Tinderbox 5.5 Maps
J. D. Hollis, lead technical architect at Indie Labs, uses Tinderbox 5.5 for sketching processes and object models. “Usually,” he explains, “I'm starting with an existing process such as buying a product or signing up for a Web application, and then I’m figuring out how the processes behind the scenes layer onto it, while keeping the user experience as smooth as possible. Tinderbox allows me to create attractive diagrams that communication complex information; subtle differences such as dotted links make it easy to incorporate more context without overloading the viewer.” These aren’t just pretty pictures; Hollis exports these diagrams to create clickable prototype sites and is even exploring using Tinderbox diagrams to automatically generate preliminary code.
Canadian judge Tom Smith has written a fascinating essay on “Analyzing Evidence in Tinderbox.” “"What I particularly like about Tinderbox,” he explains, is that it gives me the ability to see the whole picture while being able to drill down to the details of a particular note. Recently, for example, I had a telephone conference call with some judges who were examining judicial education. Before the call I made a Tinderbox map with a few adornments (the background for different topics: Correspondence, Tools, Skills, Purpose, Seminars, Governance, and so forth). I added notes to the adornments and, using Explorer View, was able to see my whole document while drilling down to the details of any note."
J. Nathan Matias uses Tinderbox maps to explore the structure of competitive debate. Visual grammars of hypertext maps are an area of active research, and Matias observes how individual grammatical principles can be used as building blocks for more complex structures “Tinderbox can be used to rearrange the same material for multiple purposes,” he writes, “The top diagram looks at things like a debating judge might. The bottom diagram --comprised of aliases which share the same information as the top-- presents a more introductory high-level overview.”
Jean Goodwin (Department of English, Iowa State) describes this as “the Tinderbox documents that helps me get 100 students through a four stage final process worth 30% of their grade.”
“Tinderbox allows me, a non-programmer, to create instructional software adapted to my specific needs. The time spent continuing to evolve it over several semesters of teaching is less than the time it would take to struggle to get out-of-the-box software to do what I want.”
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