Better than mind mapping - and a few feature requests.

an
andycwb
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Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:16 pm Post

OK, I've been using Scapple for the past few days to get my brain around some complex stuff I'm figuring out for work. I've used mind maps for this kind of thing in the past but was struggling to get this into order....

A couple of things came to mind that would have made things easier:

1) The ability to add new notes as either connected to here, or connected to the same parent, with a single keystroke. I ended up using Cmd-Enter a lot to create a "list" and then connect them to the parent afterwards, but there might be a better way.

2) On a related note, I'm not sure I've figured out the easiest way to apply formatting - and I couldn't see an obvious way to make the default style for new nodes look "like this one". Once I've reached a level of completeness I like to change the defaults so I'm adding anything new in a different colour.

3) A feature to put some kind of border around a group of items would be nice - I've seen this in Mind Mapping and it's a useful way to draw attention to a particular area of focus.

4) Is it possible to print a document over several sheets of paper (I'm getting sore eyes looking at the printed version of a single sheet of A4 - some of my mind-maps cover 30-40 sheets of A4/letter paper when printed at a readable size).

On a positive note I love the simple interface and being able to work on an uncluttered screen. In the past with Mind Maps I've printed them and scribbled over them, and didn't need to do that here.

I think your challenge as this develops is to keep the freeform thinking but find means to layer structure into it. What I'd really love is for this to become part of Scrivener, so you can flip between the view here and the document coming together in Scrivener.

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KB
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Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:33 pm Post

andycwb wrote:1) The ability to add new notes as either connected to here, or connected to the same parent, with a single keystroke. I ended up using Cmd-Enter a lot to create a "list" and then connect them to the parent afterwards, but there might be a better way.


Check out Notes > New Connected Note - there are already keyboard shortcuts for creating connected notes.

2) On a related note, I'm not sure I've figured out the easiest way to apply formatting - and I couldn't see an obvious way to make the default style for new nodes look "like this one". Once I've reached a level of completeness I like to change the defaults so I'm adding anything new in a different colour.


Set the default note style for new notes via the Preferences. New connected notes automatically use the same style as the note they are connected to (provided this option is turned on via the Preferences, which is by default, if I recall correctly). Or you can use Copy/Paste Note Style and their associated keyboard shortcuts.

3) A feature to put some kind of border around a group of items would be nice - I've seen this in Mind Mapping and it's a useful way to draw attention to a particular area of focus.


A few users have requested this, but it's outside of the scope of the app as I see it, really. I don't rule it out completely for the future, but it adds a degree of complexity beyond what I really want.

4) Is it possible to print a document over several sheets of paper (I'm getting sore eyes looking at the printed version of a single sheet of A4 - some of my mind-maps cover 30-40 sheets of A4/letter paper when printed at a readable size).


I'm currently looking at implementing the ability to print over more than one sheet. At the moment, though, doubt you'll be able to set an arbitrary number, and certainly not as high as 30 sheets. There will most likely be a limited selection of page ranges to choose from, because of the technical problems of Scapple have to work out how to draw across different pages.

On a positive note I love the simple interface and being able to work on an uncluttered screen. In the past with Mind Maps I've printed them and scribbled over them, and didn't need to do that here.


Glad you like it!

I think your challenge as this develops is to keep the freeform thinking but find means to layer structure into it. What I'd really love is for this to become part of Scrivener, so you can flip between the view here and the document coming together in Scrivener.


Scapple is 100% never going to become part of Scrivener, sorry, and I'm not looking to add any sort of structure to it in the future. What you see here is pretty much what Scapple is going to be. It's a side project that I wrote for my own use, which I'm polishing up and adding to according to some great suggestions I've received here (which will continue). If users like that enough to buy it, great, but it's going to remain lightweight and simple. I already have one mammoth programming project (Scriv), and don't intend to have two on the go - Scapple is a nice, lightweight break from the Scriv codebase. :)

Thanks and all the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

Ti
TimEss
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Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:11 am Post

3) A feature to put some kind of border around a group of items would be nice - I've seen this in Mind Mapping and it's a useful way to draw attention to a particular area of focus.


Like you, I had thought it might be handy to enclose a group of notes within a border. But I was aware from Keith's replies to others' requests that this isn't on the agenda.

I've overcome what I thought was a barrier, using a common bubble colour for notes I want to group together and so distinguishing them from others, and from other groups. I actually think it's a prettier solution — there's already plenty of lines around: with dotted joiners and arrowed lines. So to have had a line enclosure could've just added to the mess. Whereas the colour groups are eye-catching without being intrusive.

I've posted before on this bulletin board, but I must reiterate: This is a fantastic piece of software (I wish it'd been around before I bought Tinderbox — or, rather that I'd held off buying Tinderbox prior to the arrival of Scapple); it does everything I'd hoped to be able to do in Tinderbox, and which I'd not been able to find elsewhere, and so much more intuitively and accessibly. Thank you, Keith!

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KB
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Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:31 am Post

Thanks for the kind words!

Oh, and as groups of notes, I thought about this a lot, since it had been coming up so much, and I *think* I have found a way to go about it that adds very little complexity to the mix.

Image

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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nom
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Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:04 am Post

KB wrote:Thanks for the kind words!

Oh, and as groups of notes, I thought about this a lot, since it had been coming up so much, and I *think* I have found a way to go about it that adds very little complexity to the mix.

Image

All the best,
Keith


Two things:
(1) Yay! Looking forward to seeing your implementation (assuming, of course, that your "think" works out).
(2) Your example just took me on a nostalgia trip to the 80s and watching cartoons with my brother after school. I'm not sure whether to thank you or curse you for that. Instead I'll simply ponder: was that show really as awesomely, enjoyably, bad as my memory now paints it?
Complete and utter NOMsense.
Image

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Gareth
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Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:35 pm Post

Since Tinderbox has been mentioned... I'll just drop this thought into the water and see how the waves lap around Keith and Mark.

It would be great if a Scapple doc could be opened as a Tinderbox map view. That would allow people who want to add layers of complexity (groups, sorts, adornments etc) to do what they want, without compromising Scapple's simplicity. It would obviously be a one-way process, but given the close working relationship between Tbx and Scriv, might be a great solution to a lot of user requests.

Just a thought... 8)
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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arinbasu
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Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:54 am Post

Scapple blew my mind. As this thread states, it is better than mind maps, and not just better. I do not think there's anything quite like as useful and as simple as scapple.

I did not really know of it till I upgraded to Scrivener 2.4 recently and the release notes mentioned something like easy import of Scapple boards. I was curious to know what it might be and three hours later, I realized that I have started using the most awesome and powerful program of information organization I have used in a long time. Move over mind maps, I know what I am going to use now. Scapple!

May I have a couple of feature requests:-

1. I read a lot of pdfs, and I annotate the pdfs a lot. If there were some ways to extract/import meta data from the pdfs directly to scapple (as when one drags and drops a pdf from the folder), that'd be awesome. At the time, I use Skim as a pdf reader to export the annotations in the form of RTF document and drag and drop the RTF to scapple, and scapple extracts them neatly to notes. Just one step would be wonderful if it could read the meta data directly and imported individual paragraphs or texts as notes.

2. If it could read html directly and create notes out of the paragraph breaks, that'd be great too I think. At the time, it reads text and rich text document, but can this be extended to enable the programme to read html files as well? That would make life a lot easier by directly exporting text from evernote and import it directly to scapple as notes. The workaround now is to convert the html to text and import, which works fine.

Just a couple of thoughts there.

All the best,
Arin