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Tinderbox Users >> Exporting from Tinderbox >> Exporting maps

Message started by Mark Anderson on Jun 8th, 2009, 6:16am

Title: Exporting maps
Post by Mark Anderson on Jun 8th, 2009, 6:16am

As part of research on how maps might be shared with others (especially those locked down to Microsoft-only tools: windows, IIS, ASP, etc.) I've updated a TBX on which I collaborated back in 2005; get it here. I've also made a stuff page on the wiki to link to files and for discussion of the topic (if not done in this thread).

The TBX file goes though the basics of exporting a simple map to HTML, showing some of the things that can't be done. As far as I'm aware new features in this context aren't at the top of the agenda and this thread is not intended to change that; so no "+1" posts please! Instead, the project file starts to explore what might be done and perhaps start to think through the issues to be resolved if a native map-to-HTML feature were offered.

Certainly if you just want to show a simple map (no links/adorments/plots/shapes/etc.) then this can be done. Using a framework might bury away some of the Javascript involved though at this stage I'm nit sure if that really helps.

In updating the file and trying to get current syle external CSS and JS files, I found that although I  needed more (part) templates the process was actually quite simple.  The number of templates arises as we're mixing per (map page) parent note data with that of the children. As I write, I realise I could have done more elegant nested includes. Whatever. The main thing at this point was to update the project and re-present it to the TB community.

Separately, but linked (map export), I've looked at ways to get data into the likes of OmniGraffle for visual polish before print to paper/PDF. We might not want overly dressy maps when making them - to avoid false suggestion of structure - but for viewing the finished tiem a bit of polishing can be good. Actually, TB's maps have gained - since v4.5 - the ability to look a lot better but what if the end user doesn't have TB or ven a MAc. What then?

'dot' format as used in Graphviz has been suggested.  If TB can export it's map as a dot file, OG ran read that in - neat! Investigating further showed an even more interesting possibility: canviz. It is a Google code project, but if taken forward might prove interesting for TB exports, not least as the result works even on windows-based web browsers.

Title: Re: Exporting maps
Post by Mark Anderson on Jun 8th, 2009, 6:40am

Another angle, go out in XML to GraphML and use the GraphMLViewer (free, Flash-based) in a web page.  OK, as above, lots of TB map aspects we can't get at yet but - as for dot - a bit of manual editing could add the link lines in.  Actually, using the links() operator, coercing that set to a list via format might enable link export for dot/GraphML methods.

This is a bit of my area of knowledge but hopefully all this info might persuade some other to give these methods a go.

I should add that neither dot or GraphML allow the author do fix the positions of drawn elements so your map output layout may differ somewhat. Perhaps that's a show stopper....

Title: Re: Exporting maps
Post by Loryn on Jun 21st, 2009, 9:11pm

I've found the most practical method at the moment is capturing an image of the map.

Skitch is particularly handy for this.

Title: Re: Exporting maps
Post by Mark Anderson on Jun 22nd, 2009, 2:27am

Indeed. Though I've not had the time to build a working model, the export principles above could be used to generate an HTML <map> so that the icons in the exported JPG could be a click-able links to per-note HTML pages.

Note there is currently no method to automatically export all maps (or even just one), so for anything but a single level map the export process is quite an endeavour.

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