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Last post Author Topic: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?  (Read 7259 times)

Josh

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Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:00:12 PM »
Alright all, I know this is a topic that routinely comes up here, but i was wondering...what are the current top players in this realm of software now? I am looking for a way to diagram out my thoughts, and create relationships based on them or identify new trends or connections between various topics, for research I partake in as part of my graduate studies.

Any thoughts? :) Thanks again!

Ath

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 02:00:15 AM »
For the simple mind-mapping tasks I have, I've been using FreeMind, a SourceForge project that is IMHO worth a look.

dr_andus

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2014, 03:51:59 AM »
what are the current top players in this realm of software now?

It depends what you mean by "top players". If you mean "best selling", there are some really expensive mind mapping software out there with every imaginable feature including Gantt charts, or online ones based on subscription.

But for free software, I use Freeplane (fork of Freemind) for hierarchical mind mapping. As for non-hierarchical concept mapping, I like VUE, but some folks here swear by Scapple. CompendiumNG also looks interesting, but I haven't tried it.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 03:52:54 AM »
"...looking for a way to diagram out my thoughts, and create relationships based on them or identify new trends or connections between various topics..."

I think a broad comment is to ponder a little "what do you want the software to do"? I think this is one of those strange topics where you can stare at software all day, but to use a chess analogy, if you get a supercomputer playing chess thinking 40 moves ahead and the first move is wrong, you'll end up with gorgeously proofed out garbage.

Do you want little circles you can write in, and then add circles and circles until you have a nice cluster of circles linking everywhere? Instead, it just so happens the method I went with was a topic-tree list program, and if the same thing shows up twice, just add it into the second tree. Like, if you're studying the effects of fruits on health, orange shows up say twice, on "list of fruits" and "sources of vitamin C." My particular program doesn't draw lines between them there, but at a certain info threshold, it's not so bad to manage.


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 03:54:59 AM »

It depends what you mean by "top players".

I think "Top Player" is a misdirecting red herring. I'd ponder exactly what is desired, and then maybe sometimes a lesser known app has a killer feature. Let's call it the "drool factor". "Blah Blah Blah, all those big guys do x and y, but this little thing does THAT!? Gimme the Pro copy now!!" That's how it went for me.




Renegade

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 07:39:31 AM »
Check out this one:

http://www.thebrain.com

Free and paid. It's extremely capable.

Also:

http://www.mindmaple.com

I used to work for the company (ESTsoft), and I know their design philosophy. Pretty much if you need to ask about software, and they make it, that's what you want. They have an uncanny ability to create highly user-friendly software that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else.

I still use ALTools from ESTsoft not because I used to work for them, but because it really is that easy and good to use. Every now and then I need to use something else, but it's pretty rare.
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40hz

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2014, 11:17:48 AM »
Also:

http://www.mindmaple.com


I like MindMaple. I only wish they did a Linux version.

However, if you decide to go for the paid Pro version of MindMaple, be sure you look at the differences between the "lifetime" and "annual" licenses.

The "lifetime" @ $50 is good only for the life of a major version number. If they upgrade to a new major release, the lifetime license no longer applies. The "annual" license @ $10 does cover new major versions since it's essentially a subscription. It's all spelled out quite clearly on their website. But their 'lifetime' license may not mean what you think it does.

Quote
※ Minor version updates are updates that version number under the decimal point increases. For example, MindMaple v1.2 is a minor update for MindMaple v1.0. However, MindMaple v2.0 is regarded as a major update of MindMaple v1.0. Lifetime License will not update major updates, on the other hand, Annual License will during the license period

I'm not criticizing (too much), other than for them being a little nuanced about what they consider 'lifetime' to be. I'd rather they called that license something other than "lifetime.". Because those terms are pretty much what most software developers call a 'standard' license.

For the record, a "lifetime" license that covers all current and future versions isn't a sustainable business model. I can understand MindMaple not offering such a thing. Because no company that wishes to remain in business can make such an offer. But I do take minor issue with companies that don't actually offer lifetime licenses (in the generally understood sense of the word "lifetime") call what they do offer by something it isn't.

