Alternative to Scapple for Windows

Don’t get me wrong Scapple is a good application, it’s just that Compendium by the Open University is very similar except that it does a whole lot more.

Compendium is available free and open source from it has been under development for the last fifteen years to help OU students with their studies. This is a mature product.

I’m afraid I disagree. Rather strongly. Not with the contention that Compendium is a mature and useful product – it most assuredly is. Rather, I disagree with the contention they are “very similar” products – they most assuredly are not.

Compendium is based around nodes and links and concept mapping. Scapple is based around expressing ideas rapidly. So even though there are some superficial similarities (they have words with lines between them), their very purpose differs.

There is room enough, and need, for both apps and I wish them both all the best. For myself, I have tried Compendium and found it did not meet my needs; Scapple did.

I agree with Nom here. Compendium’s raisin d’etre(*) is to help apply structure to non-linear concepts, and in doing so to use that very structure to extrapolate your thinking to new areas.
Scapple is the exact opposite. It uses a lack of formal structure to give the user freedom to think in new areas. One of the things I like about Scapple is that - like a piece of blank paper - it uses my brain to do the processing.

You might as well argue that you don’t need Scapple, because you probably already have a copy of PowerPoint on your machine(**). Well, yes… both give you a blank rectangle and the ability to put text boxes on that rectangle wherever you want, but they have very different objectives.

I don’t think anyone is arguing that Scapple is a major new product the like of which the world has never seen before. There are tons of outliner, mindmap, concept mapping, and drawing on bits of paper apps out there if you choose to look for them. What differentiates Scapple is its approach, which is simple, non-cluttered and focused on helping you doing a single thing as quickly, easily and intuitively as possible.

In many ways, Scapple’s approach is similar to the one Apple took with the original iPod. There were plenty of other mp3 players on the market. Many cheaper and more established. The original iPod (I’m talking about the Classic, the one that made Apple cool again, and drove their revival. Not the iPod touch, which is just an iPhone that you can’t use as a phone) was developed with the idea of doing one thing and just that thing: let people take their music with them. All of it. And make it really easy to navigate and listen to.

    • okay, not the funniest joke in the world. I’ll tell you this, though. There has never been a product in the history of the world labeled as “grape flavor” that tastes anything like grapes.

** - in fact, my workflow if I had to share these sorts of maps electronically pre-Scapple was to do the thinking on a piece of paper and then use PowerPoint to make a graphical copy. Else, I’d use a whiteboard and then take a photo. Like this…

I also agree with Nom. I downloaded Compendium and while it looks impressive, I had the devil of a job trying to develop some thoughts in it.

I believe if you spend the time working through the help and videos it’s very powerful but in comparison I started Scapple and put together two diagrams (is that the right word?) in about 30 minutes, which to me is the real test of a new app – how much can I get done before I need to break into the help :smiley:


Piggy, my condolences on your use of the Cisco IP phone.

i like how nothing in the picture is readable, except one right in the middle of the purple section which clearly says ,murder,