Well, I guess that for my workstyle, no, it wouldn’t be more convenient, because scaling is another way of showing data subordination/change of focus, and it’s also a way of preserving the spatial layout of elements on-screen but making it possible to fit more information in the existing location. This difficulty scaling/hiding-revealing data makes it so I have to repeatedly reshuffle the spatial layout to fit everything as a design is developing-- the easy way to make something visually smaller is to move it out of the way, which breaks the 10 or 15 or whatever connection links with other items, or hides the lines behind the other items. It’s a hassle. Scaling something in place makes the changes with the connecting lines less of an issue, since it’s mostly going to where it already is.
I like Scapple because of its spatio-visual and non-hiercharchical nature-- things exist in a visual two-dimensional space (rather than in a long list or some other linearized format), and you aren’t forced into hiercharchies (as with ‘mind mapping’ and outlining software). However, sometimes hierarchy is needed, and one way to create hierarchy (whether temporarily in a workspace, or long-term in formatting a document) is through scale-- how much space something takes up in a composition.
Scapple allows for manual type scaling, but the spatial relationships and connecting lines will break down. I like the behavior of something like Adobe Illustrator with ‘scale fonts’ turned on-- you can select a number of objects and drag the corner of the bounding box, and everything scales up. (As I’ve already said, I understand that scapple strokes might not need to scale, because of how things are already implemented, and it doesn’t really matter to me.)
Things are further complicated because I’m using a Dvorak/Cmd-QWERTY layout, which is buggy and means that I can easily select notes in Scapple and ‘make font smaller’ with cmd-minus, but cmd-plus doesn’t work; this small issue is an annoyance I have in other apps as well. But this issue is tangential to the main point, which is that I think it could be a great behavior, and one which is clearly within the potentials of the technology.
OS X touchpad users are quite used to the pinch behavior that scales the view (and this works in Scapple as well); this visual logic is similar, except that the objects, the fonts, and the spatial relationship among objects would all scale together. That means one could easily subordinate [or superordinate] a whole section of a figure to another easily, and then zoom in and out to follow all the nesting. In a way, this adds depth to the field-- rather than merely vertical and horizontal control, a sense of zooming to higher and lower levels of granularity or relatedness becomes possible. I think this would allow for denser relationships and more flexibility in the use of the tool. (As it is, this kind of thing could be accomplished with different note styles, or manually with the inspector-- but it’s labor-intensive for the user, and it’s the software’s job to make it easy to do creative work.)
I use linking in my projects with some success, although I must say that the implementation is a little clunky. Having to add ‘files://’ to the beginning of the URL when dragging a document from the finder into the Link destination: dialog box, not being able to drag and drop from the finder (perhaps adding a modifier key to create a link to the file rather than copying its image-- see Circus Ponies Notebook’s behavior with adding/linking attachments as a good example), having to triple-click with a pause between each click in order to link through to the target document (again, perhaps command-clicking on a link to just go to it?)-- these clunky implementation issues make file linking a less-than-elegant experience.
I really like the product, and I’d really like to use it for even more-- I think it could be a really solid contender and attract a strong customer base, it offers some things that other tools out there don’t come close to. I have a few other things on a ‘wish list,’ but (browsing the forums) I realize there are a million ideas out there, and lots of them don’t appeal to me personally. So I don’t want to be just another eccentric, demanding user who thinks their idea is great and universally applicable… but I do think it could come in handy for a lot of people, and it might not be that hard to make happen.
I imagine a future where Scapple is a strong information manager / storyboarder / wiki for creative projects-- like an elegant Tinderbox without all the coding/control stuff. Maybe that’s not the direction the team wants to take things in, but that’s what I think would be really cool. I’m using it to plan my dissertation proposal, and that’s a complicated task. It’s non-linear, semi-hierarchical, and densely interconnected.
Scrivener is non-linear, but still fundamentally linear-- the binder is a list, the document is still basically a scroll, but it’s (quasi-)infinitely divisible, nestable, and meta-taggable. Scapple is great because it’s hierarchy agnostic, but within that agnosticism, I wish it still had better support for hierarchy. Lines with arrowheads is one way, containers is another, this scaling thing (if doable given the codebase and however the object positioning/font stuff has been implemented-- and who knows, maybe there’s already an easy library or function call that could do it!) would be another powerful way to add hierarchy (and really do anything that scaling could convey for people-- a use case could be as simple as pulling part of a Scapple out and easily resizing it for export to a print format!).
My (more than 2)¢.
Thanks for keeping the dialogue open and being so responsive,