Problems, Observations, Desires

Just installed… Hi…

As soon as saved, had a failure to autosave – due to permissions – an error message that had no way of being closed. Had to close the document. This appeared after saving the document to a location that I had permissions to write to and was fine after reopening the document.

Though full PDFs, when imported, are saved within the Scapple document, it appears, only the first page of a PDF is viewable. Either all pages or none would be better. Preferably all, as this would broaden the usefulness considerably. A scroll bar maybe?

Being able to import a selection of file types to create content is obviously good, but aliases for other file types and web clippings would make this application tremendously useful. We then have a broad range of applications and their files to comment on and easily reference.

Would expect a reference, to see the original, of any imported file, within the Finder.
Would expect a means to edit imported documents (pictures) within their default application. In other words, to be able to launch a file from their representation within Scapple.
Would want to view a file in place, optionally full size or as an icon, that is, a compact version, a screen size version and a full scale version without having to change the underlying format of the document.
Would want to have collapsible notes, down to a size of selected text, then editable to form a synopsis which doesn’t also edit the full note.
I need to know where the images and files are saved, when imported, so that I can edit them, if not able to within the application. Not being able to do so means saving the original also, so having two copies, inside and outside of Scapple. That could be a lot of pictures and space and the need to manually update their in application counterpart after editing. This then also necessitates access to the file name of pictures to be able to find their out of application counterpart.

Arbitrarily restricting a persons choice of expression, based on subjective valuation of necessity or utility is akin to dictating your taste for someone else; because these one size fit all underpants are sufficiently hard wearing and stretch to cover 97% of the market, should we not have further choices? If a person wants to display every letter in a note a different colour, font and size, who is to say that this isn’t of personal benefit to the individual? This functionality doesn’t even complicate the interface, it’s just what you get in every application that has text editing. You might just as well limit words to no more than three syllables, because this happens to be, personally, all you need.

Visually, text speaks, it differentiates itself, tells you what to look at, essentially, optionally, informatively, when and why, without having to resort to fade or colour, though these help. If note taking is really only about monotonous piled up text, why have a variety of boarder styles? Beyond italics and underlines, fonts convey information that can be well recognised and responded to. Exactly what are you imparting with a particular boarder style and who else is meant to understand this arbitrary convention? Will we remember why we put some things in this box and others in another? If there is no reason, the first rule of design is don’t do it. If there’s only one reason to do it, such as it looks good, you still don’t do it. Only if there is use, or more than one reason to make any decision, should it be made, because every decision has purpose, or should, otherwise it gets in the way as useless clutter competing for attention. Expression is a valid and very important reason. Because we ‘read’ our contrived environment, what’s arbitrary, or seen to be so, is interference.

Not allowing an expression through a variety of complimentary fonts is the same as writing without economy. It’s verbose and unwieldy. Introducing coloured boxes and boarders at the expense of font expression is arbitrary and has limited scope to convey subtle and very useful information that has universally or even personally understood meaning.

Imagine someone who speaks with no expression, only louder or quieter monotone. You can’t tell when they change topic, make a frivolous aside, explain expansively, or interject with a little quip… Oh, but they wear expressive shirts, ties and trousers, changed moment to moment, to help them convey their mood and ideas as best they can; though what these mean, who really knows? All we can do is feel sorry for them, for their inadequacy in communicating effectively. Perhaps this is why news papers, books and magazines frugally come printed in a variety of colours, in colourfully bounded boxes, yet we still get identifiable information conveyed by simple and appropriate monochromatic text. All it takes is a style sheet, or two, to set header text, body, etc…

If a coffee stain is meant to suggest the, flexible, ready nature of the application, why can’t there be, for example, initials that scale, larger, even illuminated? Yes, you want to make it essential, but that shouldn’t mean restricted, rather that it does what is deemed necessary and essential with least effort or distraction from the interface, and that anything more is up to the individual to bother with at their discretion.

Looking at the paper to digital image of the hand written Scapple notes, contrasted with the application rendered ‘facsimile’, it’s interesting to note that the handwritten example is more legible, with a sense for necessary padding inside boxes, has gravity, impact, immediacy, contrasts of scale, energy, exuberance, tension, serious intent with more casual suggestion, resolute and open confidence along side the tight and tentative, expressed without reading the words… conveying many subtle contextual hierarchies – perhaps the nature of notes, handwriting and letter setting - the ability to determine easily what is important moment to moment and how we feel about it, rather than having flaccid, impenetrable, uniformity, enforced. Notes are not body text. Though often it’s all we need, very often, more times, it’s not enough.

Otherwise a very good start with the promise or the hope of being brilliant.

