Harlan
This thread is to discuss the next version of TheBrain. In response to your questions, I posted earlier:

Harlan wrote:
Our engineering team has indeed been hard at work on a new version of TheBrain. The entire platform has been rewritten from the ground up, enabling the development of a new foundation that will serve as the basis for the next generation of TheBrain technology. Since so much is changing, we can’t release it one piece at a time… We will be releasing a completely new version on every platform all at once (Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and the Web).

The new architecture is dramatically faster and more reliable. While Java has served us well as a base to date, we are leaving Java behind and moving to native code on every platform. This provides benefits across the board including more efficient operation in terms of speed, CPU usage, memory management, and more. Also as part of this change, the storage backend has been made even more robust (this includes the database, file system, and synchronization engine).

There are of course many many other improvements and changes. In short, this is the most ambitious version of TheBrain ever. We have the most talented team of engineers and designers we’ve ever had and the result is an application and platform that goes beyond my expectations. (Hopefully their egos won’t get too big reading this!) I am truly proud of what we’ve done so far, unfortunately we’re just not quite done yet and aren't close enough to be able to provide a timeline for release.


This has generated a large amount of interest and questions and we will try to address them as best we can here.

Thanks for your ongoing enthusiasm and support!
Regards,
-Harlan
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Harlan
In response to the new version no longer using Java, Peter93 wrote:

Peter93 wrote: Thanks for the good news, Harlan! I am really excited about the new version, I highly appreciate the shift to native code for each platform. When I think about all the times my JRE ate up most of my CPU usage or crashed for no reason, I'm very glad you made this step. Now if you also hired a great UX designer to redo the interface, the product will be a huge success!

Thanks Peter. Yes, not using Java makes the new version of TheBrain much more stable and OS-friendly.

In fact, the UI has likewise been overhauled. The core visual interface technology of the plex is unchanged, but is smoother and more responsive. The rest of the UI has been modernized and redesigned. The focus of the new design is on clarity and transparency. User interface elements such as buttons, icons and dialog boxes are kept to a minimum, appearing only when needed. This allows your thoughts, links, and content to take center stage.

The UI also benefits from being a native application on every platform. It provides a much more consistent experience between TheBrain and other applications. Every button, text box, and window just feels more “right”.
Regards,
-Harlan
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HeinrichUnger
Hi Harlan,

thank you for starting this topic.

Heinrich
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Spacenexus
Harlan and team

This is truly extraordinary stuff! Wishing all the best for continued solid development on v9 and thanks for making additional time to provide us with some juicy updates in the meantime. Very appreciated and thoughtful, on top of the workload itself.

Jim
TB8021 32bit
Java 32bit Version 8 Update 66
IE10 32bit Office 2013 Pro Plus 32bit
64bit Primary Access Win10Pro
64bit Laptop, 8GB RAM, Intel Core i7 Narrowpuddle
Brain user since zygote
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enkidu
Mr Harlan

thanks again for the "interactive roadmap" mode of communication - it's reassuring as it allows forward-planning. Applications are always an investment in time & effort.

I am not going to speculate on Java, as it's a sterile debate.

I would like, however, to reiterate some points that have been vented elsewhere.
I also realise that I am going against the current of most posts in the forum.

However, as an IT specialist who has been around from Lotus 1-2-3 on DOS 3.0 to current internal-use-only Java-based big-data mining applications, I have my firm opinions on software usability.

One of the issues with TheBrain IS NOT getting data into it - that's easy enough.
It's WHAT TO DO with the data once it's inside. And, accessorily, how to get it out.

- within the UI :
 the plex is slick, but less than useful :
 - to FIND data, one has to search (clicking one's was around the plex does nothing truly useful)
 - to VIEW the data, one has to build the views manually
(the search functions are powerful & amply sufficient for most needs)

- when exporting, the formats are less than current :
 - no CSV
 - no powerpoint
 - HTML dysfunctional to the point of uselessness


I have found it simply impossible to get a single colleague to adopt TheBrain, and each member of my team uses a mindmapping application, with most clustering around xmind and freemind.

If TheBrain is to take off, it has to be USEFUL before it is PERFORMING.
And the data has to be easily cut&paste into presentations, and shown off ("hey enkidu, howd'ya do that slick graphic thing ...?")

