Wish list: two requests and a half (add your own!)

Hi there. I am a keen Scapple user. I have seen some feature request in other posts, but here I would like to present my own one(s), and, perhaps, encourage others to do so. Scapple is an great program. IMHO, its main virtue is to do what most people need in a simple, fast and intuitive way. As other poster said, there is very little “friction” preventing you from throwing in ideas and thoughts. Kudos for that.

Now, I mostly use it in order to outline my classes, lectures or papers (I am an university teacher). Even if Scapple has quickly become my favourite program for this purposes, I still miss a couple of features that would make it the perfect program for me (and which, very likely, would also be welcome by other users). Most importantly, I think that these features could be not too complex to code:

1.Automatic creation of links to drag-and-dropped files. This is an absolute must, which other posters have already commented on. It would make things much more simple than having to write a note, highlight all of its text by repeatedly clicking on it, hitting Cmd+L, writing “file://” in the box that appears, navigating to the file, and, finally, dragging and dropping it in the box. This is just so Un-Scapple-is! This is “friction”, indeed.

(1b.While the above is coded (please, please do it!), it would be great if the notes with embedded links would not look like regular links (blue, underlined text). This spoils the whole look of the page. Could notes with links be just added a small icon?).

  1. It would be just perfect if Scapple allowed me to drag and drop highlighted text from a website or file AND included a record (visible or hidden, you choose) indicating where the text was taken from --or or, even better, a small icon linking to its source. I believe that this feature alone would instantly transform Scapple into the favorite application for many teachers and researchers.

In any case, my congratulations for Scapple. After having tried far too many similar programs, I cannot help but admiring its simplicity and efficacy. Please, do not give up improving it.


Thanks! Glad to hear you’re liking the software.

As a way of creating a new note that has text within it linked to the file, by dropping that file on the board, I don’t believe this has been ruled out.

For special icons or other such things, this will probably just stay as normal text hyperlinks. Icons don’t really fit into text that well, they mess up the line-heights, and you can’t just have a single icon because one note may have fifty links in it.

That would be nice, but when you copy and paste or drag and drop text that is all you are doing. It is just text (plain-text sometimes, formatted other times). There are typically no markers or meta-data associated with it that would allow programs to know where it came from, and no standards or common uses for doing so that would make it predictable to retrieve that information, if it was stored in the first place.

Hi, MaberV, thanks for the feedback. Yep, I do like the software. It is perfect for my way of thinking/working/recalling/forgetting things.
I understand what you say about copying just doing that. Yes, the system has no way to know if the user will ever by pasting to Scapple, so that it does not get any metadata telling where the copied bits came from; even if it knew that the copied bit would be pasted to Scapple, it would probably require a huge, system-wide program hack. That’s too bad. :cry:
Now, about the automatic links to dragged-and-dropped files, this is another thing, as I am sure it could be done (thought I do not know how much work it is required). Presently, if I drag and drop a file, say a pdf, I just get an image of the pdf in my scapple whiteboard: if, a couple of weeks later, I want to browse that pdf, I have to look for it in Alfred, in the Finder, in Spotlight, in Tembo, etc. This means enlarging the icon to read the content of the first page, type the title in Spotlight, Tembo, Houdah or a similar program, and hope for a short list of results. However, in other competing programs I can just double-click on the icon and, voilà, there it is, the pdf opens instantly in the predetermined program (in my case, good old Preview): fast, easy, convenient. Would it be difficult to implement this behaviour in Scapple? If so, please, please do it --or at least put it in your list of likely upgrades: I am sure that many more people balk at the idea of having to look for every file they have put into Scapple in order to open it… Again, thank you for your good work, and, now, also for your fast response.

Well, specifically in the case of PDFs (and images), when you drop them in Scapple you are embedding the file into the board, as a graphic. PDF is frequently used as a vector compatible graphics format, most often in the sciences where equations can be stored as scalable graphics. So our support for that is meant to facilitate this usage, not to serve as an icon back to some file. So I would say what you are trying to do here, use whole embedded graphics as non-functional icons that you have to expand to read—that’s not really what this feature is meant for, so I can see why you’re running into friction with it. I’d recommend using hyperlinks in text notes if all you want is a link. If we did make a feature that automatically created a link on a dropped file, it would not be some new class of note, an “icon” note. It would be exactly what you get right now when you create a note with some text and hit Cmd-L and drop the file into the URL field. I’ve already proposed the “icon note” idea to Keith in the past and that one has not passed the muster.

