Visualizing a timeline

It is a significant value added for the user, to have a list of events or periods (time series data) not only listed in a table or similar, but to have it visualized on a time scale, providing for preattentive recognition of the time relation (time distance) between the events. Often it is not possible to illustrate the proportions in one screen-size image, which requires some interactive visualization technique, allowing for scrolling around the time-scale. Also a "bifocal" view is advisable, ie a visualization comprising both a overall view and a detail view for a selected time-period. Furthermore options regarding the boundaries, granularity of the detail view, and general display settings are needed in the authoring stage. Various input formats would be desirable, but one simple text-based and perhaps one based on XML, would be a good start.
1 answer

Simile timeline
Timeline is a DHTML-based AJAXy widget for visualizing time-based events
It provides bifocal-view, with variable granularity of the detail view (within one timeline!). User navigates intuitively by panning horizontally over one of the two time-ribbons. It requires zero installation, data input is simply by pointing to a xml file.
Drawback: In some cases it would be nice to be able, to connect events, to express some kind of relation.