotation Pages that we will have available as part of the Herocopia Project. The possibilities here are massive, cool and ongoing.

--Infobroker (tal k) 11:46, 22 November 2014 (PST)

Issue Reservation List (temporary)[edit]

Please, only check out one issue at a time.


  • Astro City: The Flip Book - done
  • Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #7 - Premature, not quite done yet.
  • Astro City: Astra Special #1 - checked out - done
  • Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.1 #5 - checked out

Timelines are Coming Back (Part II):[edit]

The chaotic testing over the past week is paying off. We have devised a scheme for bringing back our Timelines, but this time in a manner that will allow full participation from our online community. We are still in test mode, we are still a few weeks away from even being available in a beta-type environment, but I will post updates when things are open for others to participate.

Things are changing fast, but here's a summary of the demonstration material that is online now.

Milestone #1 achieved.

We have proof of concept on both the process for data entry and a working prototype of a Timeline being built and generated using Semantic Wiki Queries. I am a happy camper.

This is nothing more than a prototype at this stage. It is very raw and there is not much in the way of well engineered design layouts. But the function is working, and while the data entry process is still a bit intense, it is not much different from what I was doing with the Access Database structures on my local machines a few years ago.

Start with the output page - a Chronological Timeline (it will be pretty printed later) of a handful of events from two different Astro City comical books.


The page is completely auto-generated using the following query (you can see it live and in person by tapping on the edit tab on the page)

    == Character Compendium of Astro City  ==

     | ?eventDate
     | ?name
     | ?elementType
     | ?issue
     | sort = eventDate
     | order = ascending 


The data is entered on event pages using some hand-built templates.

Like so:

    |title      =  {{PAGENAME}}
    |summary    =
    * <bullet form>

    |date        = 20??/mm/dd 
    |type        = flashback
    |comicTitle = {{AC}} No. 14
    |issue        = {{AC}} No. 14
    |page        = 11
    |panel        = 1
    |link  =
    |element = Ms. Ellie
    |link  =
    |element = Arthur
    |link  = no
    |element = Robo-Dog  

This built the following page and also primed page property data that feeds the auto-generated page above.


I know what is here is very rough, but proof of concept is accomplished. Next steps are to smooth out several kinks with how the data is displayed. Then we will construct various Timeline pages for Characters, Events, and we can subset pages to particular time spans and there will also be Event list pages, one for each issue, and once we smooth it out even more, we can use this data entry to drive the appearance lists for the character info boxes. That is currently be built manual. Once we get enough data events entered, we will wired entries in the info boxes up to the events.

There will be some very basic guidelines coming, that will help explain the process more fully and will server as guide for the editing community to participate in the process.

These functions, and others, will have significant impact (just like the info-boxes did), in how the Herocopia will evolve going forward.

Thanks to all for your patience.

--Infobroker (talk) 10:50, 8 November 2014 (PST)

More auto-generated Event pages, these filtered to individual issues.--Infobroker (talk) 15:32, 8 November 2014 (PST)
I received a query about the original Appearance and Annotation Timelines. I currently don't have a means to resurrect from my local array of computers. However, they are intact at (talk) 15:43, 8 November 2014 (PST)

Timelines coming back[edit]

It has always been in the back of my head to bring back the Timelines. When up to date, they were a nice list of character appearances, events and some notations to certain aspects (minor and major) that involved Astro City in general.

  • They are event driven.
  • They focused on characters.
  • There was always a problem keeping them up to date.

The mechanisms for annotating them are tied to a Database (Microsoft Access in this case). That limits them to non-wiki data entry in the initial stages. Being in a Database (relational of course), fully third-normal form, made managing the data a breeze. There wasn't any multiple data entry and bookkeeping to maintain or get out of synch. One event entry, with links to characters and such. There are ways to mimic some of this using #LABELS here in mediaWiki-land, and plans are in place to move more so towards that model for a lot of our pages currently in play. But that still doesn't replace full third normal form data organization.

However and yet, the offline annotations/timeline/event entry systems has the problem of being offline, and only one person (me in this case), being able to do the entry work. Add in the work to do the updates, and the corrections, and yea somewhere in the early months of the Dark Age books, my personal life veered heavily and time became something more than just chaotic and precious, and entered into some absurd overdrive. The Astro City timeline was one of the causalities. Worse, in the three-four year time span that it has been unattended, the computer it was on is pretty much a decommissioned brick. It might still work, but it will require an weekend or so to bring it back from the dead.

I am looking at modern alternatives, that might even include some form of online entry. But that is an even more involved time investment.

I would like to jump start the project soon. Just wanted to let people know...

--Infobroker (talk) 11:38, 3 April 2014 (PDT)