Don’t tell me at this price I shouldn’t expect more, as I read in response to someone else who wanted curved lines, that it doesn’t warrant being better for the money, or… perfect for our expectations as is within your power to convey, because decisions are there to be made correctly, for a set of reasons, not arbitrarily. Simple, doesn’t mean a straight jacket, applied just because you don’t see the straight jacket. It should mean appropriate hierarchy of function and, essentially, it appears that is what you have come up with, in the main… because awareness grows. Well done.

Would you mind posting a brief abstract of your treatise? :wink:

Kind regards,


If you can play it, Joachim, I’ll sing it. :wink:


Love it love it love it! Would it possible to place shapes like squares and rectangles and rotate them, as in creating a simple stage scene or furniture plan?

Which, being interpreted means, “This app doesn’t do exactly what I want it to do”.

What about the many people who find that Scapple-as-is does exactly what they want it to do, and don’t want to see it made more complex? As someone else put it, “Don’t turn Scapple into OmniGraffle Lite”, a notion with which I concur heartily. And the reasoning behind not implementing curved lines etc. seems to me to be extremely cogent in relation to the purpose for which Keith conceived Scapple.

In other words, “Don’t put the price up, but in the meantime put in a lot more hard work turning Scapple into what I want — and what my false consensus says most other people would want (Martin, are you reading this? :slight_smile: ) — rather than the app you envision.”

Sorry … I cannot agree with you. There are apps like Curio and OmniGraffle, I guess, which will do more what you want.

Mr X

Young Master Philip,
Have you posted in the wrong forum? Were you intending to post in the Scrivenings or I’m a Writer fora. The moderators (a misnomer/euphemism, for feckless, useless, self serving bunch of no-hopers), will, I’m sure, remove your…?? to wherever you so desire.
Take care

Doesn’t Artansoul mean A…hole in Welsh?
Lechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd!

In Stockporteseian Welsh, variation [size=85]B75[/size]i…loosely translated it means, ‘I adore Scapple’, or ‘I adore Scappling’, or "I adore Scapplers.’<—kinky or wot!! :smiling_imp:
Same to you droo :wink:
Lechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd!


Hello there Mr X,

In response…

Well, if someone a hundred years ago suggested to the foremost luggage manufacturers of the day, “'Ere mate! Why don’t you put a couple of wheels at the corners so we can move our belongings that much easier?” What would the likely response be to extra functionality that didn’t seem important at the time? “What a stupid idea! Luggage, my boy, should be a thing of beauty, a crafted object that conveys status. It says who you are and what you can afford. It really shouldn’t say, “look at me! I can’t afford to have someone carry my own luggage!” Preposterous! Incongruous and distasteful! Who would want it? No one’s asking… And that would complicate things so much! Have you any idea? Think of the expense, the time and effort and for what!?”

The users of products and very often the designers are sometimes not the best people to be designing whatever it is they’re focused on. Some people come along and raise the awareness of what’s possible, as was done by the developer here, on Scrivener. Keith I believe?

I’m afraid I don’t know competing products to do this kind of Scapple thing. I’m not wanting it to be turned into anything. I use paper, Illustrator, an old version of Canvas for Mac and Scrivener (I thank you!) for less visually and spatially benefiting written notes. I don’t need lines, curved or straight, for myself to link things, because, generally, what’s proximal is related. It’s possible to contrive the composition with scale, weight, weight of line, formality, overlap and subtle use of space to lead the eye as you want, so that context can be easily deduced. Lines would be handy to emphasise procedures, like a flow chart, or to connect distal items, but then, if you wanted the line to avoid anything on the way, double click the line to create a near empty note with a bit of shading to create a corner.

What I was saying was that subtle ways to express yourself are important because huge amounts of information can be stored within the composition and elements on display. First design the essential function… in a visual tool, it’s likely that expression is quite important and can be harnessed for good purpose, if that functionality is there. Yet it doesn’t need to get in the way. When the default font isn’t enough, all that is needed is a text box that allows formatting of text and a format button which is out of the way of what you might see as core functioning. Instead of increasing and decreasing font sizes of notes, you simply scale the text box.

If you haven’t realised the benefits of wheels on luggage, or started to become visually aware, to master the potential for visual communication, you won’t likely believe there are benefits to increased flexibility in a program like Scapple.

When you design a product, simultaneously you need to understand the needs of the customer and how you are going to communicate to the customer that your product fulfils their needs. If you design s**t, you can sell it, but it’s about expectation management. If I’m told my roses will be beautiful, and it turns out that it’s the best dung in town, I’ll be singing the praises of that particular genius. If not, I would not be so happy, but if I happened to know some reasons why it didn’t work… well, I could try to help out, couldn’t I?