I feel that TheBrain is a step away from being a strong mind-mapping application (and we know there is still a huge need for that, despite the hundreds of apps).
To become that, it needs to be less of an all-encompassing database (the OSes themselves have solid search engines) and have more data-visualisation functions.


I have personally been searching for the "ideal" mindmapping app for more than a decade, and would love to see TheBrain take off.

kind regards
enkidu
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sibleyd
I have been through all the mind maps including free mind, free plane, mind manager, and xmind.
I have been through a number of outliner programs most recently right note.

What makes TheBrain the winner is its raw power. I have loaded brains when innumerable attachments and notes. It doesn't slow down and  it has no relevant limits. It is truly powerful.
It is also extremely flexible.
I appreciate it being made faster and more powerful, but I have never found either speed nor power to be a problem.

I think the User Interface is good and functional but it is not consistent with current standards. It would be good to be more like other modern applications.
This is not that important to me but I feel it is probably important to potential new users who will find the current user interface unfamiliar.

There are a long laundry lists of improvements possible of course most particularly better "comma trick." It not only should work with existing thoughts but it should adjust itself. When the parent thought is modified then the "comma thought" should automatically modify itself also.

It would be good if separate brains were better integrated. I know I can copy a brain url and paste it in another brain, but I think it would be good if I could link the brains with a dialogue box where I go to the point in the other brain I want and then merely click "link" or some similar button. I think it would also be good if I could search more than one brain in one operation.

I am not going to attempt to list all the miscellaneous improvements that would be good but instead would mention what I consider a "game changers" which would really make the program go to a new level.

Although EverNote is clearly inferior in terms of organization ability, it has one really superior feature that it would be really cool if TheBrain did.  EverNote does OCR on a wide variety of image formats including pdf automatically.  It would be really, really cool if the Brain did this. Of course, there are various ways to OCR documents put into the brain, and I assume it could be done batch without messing the Brain up (have the OCR program find every PDF file in the Brain for example and OCR it). But, it would be really cool if the Brain took care of this automatically so one could be confident of finding not only all text in the brain but all text in images. I would pay extra for this feature if it was made an extra charge.

Of course, all Software can be enhanced and improved. I cannot emphasize enough that I consider the Brain to be first rate. I am not at all concerned about making Brain a presentation tool. For me, it is a tool to keep my information organized and quickly accessible, and that is the prime function of computers (communications including presentations is secondary in my view).





 
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enkidu
Hello Sibleyd


allow me to bounce back and clarify. Regarding this :

Quote: I am not at all concerned about making Brain a presentation tool. For me, it is a tool to keep my information organized and quickly accessible, and that is the prime function of computers (communications including presentations is secondary in my view).

This is what makes an application either a "personal productivity" niche product, or a widespread-worldwide star. For the moment, TheBrain is still the former : lots of individual enthusiasts.

I have NOT been able to use TheBrain as anything other than a highly personal thing.
I have invested entire man-days of my own time to modelise some of my work projects into a Brain, only to realise that I had to spend hours every week to maintain them, for the only benefit of myself.
So, I simply had to stop using TheBrain at work.

I understand there is the Cloud / WebBrain option, and no, I haven't had the opportunity to use it.
But I would love TheBrain to become as useful as a MS Office application like Excel or Visio, and for this, it needs a higher degree of data export to formats people use daily.

To reiterate :

  • indexing my data ? Heck, every OS has been doing this for years.
  • importing my data into a database ? What for ?! it's already on disk and indexed
  • VIEWING my data, local or remote, through a graphical, clickable network-diagram which auto-creates views between any given data points, and EXPORT views to something I can share immediately ? THAT is what TheBrain could really shine.         (And I believe the effort, in terms of development, is much less than a rewrite from Java to native).



kind regards to all
enkidu

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zenrain
Hi Endiku, 

Your posts are interesting, and highlight your opinion on how you would like TheBrain to evolve for your and your colleagues usage. However. I'm not clear on what your questions are (this post was created for questions and comments about the next update). 

