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Template-based maps (Read 4951 times)
Paul Walters
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Template-based maps
Apr 26th, 2009, 12:40pm
 
I've been exporting from Tinderbox into HTML pages, using CSS to emulate the graphical look and feel of Tinderbox map views.  A problem (there are many others) is that the HTML representation is not easily synchronized to the Tinderbox map, without updating the export.

Turning the process on its head, and having the presentation in Tinderbox maps governed by Tinderbox templates would be interesting and useful.  If map views were compliant with HTML and CSS then all sorts of dynamic possibilities open up.  (Maybe instead of changing map views there would be a new type of view - a "presentation" view or some such.)

Of course, this is tantamount to suggesting a complete rewrite of Tinderbox.  But, this is the off-the-wall forum, after all.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Template-based maps
Reply #1 - Apr 26th, 2009, 2:45pm
 
IN the Q&A discussion of Timelines earlier today, I suggested that a good starting point is a sketch -- a hand-built, low-fidelity approximation of the thing you'd like to see.

This applies to your question, too.  Under the rubric of "presentation in Tinderbox maps governed by Tinderbox templates", I can see some interesting ideas.  And some ideas that are already quite possible, although perhaps not obvious.  And I can see some ideas that would cost tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement, and that might well offer unsatisfactory performance after they were built.

In any non-trivial public-facing project, you're going to want to have SOME step that means "publish"; otherwise, you'll eventually expose something on the server that you really didn't mean to share.  So, "updating the export" is always going to be a separate step.  You can make it faster and easier, but you aren't going to make it vanish.

J. Nathan Matias will be doing a presentation on collaborative Tinderbox maps at Tinderbox Weekend London (http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/TbxWeekend.html.)
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Paul Walters
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Re: Template-based maps
Reply #2 - Apr 26th, 2009, 3:26pm
 
Yes, the publication event is inevitable and, unavoidably, often needs to be repeated.  

Be that as it may, here's what got me started on the idea I posted earlier.  Thinking graphically, it occurred to me that containers on a map are, in a visual sense, DIVs.  And adornments are a special kind of container (thus another DIV).  So, if there were a map-like view in Tinderbox that was controlled by templates, then I could assign notes to DIVs on that view that were different than the container where they physically resided.  (We can do that with aliases, though I'm thinking of a lot more flexibility.)  So, whereas the standard Tinderbox map can be thought of as a graphicallized representation of the physical Tinderbox document, constrained by physical relationships (e.g., outline depth), the "presentation map" I'm thinking of is unconstrained by the physical characteristics of the document.  It would be interesting to have multiple "presentation maps" in a document.  The same note could appear in different ways on each one.  

I'm sure implementation costs more than the GNP of several Caribbean countries - maybe we can look for this in version 10?

----

OT -- Will the materials for the London Tinderbox Weekend be available via corresponding membership?

Yes; you can preorder them on the Tinderbox Weekend page. http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/TbxWeekend.html
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« Last Edit: Apr 26th, 2009, 4:45pm by Mark Bernstein »  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Template-based maps
Reply #3 - Apr 26th, 2009, 4:43pm
 
Paul,

Back in 2005, I helped Scott Price with some templates to export map notes to an HTML page (these grew from his earlier blog note.  Link lines aren't included as the export process didn't (doesn't) have access to link info.  At the time I looked into exporting to SVG but support was really only there in Firefox and I'm not sure it's - in a meaningful cross-browser sense - any better now.

Still, if you've not seen Scott's template's it might be worth a look in case they help any.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: Template-based maps
Reply #4 - Apr 26th, 2009, 4:49pm
 
My guess is that you can do what you want with today's Tinderbox, using some combination of templates and, perhaps, a middleware processor:


   Tinderbox+templates -> xml ---(processor)--> xHTML --(js+css)->browser

Almost everything you want is already exposed to export templates. (Link information is tricky, but we'd be willing to support some custom export code to handle this if it were needed for a significant application)
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