Just my :two: anyway.

superboyac

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2014, 11:35:27 AM »
Man, a lot of these are good.  I looked at the Mind Maple demo and it looks very nice, but there are several of these that are extremely similar and all very nice.  Like MindManager...I like using this occasionally for more formal looking mindmaps...Mind Maple looks to be about 90% the same thing.

The Brain is also something I've tried, very fun program.  But it didn't end up grabbing me and I lost interest.  I'd use the Brain if I were to give a presentation about some convoluted ideas or something because it would be a really great visual.  But for productive day to day work, I find it not as practical.

My problem with this category of software called "Mind Maps" or whatever...my main problem is that it needs one single center node/idea.  Everything branches off a center point.  It just seems too rigid for me, but I may be confusing brainstorming with mind maps.  That center thing is the difference.

So why am I so high on Scapple?  In Scapple, there is no center.  You just put bubbles and text anywhere and connect them with lines.  No organization, no outline or hierarchy.  And it's simple...click and type.  The disadvantage compared to other mind map software is that it doesn't have any fancy features like linking to documents, or embedding stuff, sophisticated visual options. 

Again, I seem to have a personal confusion regarding the definition of mind map.  What is that?  A brainstorm?  It seems to imply a center, that's all i know.  the Brain is probably the most "mind map" thing I've found in the way it presents information (similar to how we think through connections).  But scapple is the same with a more simple format.  I like it better in that I can place things on the screen as i please, I don't have to fiddle around with the Brain's weird 3D space-universe.

mind map, brainstorm, flowchart, outline.  :stars:

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2014, 12:41:31 PM »
So why am I so high on Scapple?  In Scapple, there is no center.  You just put bubbles and text anywhere and connect them with lines.  No organization, no outline or hierarchy.  And it's simple...click and type.  The disadvantage compared to other mind map software is that it doesn't have any fancy features like linking to documents, or embedding stuff, sophisticated visual options. 

Again, I seem to have a personal confusion regarding the definition of mind map.  What is that?  A brainstorm?  It seems to imply a center, that's all i know.  the Brain is probably the most "mind map" thing I've found in the way it presents information (similar to how we think through connections).  But scapple is the same with a more simple format.  I like it better in that I can place things on the screen as i please, I don't have to fiddle around with the Brain's weird 3D space-universe.

mind map, brainstorm, flowchart, outline.
Hi Superboy.

I think these are fairly fuzzy related themes.

People extoll the features of what works for them. So forgive me that I just keep adapting the one I chose.

Just for discussion, you sound a bit concerned about hierarchy problems. It's a bit of a weird trade off. I disliked circles because to me they felt they were wasting space drawing circles, and it seemed above a certain amount of info, that model collapses entirely! (Let's just solve that, and call them rectangles, not to waste screen space on graphics.)

I think an aspect of this discussion depends on how good you are at meta-planning your layout. So let's say you're brainstorming/mindmapping ... say ... Ludum Dare stuff. So your first 20 rectangles are easy, you just sorta stick them somewhere. Then you discover you have stuff on the corners that all relates to each other. How do you get quasi-diagonal lines going without making a huge mess?

In choosing my text tree style, I just resorted to textual notes of "see also ___ ____ ___ ___". So you might have two copies of the info on main trees, and then those little links just have to be "see also" footnotes.




40hz

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2014, 12:50:43 PM »
I think there's too much emphasis on the public side (document, publishing, sharing) of MindMapping. To me, it was always a first-pass and highly personal sort of tool. And I don't find looking at other people's mind maps to be particularly informative or useful. Probably because I likely don't think the way somebody else does. And, to SB's point, the chosen center point for the map may not match what I consider to be the center point when examining the same topic.

FWIW, most times I mind map (which I do rarely), I'll do it on a large piece of 1/4" graph paper with a gel ink pen. I don't bother with colors. I'm not creating a work of art. Just something to help my thinking process get something done.

