Scapple Beta - New Users Please Read

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Gareth
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:24 am Post

entropydave wrote:I have solely one request. I would like to be able to "circle" groups of notes. The paper equivalent would be drawing an enclosing line around a number of notes.


+1

I don't know how easy it would be to implement, but drawing tools for circles, boxes and lines would be great for grouping or dividing notes on a sheet. Perhaps as a graphics layer behind all the notes. The ability to do gradient fills might be nice too...

If you could save that layer or background as stationery, that would open up lots of uses. Businesses doing SWOT analysis, teachers wanting a class to brainstorm in a structured way etc...

You could think of it like the coffee stain on your original post. ;-)

Otherwise, I'm having a lot of fun playing with it! Thanks for dreaming it up.

Cheers
Now available: The Aviator - a speculative fiction involving airships, AIs, and the elixir of life (which is cheese), set in a world being hammered by climate change - The Burning World. "Brilliant and wickedly satirical" - Sonny Whitelaw.

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ilottg
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:59 am Post

I think in other apps they are referred to as boundaries. Yes, they are useful.

GI.

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KB
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:42 am Post

I have considered this, but the ability to "circle" notes would exponentially add to the complexity. For instance, if you can select a bunch of notes and have them "grouped" so that a line is drawn around them all, taking the best path possible, then you could easily have big gaps in that shape if the notes are spaced apart. Then it's not clear what happens when notes get dragged into that area - presumably become a part of the group, although what happens if the note only touches the boundary is less clear. And then what happens if two groups overlap. Imagine having five cards in a cross formation, with one in the centre. You pick the top and bottom card and set it for them to be circled. The boundary is drawn, and just by dint of its placement, the centre card now looks as though it is part of that group. Does it therefore become part of that group? Or not? Should the cards be shuffled around to move this? Suppose the centre card *does* become part of that group, or you included it intentionally. Then what happens if you select the left and right cards and group those? Now there are two shapes overlapping, and the centre card is in both of them. Is it therefore part of two groups (even though you assigned it only to one, or none)?

The alternative is to allow the user just to draw shapes and drag notes into them, with the shapes having no meaning (sort of like the connections now). But then a drawing layer needs adding to the program. Now you need a way of switching into drawing mode away from the marquee selection tool. And what if you want to resize a circle? Again, a draw-resizing tool. And so on.

And no matter which system is chosen, users will then (more so than now) expect Scapple to support some sort of hierarchy in its exporting, even though groups that overlap makes hierarchy very difficult. Where would a note that fell into three groups land when exported?

All in all, this is the sort of thing I want to avoid with Scapple, I think. I certainly don't want to start adding fully-fledged drawing tools and turn this into Photoshop. :)

Thanks and all the best,
Keith
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entropydave
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:20 pm Post

Hello Keith

Thanks for considering this even if you reject it. I'm only pressing you because a) you seem reasonable and b) circling is a very common way in which people organise things on paper.

The underlying graphics layer would meet my needs to a valuable, though incomplete, extent. A simple toggle between which layer was active for editing would suffice I think, though even that might be overkill as you could disambiguate which item (a note or a graphic) was being clicked by the location of the cursor. There is no need to make Photoshop, the equivalent of Skitch is enough.

You have slightly misunderstood my original suggestion by running together the spatial idea of a graphics layer and the relations between notes. What I propose can be done on paper, so I think it can be done here. Take your cross example. If we select north and south and "circle" it, I would expect a shape that was not circular but rather enclosed north and south, yet missed centre. So it might look like a water balloon whose middle you had squeezed. The action the UI needs to capture is the explicit addition of a note to the relation represented by a colored shape. Just as you cannot link a note C to two linked notes A and B by moving C to sit or touch on their link line, you cannot add centre to north and south by moving it onto part of their shape. You could indicate that you wanted to add centre to the circle of north south, perhaps, as you link notes now by dragging it onto a note in an encircling group, maybe with cmd and opt pressed.

