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exporting a map using links to define hierarchy (Read 1926 times)
Anand
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exporting a map using links to define hierarchy
Dec 18th, 2015, 11:44am
 
I have a non-hierarchical map containing several notes. As I create and think about the notes, I start to build a hierarchy in map view using links. I prefer links (instead of dropping notes inside notes) because it keeps all notes visible in one map layer.

Different link types are used, such as "sub" and "next". A "sub" link means the target is a daughter of the source, and a "next" means that the target and source are siblings.

Basically, it starts to look like a Mindmap, except the map wasn't known in the beginning but discovered through the creation/thought process.

Is it possible to export this map using the links and link types to define a hierarchical structure? I'd like to export to Scrivener or an OPML file.
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: exporting a map using links to define hierarchy
Reply #1 - Dec 18th, 2015, 1:10pm
 
This isn't easy at present. The general case is quite difficult; for example, how would you handle a mistake where a--sub-->b but b--sub-->a ?
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Anand
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Re: exporting a map using links to define hierarchy
Reply #2 - Dec 19th, 2015, 7:00am
 
Yes, circular links (direct (A->B->A) or indirect (A->B->C->A)) are an anticipated problem.

A solution is to impose the rule that each note will appear only once in the exported file. The rule may seem overly constricting, and certainly not suitable for the early creative process of assembling ideas and brainstorming. However, when the user seeks to export in the way I've described, the user is declaring that he/she is ready to move from the open-ended, creation process to a more linear format suitable for writing the final product.

A requirement when imposing this rule is to specify the starting note. The user would initiate the export from a selected note that will serve as the root of the OPML or Mindmap.

I do believe this export capability --- to generate an outline structure from a set of linked notes in a single-layer Tinderbox map --- would be very powerful and highly used.


p.s. your earlier response was that "this isn't easy at present". Does this mean that there is a way, but a hard way?
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Mark Bernstein
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Re: exporting a map using links to define hierarchy
Reply #3 - Dec 19th, 2015, 1:37pm
 
Mark Anderson and Ted Goranson have done some work with path-based export.  It might be possible, but I think it's hard.

Something like what you want is actually being planned for winter/spring.  If you've got the bones of a convincing scenario, that might be influential -- feel free to email!
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Mark Anderson
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Re: exporting a map using links to define hierarchy
Reply #4 - Dec 19th, 2015, 4:21pm
 
From the wings, I'd say anything is easy in the mid's eye.  In practice harder.  A lot of these workflows are about "don't make me think, let the computer clear up after". The problem is a computer works no fixed logic, humans often don't - by comparison we cope well with ambiguity.

Havingg bathed in these waters, my advice is to tighten  one's logic first. Tinderbox export is flexible, in many surpising ways: helping make Ted G's blog proved that.  But loose logic at the front end is hard to resolve. Could/should vs. does are hard to work around.

AFAIK, there is no way to  - in one step - 'layer' the output of a a flat map. One mightl ook at typed links but I think that's ahead of the tools (and an aspect of my current PhD) reaseach.

If it were me, I'd make the map that once done, i'd nest notes into the implied outline - which would inherently expose/respole the logic loops MB describes - and that export should cope just fine.

The fact the Tinderbox can't guess the implicit outline structure of a single-level map for export isn't something i'd hold against the app. It's cactually quite complex.  Being able to 'just' flatten uotlines to maps and vice versa comes up quite often for discussion only to fade when the hidden complexities are explosed.

All of this isn't to say Anand's idea is bad. Far from it. It's just not possible right now.  As MB suggests, a more concrete example, e.g. an actual example TB - perhaps with 50-100 discrete linked items in a map might be a vehicle for experiment/discussion
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« Last Edit: Dec 19th, 2015, 10:46pm by Mark Bernstein »  

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