If I feel the even rarer urge to "pretty it up," I'll do it in FreeMind or something similar. For me, a mind map is a somewhat specialized process that fits some projects very well (e.g. exhibition, kiosk, menu or website design) very well, but misses the boat for most others. I don't see it as a general enough tool for the things I do to put a lot of time or effort into mastering it beyond how I use it now.

There's a bunch of Thinkertoys out there. Beyond a pen and a blank sheet of paper, I haven't found anything that fits all use cases for ideation, project  planning, or info organizing. Not to say I haven't looked. But life is short and I have things to accomplish - so I abandoned the quest to find the perfect all-inclusive mind tool about 5 years ago. Now, I just use whatever I think fits best for what I'm up to.

Increasingly, pen and paper (or index card) seems to work best for what I do. YMMV. 8) :Thmbsup:

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2014, 01:02:24 PM »
There's a bunch of Thinkertoys out there. Beyond a pen and a blank sheet of paper, I haven't found anything that fits all use cases for ideation, project  planning, or info organizing. Not to say I haven't looked. But life is short and I have things to accomplish - so I abandoned the quest to find the perfect all-inclusive mind tool about 5 years ago. Now, I just use whatever I think fits best for what I'm up to.

Increasingly, pen and paper (or index card) seems to work best for what I do. YMMV. 8) :Thmbsup:

Yeah, for me too, the maps are def for personal use only, not to look pretty to publish.

Great shout out here about old school paper! When I go that route, I like a mechanical pencil to slowly fill in more and more info into a moderately complex chart, and then a blue pen becomes "bold".

I researched my tree system as the secondary replacement to stickies and index cards - I write those fast on the fly, then on various days I just type them up. My program allows you to "hide" stuff so on a good day I type up 20 of my notes and hide them, and it gets them off my desk.

But there's function issues floating around here too. I often run into the case when one main them I am working on gets mentally interrupted by secondary thoughts. So you have to put those somewhere else. So a good system needs to handle a bit of overflow.


superboyac

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2014, 01:14:19 PM »
There's a bunch of Thinkertoys out there. Beyond a pen and a blank sheet of paper, I haven't found anything that fits all use cases for ideation, project  planning, or info organizing. Not to say I haven't looked. But life is short and I have things to accomplish - so I abandoned the quest to find the perfect all-inclusive mind tool about 5 years ago. Now, I just use whatever I think fits best for what I'm up to.
yea...basically.  interestingly enough, i was enjoying drawing on the tablet so much that my new idea/note capturing tool may just end up being photoshop/clip studio...blank canvas, draw on it with a pen.  save.  it's kind of funny, but it may just end up being the winner.

ewemoa

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2014, 07:46:57 AM »
I haven't had much luck with feel, speed of response, and resolution on tablets so far.  Some day perhaps...

I've been using a small whiteboard for sketching things out and a camera to take pictures for later viewing :)

dr_andus

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2014, 09:21:31 AM »
I am looking for a way to diagram out my thoughts, and create relationships based on them or identify new trends or connections between various topics, for research I partake in as part of my graduate studies.

Actually those activities can be quite different, calling for different types of tools, especially as the amount of ideas (notes) grow.

- "diagram out my thoughts" - this can be done on paper, or on specialist hardware (I use Boogie Board Sync for small diagrams), or in non-hierarchical concept mappers (Scapple, VUE, CMapTools, Compendum etc.) or in hierarchical mind mappers (Freeplane etc.).

- "create relationships based on them" - drawing links is easy in concept mappers, a bit less easy in hierarchical mind mappers. A problem arises once we are talking about a large number of notes that can't be visualised on a single screen. Then we move onto:

- "identify new trends or connections between various topics" - which calls for specialist analytical tools. In the academic world there are the so-called CAQDAS applications, but they are clunky, expensive, and have very restrictive licences. For this kind of analysis I use the Navigator in ConnectedText, which is a tool for visualising the relationships between linked notes (where links express a relationship). The whole category of the so-called Zettelkasten tools fall under here as well, though probably not all of them have such visualisation tools.

wraith808

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2014, 03:03:45 PM »
Lately I've been using Gingko App - https://gingkoapp.com/app.  Free for 3 trees, but you can upgrade for unlimited trees.  It's a little bit different take on organization- not rightly a mind-map, but more of a mind-tree.

