's Open Source Javascript Timeline Graduated from MIT

February 17, 2009 - Transparency for $800 Billion

With Obama signing The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today in Colorado its new website has opened up to the public at This website is geared towards giving citizens an unprecedented amount of transparency in the allocation of $787,000,000,000 dollars. With that much money on the line one could only hope the website to match would be impressive. So far, it's interesting from a 50,000ft level. There are charts and graphs showing the major 8 categories of distribution. The most interesting item on the page though, is a javascript timeline.

MIT's Interactive Javascript Timeline

Timeline - A Graduate of MIT

After digging through the source it became clear this is the javascript timeline widget that originated from MIT's Simile project. The purpose of the Simile project is to "develop robust, open source tools that empower users to access, manage, visualize, and reuse digital assets." Other javascript widgets that have graduated from the Simile project include:

  • Timeplot - widget for plotting time series and overlay time-based series over them
  • Exhibit - web app framework in Javascript for composing interactive data-rich web pages
  • Gadget - an XML inspector for creating useful summaries of vast pools of XML data
  • Welkin - an RDF visualizer
  • Fresnel - a vocabulary for displaying RDF
  • Seek - faceted browsing features for Mozilla Thunderbird that let you search through mail more effectively

It is great to see such high quality open source software being developed at leading universities like MIT. It's even greater to see our government leveraging this open source software to provide interactive views to important data in javascript without wasting money!


 Chris Hiester's avatar
Chris Hiester

It would be great if you could include a link to the timeline on the site

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