A plea for Scapple-Scrivener integration: rebut KB's reasons

4m
4miler
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:24 am Post

After my initial enthusiasm, I am now gravely concerned with Scapple's feature set. A few years ago, I made a suggestion to Keith that Scrivener should add a 4th view:

- document view
- corkboard
- outliner
- (suggestion) mind map mode

In other words, my suggestion, years ago, would allow back-and-forth interchange of the mind map mode with the other three viewing modes. Why? To be able to refine and update the mind-map mode as you go.

I pointed out that -- even back then -- there were many superb stand-alone mind-map apps - but what we really needed was an integrated mind-map mode that allowed back-and-forth viewing, specifically that allowed update of the mindmap.

e.g. MindNode Pro (http://www.mindnode.com) offers almost all of the free form concept of Scapple. By saving the MindNode file as an OPML file, you can drag it to Scrivener. There are other apps such as iThoughts (http://www.ithoughts.co.uk) which can drag and drop mindmaps into Scrivener. After trying Scapple, I feel I can work faster in MindNodePro. It too offers free form whiteboard scripting, and can drag and drop to Scrivener!!!

So -- unless I'm not apprecating something here about Scapple -- we really don't need another drag and drop thing into Scrivener, since other apps already provide that.

This shouldn't be an EITHER/OR debate. We need both.

If limiting Scapple to 100% mirroring with Corkboard/Outliner would overly limit Scapple, then, by all means, have a separate Scapple that's unencumbered by that limitation. BUT, as well, we could do with a bare-bones, integrated Mindmap that 100% mirrors the Corkboard/Outliner, so that we can flip backwards and forwards, seeing the same ideas in three modes: corkboard, outline AND mindmap.

Hence, I am not arguing to Scrap Scapple. I'm arguing the need for both.

What I've always needed is an in-built, non-separate, ability to switch back and forth between MindMap and other viewing modes.

e.g. you create a mindmap, then press the button and you see it in corkboard and outliner. You refine the mindmap, and instantly can switch to corkboard and outliner. You can't do that with drag and drop.

Sure, Scapple might have ever so slightly, more refined features compared to MindNode Pro -- but I wager that many Scrivener users would *sacrifice* features, in exchange for the overwhelming need for a mind-map feature to be in-built into Scrivener.

The aim is 100% sync between Mindmap and the Corkboard/Outliner -- seeings its limitation as a positive, not a negative.

Scapple is merely another drag and drop external app, as described here: "The functionality [of Scapple] is already built in so that you can drag notes from Scapple into Scrivener's freeform corkboard or into the binder. You can also drag from Scrivener's freeform corkboard into Scapple."

There are already an abundance of other free-form apps. Not identical to Scapple, but as effective. Why re-invent a slightly better, but by no means world-shatteringly better wheel -- when there's a crying out need for an inbuilt back-and-forth inbuilt MindMap (or whatever it's called) inside Scrivener.

Many, many, many other app developers have, are, and will produce standalone mindmap apps.

No one in this world, except Keith, is positioned to create an in-built MindMap inside Scrivener that can provide back-forth switching between MindMap, Document, Corkboard and Outliner mode.

Why replicate what others are doing so well already -- creating standalone MindMaps -- when no one else can provide an in-built MindMap.

Even if Scapple is slightly better than MindNode Pro and iThoughts. It's a Canon/Nikon thing. The other standalone apps will eventually give everything that Scapple has. But the other standalone apps can never create an in-built, instantly updated MindNode mode inside Scrivener. Only Keith can do that.

I do not want drag and drop --- http://www.mindnode.com and http://www.ithoughts.co.uk already offer that with Scrivener. I'd want instant back and forth, seamless integration. Why? So that any updates to the MindMap can instantly be reflected in the Corkboard and Outliner. So that subsequent changes in Corkboard/Outliner can be instantly reflected in the MindMap. And so forth, back and forth, countless times through the writing project. Drag and drop cannot do that.

With drag and drop, there is no instant, seamless update between the MindMap and the Corkboard/Document/Outliner. If I have to drag to Scrivener, then if I change the outline, it means there is no sync with the Scapple file (at least from what I read).

From another post, I have copied Keith's reasoning for a standalone app:

Keith said: "The corkboard and outliner aren't "additional features", though - they are intrinsic parts of the program that allow you to drill down into your binder outline, zooming in on sections of it, manipulating the contents of folders and structuring the work by working with only the titles and synopses of documents. The corkboard and outliner map onto the binder very directly - they *are* the binder, just displayed in a different way. A Scapple-like view wouldn't be able to do any of that. A Scapple board is a place to brainstorm anything form a whole project to a a single idea; it wouldn't very often equate to an individual section of the binder in the way the corkboard and outliner do, and its freeform connections wouldn't be able to map onto the binder structure anyway. So, if we made it part of Scrivener, it would just be entirely separate to everything else anyway - basically, a different app within the app. It would feel like something tacked on. There would be nothing at all to gain over having it as a separate app, which is much cleaner, and which may also appeal to people who don't use Scrivener as well as those who do."

My response:

Keith is arguing for a more-featured Scapple. Keith feels that integrating Scapple with Scrivener would severly limit Scapple.

