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Tinderbox Users >> Exporting from Tinderbox >> Discovering yEd from yWorks
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Message started by steve harf on May 5th, 2011, 9:18am

Title: Discovering yEd from yWorks
Post by steve harf on May 5th, 2011, 9:18am

Recently I came across yEd from yWorks ( http://www.yworks.com/ ) which is diagramming and visualization software. I am very interested in finding out if anyone has had any experience using Tinderbox with yEd in some kind of work flow or manual process. Has anyone written an export template in Tinderbox and imported the results into yEd? (yEd uses graphml as its native file format, an XML-based format.)

On first glance Tinderbox and yEd look like software "cousins." yEd makes a large collection of attributes visible and easily manipulated either by explicitly changing a value or adjusting the graphical representation (eg. changing size, location, color either using menus or changing the corresponding attribute value). It also has support for user defined attributes. Tinderbox has taught me to think in terms of attributes, so yEd feels like familiar territory. Where Tinderbox excels in automation on creating notes and finding notes that meet criteria through search, agents and prototypes, yEd excels in automating visual manipulation of information. yEd goes far beyond Tinderbox in rule-based "clean-up". yEd calls these "Layouts" which define minimum distances of graphical elements, heuristics for ordering and more. (I am just learning about the application, so there is clearly much more on which I haven't even scratched the surface.)

If you have a need for creating complex networks, maps and diagrams, you might want to examine yEd. (Did I mention that the software is free?) I would like to hear of success stories.

Title: Re: Discovering yEd from yWorks
Post by Mark Anderson on May 5th, 2011, 10:44am

Have looked at this thread: http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/forum//YaBB.pl?num=1271106256

A year back I put a fair amount of time into TB -> DOT export (thread above); GraphML looks much like DOT in terms of how the data's put together. In the intervening time, some of the export has perhaps got easier with more string manipulation features and $ID being exposed (for ensured unique references).

If you want some help with TB -> GraphML, if you can post a sample source TBX and an example GraphML file (with at least one instance of every attribute you need to use) If be happy to have a crack at some templates. Reading into open-source apps and figuring thinly documented formats is a bit of a time sump and sadly I've not got that much spare time right now. I recall the DOT stuff was a real pain - 90% of the project time was wasted on finding decent unambiguous docs and examples.

If yWorks exports GraphML, it might be an idea to make a simple graph, export it, then from the latter put all the item date/attributes into a TBX to get the test rig for export. Might be quicker than trying to write a GraphML file based on just TBX data (unless you're already a whizz on the GraphML format!).

Ironically, for me, experimenting with graphing apps reminded me how powerful TB maps are. Yes, layout isn't automated, but unless there's some obvious structure to your (map) graph, graphings tools can't help much. Indeed, if like the COIN map the graph is massively interlinked, the apps also do less well at layout than a human. However, I can see that for some data sets where there's a lot of per-item metadata, the visualisation tools in yWorks could help. Swinging the item of interest centre stage (rather like in Personal Brain) can be cool - in a way it's what Roadmap view does, or rather may do in due course (I know it's on the spike for a re-write at some point to help visualise more data pretinnet to the item centre view).

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