Representing further potential relations between notes in a data structure does not seem to me difficult. Getting the UI to allow the addition or removal of additional relations seems to me something you have more or less done already. Yes, you have one big task, viz. redrawing shapes whenever a note moves, so that the shapes always enclose only those notes to whom they are related by the encircling relation. Overlap of shapes is inevitable but is manageable even for unfilled shapes, and better with filled shapes whose overlaps would be visible by colour mixing.

You might say that this could wind up looking ugly. Yes, but it can do now. You won't be able to protect users from themselves.

I take your point that the hierarchy cannot be exported, but that is already the case. If I make three notes, A, B, C, and join each to the others. We get a triangle whose *visible* hierarchy is unclear. Is it right to left, top to bottom, right to left? At present in Scapple, if one exports, one gets different results by moving the notes around, but not by changing the established link lines/relations. So how to export is an issue, but not one that can be solved non-arbitrarily since you allow multiple relations/connections--which is Scapple's strength.

Thank you again for your response and for Scapple.

David.

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Gareth
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:53 pm Post

A very simple drawing layer is all I'm thinking about, Keith. Circles, boxes and lines and (perhaps) labels. Need not imply anything about relationships between notes, selections or hierarchies. Certainly no need for graphics of any complexity. With the ability to save the background as stationery (or to load your own image).

Or perhaps a coffee-stain stamp... ;-)

I love the free-form notes and links. Being able to group or divide them visually would simply recreate the big sheet of paper experience for me...

Cheers
Now available: The Aviator - a speculative fiction involving airships, AIs, and the elixir of life (which is cheese), set in a world being hammered by climate change - The Burning World. "Brilliant and wickedly satirical" - Sonny Whitelaw.

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Juddbert
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Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:15 pm Post

entropydave wrote:Hi Keith

I have just been trying out Scapple...

...I would like to be able to "circle" groups of notes. The paper equivalent would be drawing an enclosing line around a number of notes. The idea is that I have various notes, some of which have some relations by dint of arrows, but some of which are related by being members of a group. That group is indicated by an enclosing line.

This is not my intent, but you could use it to do some simple venn diagrams.

Stacking will not achieve this, because the "circles" may be many and may overlap.

Arguably what I want could be achieved by selecting the notes to be circled and then creating a new note to which all are attached. The problems with this are two: line explosion; not representing the association in a spatial way that is readily perceptible. This latter is achieved because circles can be of differing colours (stroke at least, preferably fill too).

I would propose that the feature work as follows for limited complexity. Select all the notes to be circled, choose a menu item for circling, draw the tightest shape that pleasantly encloses all notes. Fill that shape with a 50% opacity colour. Overlapping colours should be gently cumulative, i.e. be darker, but not necessarily by straight addition of luminance values.

At any rate, thank you for building Scapple and for considering my request.

David.


I think it's quite easy to add images that will achieve what you're aiming for. This example really took no time at all.

Regards

Roy :wink:

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cor_stellae
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Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:40 pm Post

KB wrote:
cor_stellae wrote:Well, Keith, with so many intentional features, I may not be able to make many suggestions without betraying the concept.


Touché. :shock:

1) I changed the background color, exported the new "map" and the PDF ended up with the original yellow background. Would that be a bug?


I'll look at that. Obviously that's a bug - it should retain the background colour or use no background colour at all if you ticked the option not to have a background for the exported PDF.

2) It was definitely easy to take notes, but once the thing started to grow up, it became more difficult to manage. The fact that when I moved one note, none of their children moved with it was a little bit of a problem after a while. I guess this is intentional too, but it became non practical at some point.


Of course it's intentional - I'm not sure how I could have accidentally programmed that? I'd find it very awkward if every time you moved a note it moved all of its connected notes, especially when pretty much everything can be connected to everything else. You can use the keyboard shortcut in the Edit menu for quickly selecting connected notes, though. If you find it difficult to manage, then it's probably not the tool for you. :)

3) The fact that the box won't adapt to the new size of the words when set on bold is kind of annoying too. I would prefer if it was automatic. You already answered this, I'm only giving my honest opinion.