Two statements from the developer that show the aim of the application:
Quote
What goes in each column?
The principle is:
Left → Right = General → Specific.
There is no wrong way to use Gingko, and you can always drag things around later.
What can I use it for?
Short answer is: anything.
Use Gingko any time you want to write or organize something hard.

They have an introduction on youtube:



And a couple of articles:
http://www.makeuseof...e-the-way-you-write/
https://gingkoapp.com/p/future-of-text/

dr_andus

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2014, 04:47:58 PM »
It's a little bit different take on organization- not rightly a mind-map, but more of a mind-tree.

I'd say Gingko is closer to hierarchical tree-like mind-mappers (Freeplane etc.) than to non-hierarchical concept mappers like Scapple, VUE or CmapTools (which are not tree-based), as Gingko is a fairly strict implementation of a left-to-right-and-down tree hierarchy (and in that sense even more restrictive than traditional mind-mappers, where you could choose to have the tree branch off in any direction (left, or right, up or down, or in a circle)).

I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I love Gingko, but I'd consider it as more of an outliner for structured development and writing than a "draw anything in any direction and connect them in whatever way you like" type brainstorming tools (like concept mappers a la Scapple, VUE etc. are).
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 04:54:58 PM by dr_andus »

dr_andus

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2014, 05:15:19 PM »
Again, I seem to have a personal confusion regarding the definition of mind map.  What is that?  A brainstorm?  It seems to imply a center, that's all i know.  the Brain is probably the most "mind map" thing I've found in the way it presents information (similar to how we think through connections).  But scapple is the same with a more simple format.  I like it better in that I can place things on the screen as i please, I don't have to fiddle around with the Brain's weird 3D space-universe.

mind map, brainstorm, flowchart, outline.  :stars:

I think the confusion is mainly due to the developers in this segment of the software industry never agreeing on a sensible nomenclature and then sticking to it. For example if you say "word processor," "browser", "outliner", users have a clearer idea what type of tools those are.

But to call a spatially distributed version of a hierarchical outline a "mind map" was a mistake, as it is not really a map of a mind, and there is no reason to associate the map of a mind with a hierarchical structure that starts from a central node. It was just a catchy name for marketing purposes but it confused the industry and users for good.

"Concept mapping software" for the likes of Scapple, VUE, CmapTools is a more accurate name because it makes no grandiose claims about mapping your mind. It just shows relationships between various concepts, which can refer to anything in the world, not just to one's mind...

I would put the Brain in an entirely different category as a "visual wiki" that could be used to create an external memory device, but then that's what any database or library is. The Brain just gives you a more visual way of experiencing and managing your library. So the Brain is more of a database for organising a lot of data for the long term, while I'd consider so-called "mind mappers" and concept mappers better suited to deal with single brainstorming, outlining or writing jobs.

Dormouse

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2014, 04:27:07 AM »
I quite liked the look of Gingko, but couldn't possibly use an app that relied on internet access.

I like VUE, Compendium etc, but don't often use them because they seem too much trouble. Agree with the idea that I want something quicker/rougher for my own use rather than prettification. Will probably end up buying Scapple, if only because of integration with Evernote Scrivener (and L&L's very reasonable pricing model :)).

I'm probably with Superboyac on this. I don't notice any of ewemoa's problems with my tablet (res 2560x1600, Octs core, 32GB) and can have infinite sheet size using Papyrus; though maybe I simply haven't developed his level of discrimination. And the good thing for me is that I am actually using it instead of playing about every now and again.

I will eventually have a look at Brain. So many comments saying it is different, but I haven't yet and it seems like a lot of work for 95% of the things I'd be wanting to do in idea visualisation.

