Mind Map

Downloaded a trial of NoteMind.

It enables you to display your collected documents as a mind map, and modify them in any way you like.


This might be of some interest for a future version of Scrivener. The mind map function is quite appealing. NoteMind automatically creates mind maps of your folder tree. It is a bit like the Binder in Scrivener - on steroids. Mind maps can be edited with external layout applications, and comments and annotations can be added.

Worth a look. One for the wish list.

EDIT: Italicised the word ‘might’.

Ha, are you a fellow VersionTracker addict or something? I just saw this pop up on the RSS and was looking at it ten minutes ago. Looks very interesting. I’d like to try it out when I have some time, and pit it against MyMind.

Ha ha ha. You are joking, right? :slight_smile: No, seriously: as lovely as these apps are, I don’t really see Scrivener ever going down the “mind-mapping” route. “Mind-mapping” to me is what I get the kids to do at school at the beginning of a science topic when I didn’t get chance to do any proper planning. :slight_smile: The relationship between a true “mind-map” - which can join multiple boxes - and an outline is very problematic.
All the best,

Well, what about dockable windows (it’s in Preferences)?

Yes, I know we’ve already discussed this one, but NoteMind does it very well. It is worth a look.


There’s lots of good software out there. Scrivener isn’t going to be all of them - for instance, it is never going to allow you to record music, edit photos or shoot fish in a barrel, either.

Obviously, I’m being fatuous now, but on a serious note, Scrivener’s featureset is locked for 1.0. The feature set is good, strong and stable, and I’m not about to start adding major features based on the latest whizz-bang application to come along right now. There will be no major additions to Scrivener’s featureset for the next year, in fact.

This program is nice, but I don’t like dockable windows myself (they just baffled me in this app), and MindMapping is beyond the scope of Scrivener.

Thanks for your continued support and input (even when I don’t go for it!),
All the best,

What about make coffee in the morning and wash my windows? Now THAT would truly make it unique among writing programs. :slight_smile:

Oh Dear, Oh Dear!

This was posted with such good intentions too.

Does this mean that the wish list thread is closed?

I take it that if it is not already in the locked off thread then it is pointless to discover and contribute potential goodies and see them possibly being adopted by Scrivener further down the track - even MUCH MUCH further down the track (some worth consideration, some not).

It just seems to me the advent of newer technologies and software innovations would suggest that an open, innovative mind is a good idea - after all we are talking about software (amazing as it is) that has not even reached version 1.

It might be an idea to let people know what you do and do not want posted in the various threads if the assumed meaning of the thread headers has changed. I guess there is a tension between the meaning of ‘wish’ and ‘desperate’ and it is a bit confusing. Is it a genuine wish list or a ‘Scrivener desperately needs this’ list?

If people get their contributions squashed or ridiculed too many times they may not feel inclined to contribute ideas that could well be very serious contributions to future releases.

I have seen Scrivener grow over the last several months into something unique and quite wonderful, largely from the contributions of users, and many of those ‘good ideas’ were first posted in the Wish List. It seems a shame to let new users see these responses. It might just scare them off. This kind of thing happened with a couple of other applications and the hubris of the developers drove beta testers away (an issue already discussed on this forum)

literatureandlatte.com/forum … eta+tester


LL, with all due respect, he closed the feature list. He didn’t, you know, challenge Athena herself to a weaving contest.

Anyway: personally, I think any kind of mind-mapping functionality is way, way outside the scope of Scrivener now, and Scriveners to come.

Lord Lightning, I think I made it very clear in my post that I am grateful for your continued support and suggestions. There really is no need for “oh dear”, as your good intentions were taken for exactly that. And I was posting with the intention of making it clear why these particular wishes are unlikely ever to get implemented.

I was also making it clear that the featureset is locked, especially for such major additions as this would be. This doesn’t mean that you cannot post wishes - of course not, that is the whole point of this forum area - but there are some things that Scrivener will never be, regardless of version number. Mind mapping app is one of these. Mind mapping is something that doesn’t really fit me, and therefore I would not be a great person to develop such features. They just do not fit into Scrivener, and this was my point.

I apologise if you took offence, but the idea of the wishlist is that you can make wishes - but not all of them will come true. I receive various posts, both by e-mail and on the forum, each day, telling me that Scrivener would be better if it had this or that feature, and I try to respond to all. In this case I was trying to give some good reasons why this one is unlikely ever be implemented. If a developer is displaying “hubris” by making the point that his or her application cannot be everything to anyone, then I guess every developer is guilty.

