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Tinderbox Users >> Off The Wall: Feature Ideas >> "Notecard" mode for the Map view
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Message started by Gregg Williams on Apr 3rd, 2013, 2:05pm

Title: "Notecard" mode for the Map view
Post by Gregg Williams on Apr 3rd, 2013, 2:05pm

I'm fairly new to Tinderbox, but I have read/searched the documentation a lot and haven't found a way to do what I'm proposing here. If what I'm proposing is already possible, please let me know!

At the most basic level, I would like to see a way for notes to act like notecards while in Map mode--i.e., rectangular pieces of paper that can overlap or be stacked into rough piles.

Bundled notes

As long as I'm asking, the following would be really helpful as well: Given a stack of notes, select the top note (which is assumed to have a name and no text) and execute the "bundle" command to replace all currently selected notes with a single note/notecard in the following way:

* The single note/notecard now displays the contents of the top note's name field, perhaps in a larger font--it acts as a "label" for all the notes "underneath" it.

* Notes 2 through N visually disappear, but the "bundle notecard" remembers their spatial ordering. (If you were to immediately switch to Outline view, the bundle notecard would be a note, and notes 2 through N would be subnotes underneath it in the same Z-order as in the stack of notes.)

Obviously (back in Map view), there would be an "unbundle" command that would visually replace a bundled note card with the original stack of notes.

The rationale for bundled notes: a proposed workflow

I like the Map mode, but my problem with it is that I can never get enough of my notes onscreen at the same time. (I know I can switch to Outline mode for maximum note density, but I really like the spatial advantages of Map mode.)

Being able to deal with a screen of Tinderbox notes as if they were rectangular slips of paper would be a great help. Being able to visually simplify my workspace by converting a stack of notes into a single "bundle" notecard (and vice versa) would give me a powerful tool for handling complexity.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who is dealing with this problem. I would appreciate hearing how other people do it, as well as pointers to techniques that have already been written about.

Thanks for listening!

PS: By the way, I spent several years trying to create something like this. Here's a screenshot from a late prototype. †GW



Don't know what I'm doing wrong--photo doesn't display. Here's a link to it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregg_williams/8617342376/in/photostream  GW

Title: Re: "Notecard" mode for the Map view
Post by Mark Bernstein on Apr 4th, 2013, 12:29pm

One difficulty with this approach is that there's a software patent that appears to block it. While lots of software patents are specious and many think they all are pernicious, this one at least protects work that was innovative.

Another difficulty is that piles and containers are in tension with each other. You'd need to decide, "Do I want to make a pile, or a container?"  And the program would also need to decide, "Is this gesture asking me to create a pile or a container?"

So, while the patent runs, our work has been to make containers as good as piles.  In lots of ways, a container already acts like your pile. There are even bundle/unbundle commands, Promote and Demote.  

The *densest* presentation method, actually, is the treemap rather than the outline.  I'm hoping to revisit treemaps in Tinderbox 6; I suspect more can be done with them!

Title: Re: "Notecard" mode for the Map view
Post by Mark Bernstein on Apr 4th, 2013, 12:34pm

By the way, I've been planning a conference program lately using Map view. Even with the little screen on the 13" MacBook, I'm not feeling terribly constrained by view size -- not constrained enough, anyway, to crank it up to max resolution!  And that's dealing with a program committee of seventy members, a couple of hundred papers, and so forth.  

Itís quite possible to get plenty of notes on screen, especially if you can identify them without relying on long titles.

Title: Re: "Notecard" mode for the Map view
Post by Gregg Williams on Apr 4th, 2013, 1:09pm

@Mark B.,

Regarding the patent: Ah, bummer! Only if it's not too much trouble, can you recall enough details to tell me what to search for on the Internet to find this patent? Thanks.

Thanks for the tips on commands to use. I'm very intrigued by your statement, "Even with the little screen on the 13" MacBook, I'm not feeling terribly constrained by view size." I'd love to see how you use Tinderbox.

Could you sometime (in your copious free time) do a voice narrated screencast that shows how you work with notes? It would be a great help to beginners like me and would take less of your time than writing something up.

Many thanks for Tinderbox! It's an amazing "thought amplification" tool, the best I've seen in years of searching.

--Gregg

Title: Re: "Notecard" mode for the Map view
Post by Mark Bernstein on Apr 5th, 2013, 11:25am

Piles: look for Apple's work on "piles" in the late 90s.

On using maps: hereís a post about a planning document, early in Tinderbox 6 implementation: http://www.markbernstein.org/May12/Planning.html


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