From my point of view, a writing system has to be hierarchical because the final product will start at the beginning and proceed to an end (so could imagine using Gingko if weren't online). But information and ideas are rarely hierarchical even though they may have an apparent hierarchy through increasing detail/depth.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 05:20:28 AM by Dormouse, Reason: correct error »

ewemoa

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2014, 07:37:17 AM »
my tablet (res 2560x1600, Octs core, 32GB) and can have infinite sheet size using Papyrus;

Mmm, seems nice!

FWIW, a number of times that I've drawn these sorts of diagrams, I've felt that I run out of space -- and part of the point for me is to be able to take in stuff all at once.  Scrolling or paging is a big no-no for me.  Where's our full-featured VR gear? ;)

Dormouse

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2014, 07:59:23 AM »
FWIW, a number of times that I've drawn these sorts of diagrams, I've felt that I run out of space -- and part of the point for me is to be able to take in stuff all at once. 
Agreed. One of the first things I checked for each app was how big a virtual sheet could I have.
I find the zoom is good enough for me most of the time - I don't do really huge diagrams.
Also find that the quality of the stylus/digitiser is critical for the pen approach to be functional.

dr_andus

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2014, 09:30:57 AM »
I like VUE, Compendium etc, but don't often use them because they seem too much trouble. Agree with the idea that I want something quicker/rougher for my own use rather than prettification.

I think there are various degrees of needs and use cases between a) needing to draw a quick brainstorming sketch, for which paper and pen (or a digital version for hand-drawing) suffice, and b) drawing a complex conceptual map with 50+ nodes, consisting of various types of groupings and relationships between them, where it becomes very handy to be able to reposition the various groupings and colour them in as different, and then save and export the whole thing as an image that can be dropped into a notes database.

It's for these latter types of uses that I'd recommend VUE et al. for. This is not about prettification and presentation at all (for that I'd use SmartDraw). There is of course a trade-off between speed of hand-drawing and the ability to do multiple rearrangements for the purposes of analysis (for which I find VUE still pretty quick, e.g. by using the "fast prototyping" feature), but sometimes it's worth putting in the extra effort to get those added benefits.

wraith808

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2014, 11:13:37 AM »
Will probably end up buying Scapple, if only because of integration with Evernote

... what integration?  I looked it up after I saw your post, thinking I'd missed something.  I don't see anywhere that it integrates with Evernote...?

Dormouse

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2014, 01:13:07 PM »
Will probably end up buying Scapple, if only because of integration with Evernote

... what integration?  I looked it up after I saw your post, thinking I'd missed something.  I don't see anywhere that it integrates with Evernote...?

I might well be wrong, as I've only just had a quick look at it so far. I picked the comment up from this:-
There are also some free concept mappers out there, such as Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) (which I prefer) and CmapTools. Neither of these are hierarchical mind mappers, i.e. they do not force you to build a tree-like hierarchy. But they may not integrate with Scrivener as nicely as Scapple does, of course.

And any level of integration with Scrivener would be a plus for me.

wraith808

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2014, 02:07:14 PM »
Yes, it integrates with Scrivener... but I haven't seen an integration with Evernote. :(

40hz

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Re: Mind Mapping Software - What are the current top players now?
« Reply #24 on: October 16, 2014, 09:26:58 AM »
I haven't had much luck with feel, speed of response, and resolution on tablets so far.  Some day perhaps...

I've been using a small whiteboard for sketching things out and a camera to take pictures for later viewing :)

I've also found using PostIt notes in conjunction with a whiteboard to be very productive. Minimizes a lot of rewriting (and possibly losing something) if you want to rearrange the board down the road. I'll also tape photos, illustrations, graphics, etc. up there and mostly use the board to draw connecting lines or small notes. A lot easier than corkboard, pins and colored string. Let's you jot ideas and things when you're away from the board too. I keep a small notebook, a pen, and a block of PostIts on me at all times.

images.jpg

Note: really like the idea of photographing the board to make a 'copy.' Nice! :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 09:32:56 AM by 40hz »