I ran across Timeline by SIMILE today. Being weary of using Excel to create timelines, i was sure there must be something slicker out there. Lifehacker offers a good introduction to Timeline: Geek to Live: Roll your own timeline.
Timeline is “a DHTML AJAX timeline widget for visualizing temporal information. It is like Google Maps for time-based information.”
I am hooked; can´t wait until there are more tools to make Timeline more usable, such as creating timelines from Calendars in iCal and templates that let me customize colors/styles without having to hand-code everything.
For now i am using a php file made from this example that allows you to expand/contract the timeline to hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly view. I call up the php file in my browser (say, file:///Users/username/Desktop/folder/timeline.php) which then displays the XML data in the widget. Both the php file and the xml file reside on my computer.
To create new events i use Lifehacker´s Simile Timeline Event-XML-O-Matic.
It appears that AjaxLab will come up with something more enhanced soon. I really would like to keep using Timeline and see it developed further.