A Tinderbox Map
Not sure I’m going to actually answer that question with this brief post, but I want to share the above screen capture of a Map I put together in response to a thread over at the outlinersoftware.com forum. The originator of the thread asked if Scapple was the best app for “thinking on paper.” You’ll have to read his initial post to get the gist of his question.
Scapple is pretty good at “thinking on paper.” Whether it is the best is really up to the user. Everyone works differently. I might prefer Tinderbox.
But the discussion inspired me to think about the ways you could display information in a Tinderbox Map without requiring the use of key attributes or referring to the note pane. So I put together the above example. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but I think I’ve covered most of the territory. (I did this on my 13″ MacBook Pro, so the screen real estate was not generous.)
Mark Bernstein, the force behind Tinderbox, has announced the publication of the third edition of The Tinderbox Way — which could also be called the Tao of Tinderbox. It isn’t a manual, but more of a philosophy behind the ideas that Bernstein has used to develop the application. Here’s what he says in his announcement email:
The Tinderbox Way explores an approach to artisanal software and the design of a powerful tool for making, visualizing, and thinking about notes. It’s an idiosyncratic and personal look at why software works as it does, and a meditation on the craft of software design.
The Third Edition is greatly expanded and includes a new set of Design Notes edescribing many alternative design ideas. It’s about 30% longer than the first edition, and has been comprehensively revised for Tinderbox 7.3 .
I think Bernstein undersells the book here. There is a lot more than just what was in his head as he conceived of and built Tinderbox. He writes a lot about the art of note-taking, and describes how Tinderbox can help you in your own note-taking. I found the first edition very interesting reading. You don’t get many books ruminating on the practice of taking, managing and harvesting notes.
I bought the second edition too, but only read parts of it. The new edition is over 500 pages, where the second edition was 382. Just comparing chapter 2, “Building Tinderbox,” the third edition is greatly expanded and, I found, more interesting, providing more of the background philosophy about Bernstein’s choices. That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far.
The price is $34.95 and you get PDF and ePub formats.
I’ve put together a quick demonstration of two of the major new features in Tinderbox 7: Composites and Quick Links. I don’t delve too deeply into each feature, but hope to convey the basics for those who are considering upgrading to the latest version of Tinderbox.
Tinderbox 7 New Features from Stephen Zeoli on Vimeo.
Composites — collections of related notes in a map — is one of the big new additions to Tinderbox 7.
Tinderbox 7 has been released by Eastgate Systems. It is jam-packed with new features (find a list here), but the biggest addition is the “composite,” a collection of notes that are all associated. Think of a note as an atom and the composite as a molecule. Tbx 7 comes with four composite prototypes, two of which I’ve displayed in the screenshot above. You can easily build your own composites just by sliding notes up against each other. When you do so, they become joined and a gray-lined box is created around them.
I haven’t tried to put this feature to practical use yet. When I do, I’ll try to create a screencast.
The other most significant addition is that you can create a kind of wiki link in the text of a note to link one note to another. As usual, the upgrade is free if your annual subscription to Tinderbox is active. Otherwise, it’s $98 for an upgrade, $249 for a new purchase.