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Mindmap / Expanded view options (#3633)
As a long-time advocate of a "shortest path between thoughts", I have just stumbled across this demo.
I have known about yED for a few years, and use it occasionally.
This is the (interactive & clickable) demo of its bigger brother yFiles :


And for the lazier among you, the proverbial picture @ 1000 words :


  I am persuaded that this way of viewing our data would boost TheBrain's usefuleness way beyond the current reporting function, putting it squarely in the mapping app domain where it belongs.

Gotta love your Quote: [crazy]  !

Hello there

A tongue-in-cheek provocation like this deserves an answer !

What brought me to mindpapping applications in general was FLEEING "standard" applications.
Let me explain :

- to handle text, you use a wordprocessor
- to handle numbers, you use a spreadsheet
- to handle photos, etcetera
- project management ...
- calendar ...

hence entire categories of specialised applications which, of necessity, force you to format your data to their data model.

I needed an application where I could :
1. "dump" any "idea" (whatever its data type)
2. link any "idea" to any other, non hierarchically
3. view the whole "landscape" as it evolved

I immediately liked TheBrain because of it's handling of points 1 and 2
Where is lacks, in my opinion, and to this day, it's in point 3.

MindMapping cannot just be a database - we have zillions of databases. The "mapping" part is fundamental.
A zoomable view of the map (from tree to entire forest) is fundamental.
  • TheBrain's Expanded view was a step in this direction
  • v9's mindmap view is honestly of little use
Timeline is one of the necessary views, for anyone whose data contains time info.
  • NB : TIMELINE, NOT CALENDAR - calendar is as useless in a mindmapping app, as it is in a project management app, where you need a Gantt chart, NOT a calendar

( aside #1 : the non-hierarchical is fundamental for me : brains associate any-to-any concepts on the fly, without need for categorisation )
( aside #2 : this criterion alone disqualifies - to me - all mindmapping apps which shoehorn you )

All this to say that, in my purist view, I agree with your remark that it is The Mind we need to map !

What is the Timeline for?
mrsandbags wrote:
Can someone enlighten me as to the intended use case(s) for the Timeline feature?

Hello Matt. I can *try*

AFAIK, the INTENDED use case, as you well specify, is this :

Version 9.0.149

February 8, 2017

  • New Features
    • (#3435) Timeline and Events
      • The timeline displays events that may be associated with thoughts and links.

The recent debate on the other thread is less about the timeline, and more about the nature of events and their relationship to thoughts.

Personally, since time is often an important attribute of data, I do want some form timeline view.
It should complement, not replace, a zoomable map view of the mindmap data

my 2cents
Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)

Quote: It is purpose built for TheBrain and in my opinion far surpasses other calendar/time UIs in its ability to interactively present time information in a small amount of screen space.

Having tried dozens of timeline apps, I give you full marks on this one.

Also, hats off for taking in our extensive user input - it's a rare thing these days.

kind regards

Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)
Kriggel23 wrote:
If TB would offer "date thoughts", it could be that easy. Just select a thought with date information, and tell TB: "this is a date thought". That's all. [Just imagine this function, using the selection list!]

A thought can stand for anything - a book, a letter, a date, a person, a company, an event.
When I use TB, my focus is mainly on the plex. Second priority are the notes, third the attachments.

I admit that I think along the same lines ("date" being an attribute, or a type, of thought).

But to me the timeline still has its high value as one of the data visualisations TheBrain must offer.

Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)
Hello Doctor

DrBop wrote:
Am I missing, mis-stating, or misunderstanding something?


Insofar as you are saying the same thing as me, I gotta say : NO ! you got it all right !

Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)
Harlan wrote: does anyone know of a calendar/time management software that lets you view more than 1 year at time? How about more than 2 months at a time?
...  it's a matter of priorities ...


I agree : I was talking from *WITHIN* the timeline function. Expanded view is far more important IMHO.

As for other timeline SW :


kind regards
Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)
Hello Harlan. Re :

Harlan wrote:


You can zoom out to view a decade or so at a time, but events will not be shown. The reason why events do not appear once you zoom out much beyond a year is for performance. Imagine you have a calendar with 4 or 5 events per day. Now zoom out to 5 years. That's about 8,000 events that have to be cached, calculated and rendered, which would cause the performance to slow to a crawl. Quite a lot of work has been put into the timeline to make to perform smoothly with many optimizations that won't work if there is not some limit to when events appear and disappear.