Mm, I see… How about this alternative? I drag-and-drop a file into the Scapple whiteboard, and it just behaves as it does now. BUT, if I drag-and-drop a file while holding the Cmd key and a link to the file is inserted in the whiteboard --with or without the image icon: this is not as important as is the convenience of being able to link files without writing a note, selecting the text, pressing Cmd-L, writing “file://” and finally dragging the file into the window. Having to do this every time I want to link a file is really bothersome. If the drag-and-drop + Cmd option was implemented, the user would have the option to conveniently decide how he or she wants Scapple to behave when inserting files into Scappe: fast, easy, simple, versatile, no feature loss (just the opposite), no unnecessary complexity… well into the spirit of Scapple, I would say. What do you think?
(Thank you again!).

Yeah, we’re basically back to the initial point that I made where this particular idea: dropping a file on the board and getting a text link automatically made for you, is not off the table for consideration. We just haven’t had time to really look at it and decided whether or not to implement it. I would agree with you that streamlining the New note + Type Filename + Select text + Cmd-L + Type “file://” + Drop file is a good idea. Whether Keith wants to specifically program that into the software (Cmd/Opt modifier etc. aside) is what remains as the question.

It’s specifically a new “file” note class with icons and all that has been dismissed as not fitting into the vision of the software. It wasn’t ever designed to be a surrogate file manager. That we can link to files at all is a side-effect of being able to hyperlink in general, not as a specific approach. I.e. we didn’t look at all of those steps above and say, “That sounds like an efficient way to link to files…”, rather we just never really considered using a freeform text editor as a file manager of any scale or sort in the first place.

Thank you, once more, for your response. I honestly think that those two features alone (drag-and-dropping a file automatic linking to it) and drag-and-dropping selected text automatically registering the file it’s coming from, perhaps via a Service) would make Scapple much more compelling for many people, and able to directly compete with other, much more expensive programs. Even only one of them could make a difference in its overall usability. Scapple would not become a file manager, or a different program, but just a more versatile, better Scapple --while keeping its spirit.
Scapple is good as it is, but, why not dreaming of improving things?
Congratulations for the good results you have already achieved. Keep on the good work. :smiley:

I have to agree with these features requests…

I am also very looking forward those features !

First of all, I just started testing Scrapple yesterday, and I already love this program!

I’d like to see some kind of note style management platform inside the program that allows you to preview, delete, and export/import styles quickly. I use a lot of visual styles to create hierarchies as my documents grow and to help me identify patterns quickly. It’s a pain to go through and test or delete styles one at a time, especially on multiple documents.

I really support this feature request as well. I just started using Scrapple with Papers (by mekentosj). There is an option in Papers to copy a ‘papers link’ to the file. When I pasted that in scrapple, it inserted a link automatically - BRILLIANT! (it looks like this: papers2://publication/livfe/id/12345). Perhaps a small step towards what jandimorr suggested would be at least to be able to alter the text visible for the link. I do this in gmail and word programs, where they typically have a ‘Link:’ and ‘Display:’ text box.


FYI, folks, there’s no R in Scapple. Scrapple is a food item of some kind (a Southern style U.S. dish as far as I’m aware), while Scapple is a verb (not food related… unless you’re sculpting butter) as defined at the head of Chapter two in it’s manual.

So, Scapple is fantastic, a piece of software I’ve been seeking out for quite some time but I have one issue with it that’s preventing it from being perfect – the way export works.

What would make this app 100x more useful would be if exporting (particularly in OPML format) could somehow preserve the connections so I could open it in a more traditional outliner to further refine the rough idea I’ve laid out in Scapple, rather than just getting a flat list of text that was in the map.

That would be nice, but unfortunately OPML does not support non-hierarchical linking in the first place, in fact none of the export formats support that concept (unless you count PDF and PNG which show them visually). I have a feeling export from Scapple will always be a bit raw, because it follows a path that not many other programs do, and there is no standard format like OPML that really addresses a spatial editor like this.

I would like to suggest some additional features to the wish list for Scapple. If there was a way to have more options on the different types of line connections – similar to lines in the “auto shape” section in Power point. I do a lot of sentence diagramming in foreign languages and having various options of types of line connections would be great to have. I have submitted a sample of various line connections. (Note: I don’t necessarily need the underlines under the words directly, but the different types of line connectors – and the ability to draw free form line connectors – would be great to have.
diagramming.tiff.pdf (236 KB)

On the general topic here, as you know, there are a lot of people who love the original simplicity of Scapple and want you to leave alone for the most part. One the specific topic, if you’re lucky enough to use iThoughtsX in addition to Scapple, it now includes a Scapple Import which seems on my testing so far to preserves a lot of the floating spatial information and all of the Inter-note lines.

This interests me but this link doesn’t work and I cant find Papers in the Mac App Store…

Two suggestions.

  1. I would like Scapple to have an auto-save feature like Scrivener.
  2. On my tiny-screen MacBook Air I tried to position Scrivener and Scapple open in the same window. I was surprised that Scapple’s minimum width is quite large and I can’t place them side-by-side without overlap. It’s not a killer that they overlap as I switch between them, but it is a minor annoyance. :wink:

Great programs! Thanks.