You see, anyone can make what they want and I have no desire to change that, but if a product is marketed with a line, “If you’ve ever scribbled down ideas all over a piece of paper and drawn lines between related thoughts, then you already know what Scapple does.” and I see that the product has been deliberately handicapped so that it has less expressive capacity than Text Edit, even though it exploits other useful features, then I’m likely to want to point out that this doesn’t do what I can do when jotting down notes on a piece of paper, connecting lines or not.

Functionality doesn’t mean complexity. Lets say I wanted to program such an application and I decided to have a slider that sets tonal balance for the canvas as a whole. By calculating light and dark ratio, or the area of text relative to background, I could have the application scale everything proportionately to meet the desired balance, keeping elements separated enough, so shoved around a little to create the basis for further tweaking. A little shift here and there of groups of elements to create space between them would change the local tonal balance, which could be recorded and sustained between the elements when things are moved. It might sound a lot of work for a text application, but think about creating a harmonious or even dramatic looking page that happens to be a picture… a photograph. Tonal balance effects how you engage and respond to the information being presented, just as much with text as pictures. There’s many things that could be automated to allow expression to be easy for anyone, without overly complicating the interface. Go into a gallery and draw one of the pictures with a pencil in outline. Now present that to the gallery owner and say, “Swap!?” Such subtleties might not matter to you, but what can be contrived with the hand isn’t Greately duplicated by Scapple.

I’m not saying anyone should automate means to make expression easier. I would just expect a visual tool to do at least what text edit can, especially when I’m told that I already know what Scapple does, in doing what I can do, taking notes on a piece of paper.

Price is irrelevant here, I was remarking on someone else’s argument of why more work shouldn’t be done. “Don’t put the price up, but in the meantime put in a lot more hard work turning Scapple into what I want…” When you sell within an unrestricted market, price of the product doesn’t correlate to reward for labour. If you sell to a single person or a limited group or market, you can calculate your labour relative to your pricing. Sell a painting that took two hours for £100 and, forgetting costs, you made £50 an hour. Sell an computer application to, what turns out to be everyone who wants it, 50 000 people at £15 each and you make £750 000… but what if you did a little work on it? Lets say you flog yourself for ten years to make it a great application that everyone in the word could be interested in, because it makes everything so easy to do and yet lets people have the power to do more should they wish? What price should be charged now? £100? What about 10p?

How many people, of the 2 billion computer users there are now, have £100? Could you sell it to half a million people? That’s £50 million profit that ten years of work. But what if all two billion were prepared to pay 10p? That would be £200 million, but could 10 years work warrant taking even that much money from the people of the world, exacerbating the divide between rich and poor, helping to cement them in the poverty trap?

In an open market, retail cost of the application has no correlation to the amount of work done to produce it, because there’s a cumulative reimbursement. If you sold a wonderful application to every computer user in the word for a penny, you would make £20 million. Is that economically ethical? 1 penny could make you a very callous person.

So you see, Mr X, cost of the application doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have our expectations met and expectations are very easy to control… “Remember those little machines that would emboss letters on plastic tape to make labels?” Ever use 'em to take notes? Ever type out your notes and then cut them up on a piece of paper to make a more contextual arrangement? Well, now you know what Scapple can do. Yet there is more! Scaling, moving things around, yes, they aren’t stuck down, and connecting them with lines too. Not forgetting colour and fade! The sky’s the limit with Scapple… your powerful and adaptable label, caption and note arranger." :wink:

I see a suitcase that could have so little done to it to have, not just wheels, but ground breaking wheels in several dimensions. You are happy with a suitcase and resent someone trying to open your eyes to there being anything beyond what you will settle for.

Me, I don’t need a suitcase with wheels, I have a… wife :unamused: Was going to say cat…


To me it seems that what you do have, is too much time on your hands.


Young Master Philip,
Have you thought about;
Writer’s block, is almost as handy as a nice little uncomplicated app like Scapple.
It (Writer’s block, not Scapple), can leads you into uncharted waters that leave you…speechless…dumbfounded, and unable to string two thought together. My human does his best…err…stuff, when he engages Writer’s block. He’s learning to draw faces with Scapple. If it was made more complex…I’m afraid it would break his heart. :cry:

Thanks for all your thoughts and feedback. I designed Scapple to do the stuff I wanted it to do, for my own work, and it does that beautifully. In fact, it already does a lot more than that, because I added a number of features that I thought made sense given the initial scope based on feature suggestions during the extensive beta-testing period.