As I have said elsewhere, Scrivener is unlikely to have any major changes in features for a year or so, now. I think it is important that potential customers realise this before deciding whether to make a purchase. Bugs will be fixed, but major features will not be added. I am just being honest. Reading back over these posts, I cannot see any reason anyone would take offense. Perhaps my sense of humour doesn’t come over very well. I was joking about shooting fish in a barrel (Scrivener will do that in 1.1. No, I’m joking again :slight_smile: ).

Honestly, don’t take offence. My replies were intended in good humour.

All the best,

I’m rather bemused at the heat in some of these exchanges as scr approaches its release. But then I’ve never participated in the development of a piece of software before. What an exciting life :astonished:

On the mind map issue, I’ve worked out my own little workround. I do find mind maps helpful. I’ve been playing with developing the maps in another app (I’m trying NovaMind at the moment) and then ‘printing’ the map to a pdf file, which I then import into my scr research folder, so its there when I want to refer to it.

What will we all do when the program gets released - get on with some writing, I suppose :slight_smile:

That sounds like an excellent solution, Roger - and in fact, that is one of the reasons the PDF view exists in Scrivener, so you can pretty much refer to any file that you are able to print in any Cocoa app. :slight_smile:

Hi Keith,

MMmm! The very next post detected the heat, which was exactly my point about new users detecting it and feeling apprehensive about making contributions.

I guess it is relevant to say that I see the Binder to be essentially a folder tree. That is why, when I saw another app stating that it had an innovative way of dealing with the folder tree, it rang a bell. I only suggested it was worth a look and worth considering (not necessarily adopting).

NoteMind automatically creates mind maps of your folder tree and many writers use mindmaps - even though you do not like them. Scrivener is for writers and there is a reasonable connection to be made between writers, Scrivener and mindmaps. This is why the NoteMind mind-map feature resonated and I thought, ‘I wonder if Keith has seen this app yet?’

I thought it relevant to bring your attention to this capability since it is a feature in a notebook that deals with text set up in a folder tree, like the Binder in Scrivener, and since the app also applies a lot of Scrivener’s feature set, particularly Scrivener’s Research functions (PDF’s, text etc etc).

I guess all I am asking for is that everyone who contributes to this forum should be treated with a respect at least equal to the respect shown by the person who is making the effort to post what they believe might help the application at some time in its development; even if that is far into the future (Scrivener v9, perhaps). I was just making a plea for an open mind.

My last post was about the Wish List - NOT about NoteMind or mind mapping. You have to admit that the wording that sets out what should go into the Wish List is ambiguous.

It doesn’t say that suggestions can not be posted if the various versions are locked. Instead, it sends two different messages, one that suggests that any relevant wishes can be posted, while taking into account that Scrivener aims to be ‘bloat free’, and the suggestion that only functions that we think Scrivener desperately needs should be posted.

So you see, Keith, I was responding to your quote about the feature set being locked and the inference it carries for ALL posts to the Wish List. The post is in the Wish List and is about the Wish List. Is the Wish List constrained to the current version or not? Can we post wishes that might relate to FAR distant future versions - one, two, three years in the future? Maybe there should be a new thread for future version ‘possibles’ and ‘wishes’.

As moderator of the forum your posts set the tone for responses and I think it is patently obvious that the several responses here (coffee making, weaving contest, washing windows) were simply reflex tonal echoes of your comment about shooting fish in a barrel. Hence the ‘oh dear, oh dear’ observation.

rogerblunden’s respectful, informative and helpful response was probably the type that I felt the original post about mind-mapping deserved.

Leadership requires not only ability but also responsibility.

I respectfully hope this sets the record straight wise leader!


This is just getting silly. I never implied that no one can make wishes. I just stressed that the featureset is now locked for 1.0, which it is. I also replied that this does not mean that wishes cannot be made, but that it does mean that there will be no major feature additions for some time. I also adumbrated why I feel that mindmapping does not belong in Scrivener. You have made your point that you would like it, and I have said why it will not appear. Implementing a mindmap would be a major undertaking, and is beyond the scope of Scrivener. NoteMind has a mindmap as its main feature. It does not have a corkboard or anything else that Scrivener has in this regard.