I changed my mind on this one after answering the other poster and playing some more. This one has been changed for the next build.

4) The place of the bubble where the line connects appears kind of random at this time. The problem appears evident with different lenghts siblings (due to the amount of words in each of them), some may have the line on the center, others on the side, depending on the extension of the words in the bubble. It looks messy. I guess that's intentional as well.


Yes, it is intentional (the word of the moment, it seems). Sort of, anyway. The arrows just point towards the centre of the notes.

If I want to present this to other people, I would definitely need another application.


Well, yes, this isn't presentational software at all. It's working-out-rough-ideas software.

(I guess iThoughts for iPad spoiled me. It works better than other more expensive Mac software).

It definitely sounds as though you should stick with iThoughts and your iPad - just as with Scrivener, Scapple won't suit everybody, but thanks for your honest thoughts regardless!

All the best,
Keith


I apologize if I said anything that may have been offensive. That's not the intention. What I was trying to do was explaining how I work, and how somethings became a problem or not while I was doing it. I was probably testing the application with the wrong project and, well… now I know for certain what it's not for (and will never be, and no need to, since other apps already do it).

What happened with my first attempt on Scapple is that what looked as random thoughts easily took shape and became a real interconnected mind map. I definitely had to switch programs; since it stopped being just "planning" or just "brainstorming" (I know, you hate the word), and it became a real usable graphic that had to be inserted into a paper, and a public presentation for a conference. Once something evolves from random thoughts to organized graphics… it definitely needs to be done somewhere else, since all the tools that may seem restrictive for free form notes become heaven for structured information. Anyway, solution was easy: started on Scapple, finished on iThoughts. That's what that particular tool is for, and it's quite good on that (much better than more expensive-complex software).

I will try it with a different project, something more in the concept of the program, and see what happens. I may just not be used to plan this way, or think this way… or… well, that doesn't mean I'm not willing to give it a try.

af
afcondon
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Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:22 pm Post

Very, very nice. I have been using it for several days now, no crashes.

I hope it stays minimal - looks really lovely fullscreen. That said, there are occasions where a picture is worth the proverbial thousand words - any thoughts on adding images? dead-set against or a possible addition?

Hu
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Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:20 pm Post

afcondon wrote:Very, very nice. I have been using it for several days now, no crashes.

I hope it stays minimal - looks really lovely fullscreen. That said, there are occasions where a picture is worth the proverbial thousand words - any thoughts on adding images? dead-set against or a possible addition?


You can do this already. To quote from Quickstart Guide (to be found here): "Drag in image files from the Finder to add them to your Scapple map."
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Tripper
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Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:11 pm Post

Has anyone else had problems unarchiving this download? I just get the spinning ball and have to force quit.
The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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AmberV
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Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:24 pm Post

No, I just tested the .zip file again and it works fine. How many bytes is your download? It should be "4,332,798 bytes (4.3 MB on disk)" in the Get Info palette.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Tr
Tripper
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Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:31 pm Post

Yes, that's the correct size. Downloaded it twice with the same problem. It's using Archive Utility to uncompress it. Perhaps I should use something else?

Update: Used Stuffit Expander and it worked!
The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

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AmberV
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Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:43 pm Post

You might want to clear your caches using Onyx then. It sounds like Archive Utility is jammed up (it doesn't clean up after itself very well, and sometimes if you try to extract a bad .zip file it'll just stop working).
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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af
afcondon
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Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:04 am Post

[re adding images]

Oh! that's great, thanks!

af
afcondon
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Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:07 am Post

afcondon wrote:[re adding images]

Oh! that's great, thanks!


should have added - i suppose paste from clipboard will be enabled eventually? and drag and drop (ie from email)?