It’s price tag is based on the following factors: (1) It is intended to be a simple app; (2) I will not be putting as much development time into it as Scrivener; (2) That said, it will still be updated and maintained, and I’ll listen to users.

There is already a wealth of superb brainstorming applications out there that can do all of what you suggest and more. I would recommend the following as the top-drawer such software on the Mac:

  • Tinderbox
  • Curio
  • OmniGraffle

Scapple isn’t trying to be any of these; Scapple to Tinderbox is what Byword is to Scrivener.

As with Scrivener, Scapple won’t suit everybody, and I have no interest in trying to turn it into a tool that will please everyone, as that way madness lies. Thanks for trying it, and for taking the time to post your thoughts on it, though!

All the best,

Keith, you are getting downright civil in your dotage.

Have a care: that way sanity lies.


Keith has already responded, so there’s really no need for me to do so, except to say that, having been a Scrivener user since the time it was still in beta transitioning from “Scrivener Gold”, and having, I have to say, “played with” Scapple (It doesn’t actually fulfill any need in my work, and OmniGraffle is perfect for such diagramming as I need to do) since Keith first made his initial concept available and invited people to comment on whether they would be interested in such an app … in all that, Keith has shown time and time again that he is willing to add wheels to a suitcase. What he hasn’t been willing to do is to make the suitcase self-propelling and big enough to contain seats, etc., for which I and many others applaud him.

For the rest I leave all the other forumites to draw their own conclusions.
Mr X

Hi Keith and Mr X and thanks for both of your replies. I think, because I haven’t used the note taking software mentioned, I can’t really draw back enough to recognise what Scapple might be wanting to address that would be different, so I’m not qualified to pass comment on any intentions that might otherwise be rather more evident to me.

I’ve been researching intelligence for a number of years, relating to cognitive structure, data structures and the way these have particular scope for expression of information. I tried Scapple because you, Keith, are self evidently reflective enough to learn from your own observations and, like an artist upon a canvas, you are depicting the logic that you have gleaned, within the creation of your programs; a juxtapositional logic, discovered and modelled, if you like. I use the analogy of an artist, because in learning to see, an artist must attempt to objectify the information available, from their senses and contrive a logical representation of their intentions, whether that is figurative or abstract. When iTunes came out, I could see that the juxtapositional logic of connections between information was very fundamental, encompassing a certain gamut, broad enough for the application as it stood, yet lacking in many ways. Relational databases are very powerful, yet the full gamut of logical connection types haven’t been recognised or implemented. In iTunes and in Scrivener, there are very fundamental connections which can be said to have dimensionality and they are universal and elemental within logic. We might say that logic is syntactic, not relating to language, but to intelligence, as it can be manifest, saddled within the three dimensional space of a brain. Such applications mentioned have far greater potential as universal applications, yet have considerable scope to be broadened in elemental ways, which studies of logic, broad neurological connectivity and cerebral topology, amongst other realms, can inform.

Few people seem to have an ability to break down their though processes to be able to model anything which relates in a fundamental way to their cognitive processing. People have tried to gain incites for so long and tend to focus on things which are greatly irrelevant. So, it hasn’t been easy, but it leads me to believe that you, Keith, have the potential to go further in your awareness, if you choose, or not, it will likely happen to some degree. Having a quick gander at Scapple was to get a glimpse of your brain, is at it has been recently. Any comments are meant to help, but they’re only a first response to the application. If there is a particular use it serves that other applications don’t and it satisfies that need… it may yet be a step towards somewhere. Who knows?

My interest isn’t in bells and whistles, or automation devices to help expression, or automotive suitcases, though I like the idea of a speedy suitcase, but what I see is a lot of duplicated effort of people who are skirting around various potential for advancement. I’m sure that Scapple, in it’s way, is an advance, or at least a refined reconfiguration to meet a need. Many may not have an ambition to go further than their vision allows, but as yet, in software, apart from Scrivener to a small, but significant extent, I can’t see anything that has added the wheels yet, though other software exists to arrange all sorts of things, it’s often very ridged, or in the case of databases, not ridged enough, not that I spend my time looking. I study all sorts, elsewhere, and from my perspective as it has developed, what I’ve gleaned informs a little more about what a ‘wheel’ can be and so, slowly, I’m working towards particular goals of my own, but goals that are shared by a few, no doubt. Anyway, congratulations on your continued success Keith. it is a great joy for me to see people forging ahead.

