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Timeline Markers: Functional Overview

MPP timeline in ContentCreator

The timeline control in ContentCreator's Multi-Perspective Preview toolbar.

The ContentCreator functionality set Multi Perspective Preview (MPP) contains an interactive means to simulate the content of a web page at different points in time. This enables users to view both historical states of a web page, reflecting content changes over a given time period, and future states of a web page, including content that should only be displayed after a certain start date or during a given time period.

Project developers may provide custom logic to produce historical or future timeline markers. This allows editors to navigate along the timeline using markers which reflect dates at which project-specific, “interesting” changes (e.g. a section for a time-limited marketing campaign becomes visible) occur in the current web page's content.

Corresponding adjustments also generally apply to the FirstSpirit SiteArchitect.


Timeline providers define a set of timeline entries which allow users to navigate to project-specific, “interesting” dates using the Multi Perspective Preview toolbar.

The MPP timeline allows users to toggle between a historical timeline (providing historical views of a web page) and a future timeline (showing upcoming, time-based content changes). Developers may implement either one or both of the following interfaces, depending on project requirements, in order to provide custom past or future date markers for the respective timeline.

A timeline marker with single time entry (right) and a timeline marker with two time entries (left, with special icon and flyout menu)

Each timeline provider may provide a time range which will be used to define the timeline's scale; timeline entries within this range are placed accordingly along the timeline's length. If two or more timeline entries are so close together chronologically that they cannot be represented by individual markers without overlapping, ContentCreator will collapse these entries into one marker with an icon indicating multiple timeline entries and make these individual entries available for selection via a flyout menu.

Access API documentation:
Timeline markers in the past: HistoryTimelineProvider
Timeline markers in the future: FutureTimelineProvider

Project Settings

MPP timeline provider selection in project settings

MPP timeline provider selection in project settings

Project administrators may select historical and future timeline providers on a project-specific basis.

To select timeline providers, open Project Settings in FirstSpirit ServerManager and navigate to the page “ContentCreator settings”. See also ContentCreator settings (→Documentation for Administrators)

Important Ensure that the web-app component containing the selected timeline providers' classes and other resources is added to the project-specific ContentCreator web application, and that the web server configured for this ContentCreator web application is installed and activated.

Standard Timeline Providers

FirstSpirit provides two standard timeline providers:

History Timeline based on Release Revisions.
This timeline provider defines a set of historical markers representing released versions of the current page, reaching back as far as eight weeks.

Future Timeline based on Sections' Lifespan.
This timeline provider defines a set of future markers representing dates and times when scheduled pages (based on page reference settings) and sections on these pages (based on lifespan settings specific to each section element) become visible or invisible.

Example Implementation

The ContentCreator Examples module source code package provides sample implementations of both HistoryTimelineProvider and FutureTimelineProvider which generate markers for the previous and next days and weeks, respectively.

Both of these classes are located in the module's package de.espirit.firstspirit.opt.example.universal.timelineprovider.

Code Example

The Timeline Markers Code Example introduces the concepts surrounding timeline marker generation.

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