If the aim is to produce the best mindmap app, then Keith is correct.

Keith doesn't realise that many Scrivener users would actually be thrilled with the limitations he described. Keith sees those limitations as a negative. I see them as a positive.

i.e. I would be totally thrilled with a bare-bones MindMind mode inside Scrivener that was 100% limited to the structure of Corkboard/Outliner. Why? Because it enables me to see the outline in a visual format, not just words.

I don't care for more MindMap features, and if I did, there's no need to reinvent the wheel. I just turn to http://www.mindnode.com or http://www.ithoughts.co.uk

The secret of success is to do what only you can do, and let others do what many others can do. There are many great mindmap apps out there. Maybe Scapple, for the sake of argument, might be 10% better, but not for long.

But no one on earth, except Keith, is able to produce a fully integrated, feature-limited, integrated mindmap that mirrors the structure of Corkboard/Outliner.

Keith argues that this would limit Scapple. Yes, but that's what we need. We need a mindmap that 100% mirrors the structure of Corkboard/Outliner. Less is more.

Many Scrivener users only use the basic features, as in Microsoft Word.

I just need a mindmap that 100% mirrors Corkboard/Outliner in Scrivener. No more. No less. Stripped down features. Basic. Limited. Joyfully so.

There should be two separate projects:

1 - Scapple, aimed to be the Microsoft-like, feature-crammed bloated ... no, I'm kidding. Scapple should be the best-featured Mindmap that Keith can conceive.

2 - A simple, limited, narrow featured MindMap whose ONLY feature is that it 100% mirrors the structure of Corkboard/Outliner in Scrivener. No more, no less. More is less.

Keith has mixed the two, and is arguing for one (1), when users are arguing for two (2).
Last edited by 4miler on Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:15 am, edited 4 times in total.

dr
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:55 am Post

4miler, I know you feel strongly about this plea, but my advice is: Chill.
It's OK to make suggestions, but don't get so committed that they become demands.
And you shouldn't claim that what you want is what "we" want as well.
KB is very open to advice and requests, but he makes the final calls on what to implement.

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4miler
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:05 am Post

Thanks druid. I've edited my post accordingly. Hope it's more diplomatic.

PJ
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:04 am Post

4miler wrote:Hope it's more diplomatic.


I think you may not yet have fully differentiated between the first person singular and the first person plural.

ps
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

mb
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:48 am Post

Another case of the false consensus effect?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False-consensus_effect

I have to say that I've just discovered Curio:

http://www.zengobi.com

and I've been making extensive use of it. I've been finding the ability to mix media (pictures, text, etc.) with great flexibility of positioning very satisfying. I'm not sure what will happen when I come to transfer everything to Scrivener (Curio does export some things to OPML) but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I'm finding one of the benefits of Curio is that it's NOT connected to Scrivener. I can do all the brainstorming and organising without having to worry about "writing". Being able to trick myself into thinking that I'm not really writing something has been a great liberation.

Cheers, Martin.
You should judge people not by how close they get to the top, but by how far they have come from the bottom. Some people have a mountain to climb just to get to the place where others start out. (Me, 2010)

br
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:51 am Post

I agree. Who is 'we'?

I don't particularly want integration, thanks. Scapple is useful in circumstances outside of Scrivener. Do I really want to have to create a new project just to knock out a quick map?

4m
4miler
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:16 pm Post

brookter wrote:I agree. Who is 'we'?

I don't particularly want integration, thanks. Scapple is useful in circumstances outside of Scrivener. Do I really want to have to create a new project just to knock out a quick map?


Here's how to think it through, bookter:

-- Scrivener, integrated with a Mindmap, is useful for people who want to use Corkboard/Outliner interchangeably with a mindmap, where updates in any one are reflected in the other.

-- Scapple, alone, is useful for people like you who, as a once-off exercise, will conceive of their outline -- then drag and drop the outline into Scrivener, and will never change the outline. Because if you do change the outline, how are you going to update the Scrivener outline, except manually.

Hence, there are two target markets, and just because you fall into one doesn't mean the other target market doesn't exist.

I'll give a practical example. Let's say you create an outline for an article, and you then drag and drop it into Scrivener. A few weeks later, you decide that the order of points needs to be changed, and you conceptualise this in Scapple. Now what? How are you going to ensure that all the writing in Scrivener can be re-ordered to reflect the new sequence? You CANNOT. There is no synching between Scapple and Scrivener. You have to manually re-order it. Find if yours is a simple sequence, but impossible if it is complex. If your work does not involve that complexity in conceptualisation, you don't need the integration I am talking about. You can afford to use simpler software. Just choose any fine standalone mindmap software on the market.

4m
4miler
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:17 pm Post

PJS wrote:
4miler wrote:Hope it's more diplomatic.


I think you may not yet have fully differentiated between the first person singular and the first person plural.

ps


You never know, I might be the Queen of England.

I re-iterate. For those people who formulate an outline, then drag and drop into Scrivener, AND NEVER EVER NEED TO CHANGE THAT OUTLINE, then you do not need integration.

