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I've found freemind to be an excellent tool - not with out some fairly annoying drawbacks, but very useful.
One of the glaring limitations of the mind mapping tools I've used, some commercial, but most not, is the complete inability to add/enforce structure to a mind map.
It can be argued that a mind mapping tool is appropriate for the INITIAL collection/organization of information, but not the actual USAGE of it.
I wondered what it would take to go from "brain dump" to "Useful results"?
My conclusion was this:
1. You do the 'brain dump'.
2. Organize the 'concepts' to have them relate properly to each other (whatever relate properly means)
3. Concept types must be identified.
ie if you where organizing an event and using freemind, you might break it down to things like the venue, the speakers, the helpers etc. so my 'node types' (in this example) would be an 'event node' that required a venue node, that required a helpers node (That in turn required at least one helper), a speakers node (that in turn required at least one speaker).
4. Relationships must be enforced.
In the above example- its a rather simple example. As the complexity of what your trying to do increases, it becomes increasingly important to determine 'do i have all the information I need?" - and worse yet, how do you know?
typically you have some sort of check list you would use - but why not give freemind the checklist and have it tell you what additional information you need?
5. do something useful with the data.
So far we have went from "some idea" to fleshing it out, to refining it, to making sure we have all the data we need, now what do we actually DO with it? sure, we could make a nice PDF or work document with it - or export the XML. All these are very helpful but what about having some of those actions in freemind? how hard would that be?
As it turns out, not very.
MindTypes is a plug in for freemind that facilitates the above mentioned steps.
At the moment it acts well with mySql databases, can pull data out of JPEG images, even write java code.
its usage is fairly simple:
1. You pick a node for your 'root node' and insert a mind types object to it.
2. You right click on the node and select a schema.
3. You right clikc on the node and select init - and away you go.
The schema file contains:
object types, and thier schemata (ie what childrens are permitted and how many etc)
object style information
A popup menu and the functions to call if the menu item is selected
actions associated with this node
if you just need to define a schema and want the nodes to be pretty colors, you never need to write any code.
If you want to put a bit of intelligence in and have some fancy output - or update a database it is profoundly easier than writing a plug in. It also fosters little libraries of code and makes them much more modular.
While Mind types is very* usable some if it is probably in a releasable form and some of it is not.
I have been wondering if this might be something that could be incorperated into the freemind baseline - If it would foster more interest in the development of freemind, I would be happy to contribute it and continue to oversee that part of development tree.
I just throght I'ld throw that out there.
I have received some interist about MindTypes, so i created a sourceforge project and at the moment uploaded a binary (more or less) of freemind 0.9.0 rc3+ MindTypes plus a few docs and what is the beginnings of the worst tutorial known to exist.
I love this idea. I teach biology postgrads how to write research papers, and use a template approach that could benefit from some schematic encouragement. I tested out your sourceforge app, and got it to work, neat! But for my teaching purposes anyway the experience would need to be more intuitive for the students, Im sure you are already would like to head in that direction. all the best with developing this exciting project!!
I tried to find the source code of your plug-in on the new project's page and failed: the svn seems to contain no files. I could see the source code distribution neither within the plug-in binary distribution nor as the separate source code package. Could you please help me to find your source code?
Dimitry, I encourage you to read the previous posts :)
At the moment I put the binary's out there because some things should be cleaned up a bit before i put the source out.
There is also a few questions about organizing the librarys what goes in the mod tree and what goes in the lib tree etc.
as for the location of the source its on my hard drive at the moment in the c:\freemind-dev directory