We are both, then, Mr X, long time users of Scrivener, and it mostly meets my needs for note taking. Notebooks too are great, though not easy to find what you know you once wrote or illustrated :confused: One of the problems I have is in so much information existing in so many places. I probably wouldn’t be interested in Scapple as it stands, but if it were to be integrated within Scrivener as a page alternative, it would be compelling indeed, and might amount to an axle mount, though that isn’t, as I understand it, in Keith’s vision. Urban sprawl and data too… uugh! I’ll just crawl back into my suitcase…

Best regards chaps!


Master Philip, would these gaols be anything that the miscreanti aboard Scrivener would find interesting, stimulating, fascinating or thought provoking? Feel free to enlighten us. :smiley:

Curious Fluff

Phil, mate,
:open_mouth: Bit naughty tha’ init? Stuff Scap int’ Scriv!? ‘s gonna cost young Kev a few bob (ten quid plus), that idea. Unless Kev bungs the price of Scriv right up! Tch!tch! wot y’ like!? :open_mouth:

Hello Fluff,

I don’t know if people would be interested, but, in an oblique fashion, I’m working on a problem now, trying to fill in the blanks. Hypothetically, if someone where to make strides in understanding how data is structured, to manifest cognition and intelligence, there would be some choices they would have to make which would likely depend on aspects of their personality.

Being someone who could understand and deduce causes and effects, in parallel and nested levels of stratified structure, seeing the innate and the extrinsic, understanding how it holds together as logic, recognising what’s cardinal and what can be leveraged there from, it’s likely they will also have experience of backward engineering other things, analysed how systems work in other domains and likely come to their field armed with a wealth of world knowledge to draw on. It’s likely they will have developed a mastery in at least some field that can give them an extent of incites, rather than, perhaps, graduating in neuroscience and heading straight to the coal face to hack away at some research project or other, still greatly blinkered to the rest of the world, despite the towering knowledge of their subject they find themselves clambering over. It’s just my opinion, but I feel it’s likely they would have an understanding of some of the problems in the world and, it would be likely they would have formulated a clear understanding of what caused some of those problems and even had some knowledge of ways the world might progress to counter the damage we all see being done in various ways. At least this person is more likely than politicians to understand the process of revealing what is unintuitive and what little tweaks to society could possibly be made that could trundle away to gracefully unfold a better outcome…

What do you think? You think it will be one person to make some giant leap at some stage, or will it be some number of teams working together across the globe, collating research data till they’re swimming in it? Will it by an elder statesman with the time to have developed a real overview or some young whippersnapper stumbling out of his bath, frothing with eureka? Will they be in academia and supported, or in business, hoping to make a killing, or independently drawn to the field to further their own research and understanding, because this is where their talents and passions seemed to be bearing fruit?

Whoever, they will have some choices. Publish their findings and let the world get on with it. Try to protect it and sell their wisdom. Try to get investment to further their research and maybe try to exploit the information themselves. Perhaps seek public funding to carry on, or get their government interested? What a coup for their country – no?

We will suppose this is valuable information in various ways. Before it can magically bring about some wistfully exciting singularity, recursively bettering itself on a moment by moment basis, it is, firstly, like the brain, an ontological data structure, like a tape recorder, but contextually conglomerating information from it’s various inputs and sensors. You know, things like a keyboard, or a table of data, some words and sentences… the weather, statistics… It’s loaded with all sorts of data, by hand or automation, not so it might spring into some kind of conscious life, it’s early days, as it was for the spinning jenny, but rather so we can access the information in it’s various contexts, mirroring our brain’s own thought processes. It can quickly become a repository for all data and any person, or organisation who makes use of it will build more and more links, snowballing in greater densities of data over time.

So, what should our genius do Captain Fluff? What are they likely to do? What would you do, or anyone? …And what will be the outcome of any particular direction taken?

I’ll put it to you, Guv… and I’ll leave it wiv ya too.

Vic, Sir,

You have a point! …and your prodding me uncomfortably. It’s quite true, if Keith ever thought it would be a good idea, he could put the price up, so… sssssh! He might also sell it as a plug in for Scriv, while also leaving it as a stand alone application, along side… Scriv & Scrap forever! He could also bring the price down, because the market size isn’t a fixed quantity. The closer you get to perfection, heady desirability, or compelling utility, as you, perhaps, up date a product, the more you have scope to drop the price, for demand can increase, legend and hero status ensues, in direct correlation to economies of scale, and before long you’re out of business… or rolling in money, or something in between. Sometimes if you raise prices the market suddenly expands with the perception that, “Hey! This must be real quality…” or “If I can just scrimp for Scriv… I’ll be the coolest! Yeh!”

Options, options, always options… so untidy.

Boiled, scrambled, scrivenered…