I have made it clear in a million places that users are free to post suggestions, and the “featureset locked” post makes this clear, too - it just points out what I reiterated here, that although these wishes may be considered in the future, it may be some time before they are considered properly. In the case of mindmapping, though, I can already say “no” because I believe it is outside the scope of Scrivener. It is a major suggestion which to me is clearly not something that should go into Scrivener. Whilst I value user suggestions, that is, ultimately, my prerogative as the developer. Roger Blunden’s suggestion provides a great workaround, though.

Please try to keep comments on-topic. Please do not descend into preaching, as such superior comments display more direspect than you accuse me of - and such threads are liable to get closed or deleted if they continue in this vein.


I know that we have a definitive “no,” on this one, but I just wanted to make a few points on this issue. Mind Maps are, in their purest form as defined by Dr Allan Collins, a matter of taste. I find the wild array of colour and imagery to be distracting. Personally, I also found them to be a decent method for one-shot ideas, but not so good for long term study of that idea. They are kind of like the rough draft of the outlining world. A visual map that can fully comprehend a subject and be evolved over time into something useful requires much more than the basic concept of a Mind Map, and it certainly deserves more treatment than something that is automatically generated from a single-node (non-cloned), un-linked hierarchal list. These two capabilities are vastly important to realising the full spectrum of visualised concepts, and thus require the host application to fully implement them.

Once you get into this arena, the waters get very complicated very quickly. The good folks at the XEROX Palo Alto Research Centre (where the concept of your Macintosh comes from) in the early days of computing, spent a lot of time researching the full potentials and limitations of this model. Typed, dynamic cross-link structures and how to interface them with a field of cloned data nodes is much more involved than one might think. Data nodes need to be type assigned, links need to be type assigned, and when you make a clone of a data node, do the links propagate automatically or should they drop the links in respect of the cloned node’s new contextual position? What does a link to a clone mean in respect to its identical data sisters? This is all the stuff of information theory as it relates to neural structures distorted by digital representation, and the black waters of intuitive implementation.

My point is this: If a program is going to employ a mechanism for true data visualisation of this magnitude, it might as well do as good a job as possible. Any half-baked implementation is going to, eventually, become worthless to any serious user of it. This is the problem with programs like MyMind and NoteMind, as well as the more expensive NovaMind. Once you get past the learning curve, you quickly start running into a wall imposed by the application’s limitations. This reduces the long-term effectiveness of the data models you make in it. For ultra-simple concepts, something like NoteMind is all right, but if you are going to implement something in an application for use by a wide variety of people, it needs to accommodate as many people as possible. It is okay for NoteMind to be simplistic, because if you need more there are other applications out there. If you need the most powerful data visualiser you can get on the market, there is always Tinderbox. In a program like Scrivener, whose primary focus is something else entirely, adding a data visualisation system like this either needs to be ultra-simple (and thus worthless for anything complicated), or massively complex to the point where Scrivener ceases to be Scrivener.

So, in my opinion, Keith is quite right in giving a strong no to this one, because any good implementation of what you are asking for would be something a lot more like Tinderbox and a lot less like NoteMind. In order of complexity, this request is not dissimilar from posting a request to have a full graphical layout system like InDesign be integrated with the exporter. I do not mean to belittle, so I hope this is not coming off that way. It is easy to think that data visualisation is less than it really is, because of what it is by its very definition. It makes complex things “fathomable.” So without a lot of background information on the subject, it might seem like a somewhat simple concept to execute.

It isn’t.

Thanks AmberV.

The reasoned way you put the argument is irrefutable and really closes the case on mind-maps for Scrivener. It simply would not be appropriate.

As always, clear and well considered.


Well said, and exactly my experience with the (more expensive) NovaMind. I loved it at first and it’s great at what it does, but in my experience, once I really started using it and not just playing around with it, I quickly realized it wouldn’t work the way I needed it to. Now it sits, lying fallow, in my Applications folder (actually I think I deleted it when cleaning up my hard drive one day).

Despite my lame attempts at humor in my previous post, I have been watching this thread with interest, since I do like mind-mapping even though it is of limited use to me. It would be neat to see it as a feature, but Amber’s point is well taken, and well spoken.


Thanks AmberV - that is exactly what I was trying (and failing) to say with my earlier fatuous comment about how Scrivener “is never going to allow you to record music, edit photos or shoot fish in a barrel, either.” Whilst the comment was fatuous, I was actually trying to say that implementing a Mind-Mapper would be akin to implementing GarageBand or iPhoto in terms of complexity, and is thus way beyond the scope of Scrivener even if some writers find such things useful.
All the best,