Moltaire, Sorry but BC dates will not be supported as doing so would require extensive changes to the backend. If you really want to do something like that, you could offset all dates by a few thousand years. The year range supported is approximately 0100 to 9900.

Your argument is rock-solid, but the current choice penalises "long" events in favour of "short" ones.
Would it make a difference (in terms of computing performance required AND in development time) to have TB decide to show only events whose duration is a given % of the zoom level ?

kind regards
Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)
zenrain wrote:

... metathoughts...

Hello zenrain

in the simplest form, there are "object" which have attributes.

"Apple" is "type=fruit" "colour=red" "taste=sweet" etcaetera.
"book" "title=xy" "author="yz" "read_start=yz" "read_end=zz" etc

it's attributes and containerization which is not cleanly handled (by historical design choice) by TheBrain.
Anything can be an object (or thought, in Brain slang) so anything is.
At one point, the decision must have been made to treat dates as a different object with a different subsystem (calendar), rather than as an attribute of objects/thoughts. Hence today's two-horned dilemma :

- some people use TheBrain as calendar, and are confortable with dates as is
- come people use TheBrain as an object-mapping-tracking app, and dates-as-different-object-type is problematic


Timeline and Events (#3481, #3611, #3618, #3636)
(I forget who) wrote: I do like the horizontal scrolling timeline. However I would much prefer (I think) for events to be thoughts, than for thoughts to have events attached to them. The former seems to me to give far more flexibility for integrating events into the plex and liking them to/from other thoughts. Thoughts with dates set could then be referenced very conveniently via the timeline.

It seems I missed out the last 2 weeks of this thread. Information overload no doubt !

I will not go as far as saying the current timeline is no use - I think it's very good, graphically.

But as I've said before, I also prefer the idea of "DATES" being an attribute of thoughts (either intrinsic - creation date, or extrinsic - its name or tag or type), rather than the additional object type "event".

I understand that this is the historical integration with the calendar function. I also appreciate Harlan's remark on "timeline cluttering" if viewed only by though creation date.

Brain 9: no Expanded view???
Mr Thompson & Mcaton,

I - and many people in this forum I suspect - are from the IT world, and fully appreciate what porting an application to a new platform means.
When I make functional comments, I am in no way minimising the amount of effort put by your development. Indeed I appreciate it.

On the other hand, don't forget that, as always in software, what counts ultimately is "user perception", which is a mix of functionality and marketing. I can't help you with marketing. This thread (& forums) contribute our opinions on functionality.

kind regards
Brain 9: no Expanded view???
AmbidexterMan wrote: ...dis-benefits...

Disadvantages ... !


Brain 9: no Expanded view???
Polaris wrote: ... we're already spoiled with plenty of excellent mindmappers ...

Hello. It's my turn to disagree (albeit partially).
I arrived at TheBrain after years of sieving sand for the "perfect" mindmapping application. Which, in my opinion, to this day, does not exist.

What we have are zillions of MANUAL DRAWING tools.
TheBrain is unique in one thing :

- you dump almost any data into it
- IT draws the map

The problem is that :
- its drawing (the views) fall far short of functionality, and
- its presentation (the looks) falls far short of modern user interface expectations.

Personally, I don't want to draw anything.
I need an app where  :

- I put data
- I link it
- IT shows me the big picture
- IT finds any uncommon links

We have zillions of flowcharting tools, of project management tools, of FAKE mindmapping tools.
TheBrain is A FEW STEPS AWAY from becoming the strongest MindMapping application out there.
But it's GOT to dramatically increase its viewing capabilities, or it dies.

Brain 9: no Expanded view???
leolit wrote:
...MindMap view... can't replace freeform Expanded view ...
... For me, "normal" mode is good at information input stage ... after ... I move to contemplation stage ...

funny, I could have written these words myself, except that I found the Expanded view klunky BECAUSE it was manual.
I think we agree that TheBrain still has some way to go in terms of VIEWING information, despite the new Mindmap and Timeline views.
Expanded was very useful, but could not possibly be manual beyond a couple of dozen nodes.

I have been claiming for a long time for :
  • an automatic view between two specified thoughts
  • a view (mindmap or not) that is zoomable

But we'll obviously have to wait. My long-time feeling is that there is a development slant in favour of data-input and indexing/searching, and not enough in data viewing.
It is a dealbreaker for me too, if things stay this way.


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