I believe you are wondering the upcoming version of TheBrain will have:
  • Improved export capabilities - It sounds like you are most interested in HTML and Microsoft Office formats? 
  • Improved visualization capabilities, although I'm not clear on if you are looking for better mind map visualization (expanded view), or new ones
  • Automated linking - It sounds like you are hoping for TheBrain to automatically create links between thoughts for you? 
Is this correct?
macOS 10.12.4
TheBrain 9.0.162
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enkidu
Hi zenrain,

long time no speak.

I am trying (but obviously failing) to give an extremely succint list of usability improvements to make TheBrain more useful to a much wider user base - ultimately guaranteeing the products durability, hence justifying our investment in it ;-)

  • Improved export capabilities - It sounds like you are most interested in HTML and Microsoft Office formats? 
well, HTML export was taunted as part of the PRO version since v6, but was always dysfunctional.
If you want to quickly show a chunk of your Brain to a friend or a colleague, how do you go about it ?
OK, I know your answer : you point their browser to your webbrain. But that does not cover every user case. In the workplace, 99% of the data is a file you create and send to some other bloke.
Are you going to send next month's planning to your boss as an XML file ? Come on !

  • Improved visualization capabilities, although I'm not clear on if you are looking for better mind map visualization (expanded view), or new ones
- better zooming in/out. Right now, be your brain a 3-thought or 3000, you see pretty much the same thing. How are you supposed to "see" your data  in a new way ? With the Wander function ?

  • Automated linking - It sounds like you are hoping for TheBrain to automatically create links between thoughts for you ?

Not at all. But I EXPECT it do create the views for me. Right now, if you want to show the paths between 2 thoughts, you gotta manually click like crazy to layout each & every intermediate thought.
You GOTTA be able to specify :
-thought A, though B
- click
- here comes a view of both, with all the paths linking them, (shortest path highlighted)

I mean, TheBrain KNOWS the paths, we give them  to it when we enter thoughts !!!


et caetera ...

gotta go

cheers
enkidu

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zenrain
Ah, thanks for clarifying Endiku. I can see the value in each of those. 
macOS 10.12.4
TheBrain 9.0.162
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Shuhart75
enkidu wrote: Hi zenrain,

long time no speak.

I am trying (but obviously failing) to give an extremely succint list of usability improvements to make TheBrain more useful to a much wider user base - ultimately guaranteeing the products durability, hence justifying our investment in it ;-)


enkidu you're right. That's why I quit using theBrain since the 8th version.

Your observations are correct and right to the point. Cheers!

P.S. I still love TheBrain concept and I'm looking forward for the new beta. [smile]
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glientsc
Thank you, Harlan, for giving this very positive update! Patiently looking forward to what is to come. [smile]
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mcaton
Thank you all for the feedback and the extended input on desired improvements for enhanced exporting and visualization!  I've documented your requests.

Thank you,
Matt
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HeinrichUnger
Hi Harlan, Hi Matt,

could you give us a weekly update? You may tell us about ongoing work, thinking about new Features, Problems with different OS, .....

So we will get the feeling "something" is going on.

BR
Heinrich
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Harlan
Thanks for your feedback everyone. We have been developing this version for quite a long time already and have already integrated a lot of suggestions from you. In fact, your input has been a key driver of fundamental functional improvements.

While I don't want to go into too much detail, here are a few highlights.

Tabbed Interface
Much like a web browser, a tabbed interface allows opening multiple views of a single brain and/or multiple distinct brains at once. Tabs can be split into separate windows as well as merged together via drag and drop. This enables side by side and/or instantly switching between views. Each tab functions as a fully-fledged Brain interface, with pins, attachments, notes, etc.

Embedded Web Browser
The embedded Web browser allows viewing web attachments directly inside TheBrain without the need to open a separate browser window. This is very convenient and makes presenting content in TheBrain much easier and more streamlined. Similarly, attachments like images and PDFs can be viewed in an embedded area without the need to open them into a separate application. Of course, the option to open attachments into separate applications remains as always.

Streamlined Notes Editor
The new notes editor is simple and unobtrusive. Like everything else, it is completely rewritten. Rather than focusing on features and capabilities, the new notes editor does its best to stay out of the way and just behave as you expect. One of my personal favorite features is how the formatting toolbar disappears when you are just viewing notes and automatically appears when you begin editing. Also, it is much more responsive and just feels right as you type into it.

That's it for now. I'll try to keep up with this thread and chime in when I can.
Regards,
-Harlan
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