But if you're the sort of writer who, a few months later, wants to change the outline after having written text for each point, you may not realise it now, but you will find yourself wishing for integration later on. Think it through. Put yourself in the scenario I just described.

PJ
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:38 pm Post

4miler wrote:You never know, I might be the Queen of England.


The Queen is decorous, sensitive, and unfailingly polite.

ps
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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Siren
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:19 pm Post

4miler, I am sure that you mean well. But you write that "Keith has mixed the two [application purposes], and is arguing for one (1), when users are arguing for two (2)." Keith isn't "arguing for" anything. He has developed a product and explained his reasons for developing it in the way he has. If that product isn't what you need, then you don't have to use it. What you are demanding is outside the stated scope of Scapple. That's not to say that the scope of any application is fixed for all eternity, and I am certainly not in a position to speak on behalf of Keith on the subject of his future plans for Scapple.

But I do think that the timing of this thread is ill advised. It will be two weeks before you can realistically expect the intended audience to read it, never mind respond. There has been a very clear announcement on the forum at <http://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=21277>, and in the email newsletter, that customer support is closed until 7th January. I would suggest that further debate on the issue is a little futile until normal business resumes.

In the meantime, have a great holiday season. We're practically drowning in rain here in the UK, so I hope that you are having more seasonally cheerful weather, wherever you are in the world!

All the best,
Astrid
Literature & Latte support team

br
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Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:44 pm Post

4,

I am so grateful to you for your kind and simple instructions on how to think things through. At last, someone is taking pity on us poor long term users of Scrivener: all those wasted years producing long and complex documents believing we had the ability to reorder the outline at will. How could we have been so blind?

Before you enlightened me, I thought that it wasn't worth increasing the complexity and size of Scrivener for a feature that I can easily replicate another way, particularly as I would have to buy new mind mapping software to replace Scapple, which does exactly what I want now. How wrong could I be...

You're entitled to your views: don't patronise those who have good reasons to disagree with you.

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Lord Lightning
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Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:15 am Post

Hi 4miler,

I 'get' your reasoned line of argument - and so will Keith.

If you drop your responses now you'll stop feeding the fog that could well undo the intelligence and logic of your first post.

I have seen Keith throw up brick walls for features and then, when a genuine idea popped up - and persisted, because it was backed by an irrefutable argument such as yours, he then implemented that feature when the forward development of Scrivener warranted it.

It may never be Scapple that is seen in Scrivener as a 'corkboard-outline-mindmap', but your argument still stands that there is a need for a 'corkboard-outline-mindmap'. Scapple is not a 'corkboard-outline-mindmap'.

The blank white-board idea-jotter surface is a good place to start building such an idea - but, only a place to start... a 'corkboard-outline-mindmap' is really a new paradigm. New paradigms require new thinking, and remember the wise old saying - "with what confusion thinking's fraught, I sometimes think I'll think no more, for when I spend much time in thought, I unthink things I thought before." So embracing a new 'corkboard-outline-mindmap' paradigm does not bend Scapple into something it was never intended to be and therefor it does not refute your argument. It just requires a bit of paradigmatic 'unthinking'.

Apart from this response, I just stopped posting on L&L altogether because of the background noise and fog that gathered around each and every submission. I just don't contribute any more. 'nuff said!
Last edited by Lord Lightning on Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Lord Lightning

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Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:05 pm Post

Er, happy Christmas?
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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Lord Lightning
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Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:26 pm Post

:D

You too Keith.

And to all Scriveners - May you be blessed with warmth in your home, love in your heart, peace in your soul and joy for all of your life.

An Irish Blessing.
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Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:51 pm Post

Just choose any fine standalone mindmap software on the market.


It sounds to me as though that is a better solution for what you are doing, anyway. After all, Scapple isn't a mind-mapping program, no matter how you may insist otherwise. It's not even trying to be a simple mind-map program, as you put. It's not even an outliner, at all, let alone so specific a thing as a mind-mapper. It has no concept of depth, or order. There would be no way to integrate it in the way you are describing. A does not come after B, and C is not in B. There are just a bunch of text boxes strewn about on a big board. How would that integrate with an outliner? How would this:

A few weeks later, you decide that the order of points needs to be changed, and you conceptualise this in Scapple.


...be accomplished, if dragging a note from one spot on the map to another in Scapple does nothing more than change its position on a two-dimensional surface?

To accomplish what you want, you'd have to strip out a bunch of Scapple's features, convert a bunch of them to do something it currently doesn't do, radically change its entire philosophy, and finally embed it in another program (which now must be more complicated for it). In other words, you aren't even talking about Scapple any more, or nothing remotely like it. Meanwhile, what you don't seem to understand is that the reason a lot of people are really excited about Scapple is precisely because it is not a rigid outline based program, nor something that adheres more or less to Buzan style mind-mapping. So, you're probably going to continue getting a little negative kick-back from people that like Scapple for precisely what it is and is not, and recognise that trying to shoe-horn it into another program that is 100% outline based would be to strip out just about everything that makes Scapple, Scapple, and not iMindThinkMapNodeGraph Pro HD+.

And yes, merry christmas. We even got some snow last night. :)
.:.
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