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Harlan Hugh Gives the Scoop on Development of TheBrain 9
ihudak wrote: ...over-engineered...types of relations, types of thoughts, directions of the relations...value ... great searching capabilities ...

Here we go again (sigh).
It always marvels me how many people in this forum come to MindMapping, and forget / ignore the "Mapping" part.

If searching is all you need, why dontcha use a DB, or MS Access, or indeed Windows Index Service, to find your stuff ?

The PERFECT Brain Use Case - ZORK
after 5 years of Brain usage, I have finally found the use case it's ideally suited for :

mapping your way through ZORK !

(you can laugh).
I was backing up my old machine and discovered all my old apps, and realised that I never finished ZORK2 (which I haven't touched in 10+ years).

Since I refuse to use cheat sheets, here I go !

Feature Request : Export to GraphML
Hello Mr Harlan

To cut short the endless forum debates about stronger visualisation functions in TheBrain, I believe it would be beneficial to add the ability to export to GraphML format (I am aware that v8 could export to XML, but that was not quite as useful)

GML is a relatively common format in the dataviz field, supported by many packages, and would come in very handy for those who, like me, need to dig through our Brains visually.

Clearly, implementing more advanced visualisation functions directly in TheBrain is a huge development effort on top of what has already been done.
Just as clearly, such features are not needed by all the user base.

Exporting to GraphML is infinitely easier to implement, and would allow those with stronger visualisation needs to export our Brains & visualise in other packages.

TheBrain would lose none of its usefulness, because it's unbeatable in its drag'n'drop interactivity.

I'm sure you are familiar with GML :


I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject.
It seems like a relatively easy feature to implement.

Kind regards
How do you organize your thoughts when you have the same thought but different source?
Depends on your way of working :

- "Population" is a thought, everything related to it is in the Notes
- "Population" is a parent thought, everything related to it is a child thought

of course, if you have many thoughts referencing books, then you might be tempted to have a Thought "Books".

Personally, I tend to prefer a graphical approach - meaning everything is a thought.
I create two thoughts subtrees : DATA and METADATA, so I can crossreference correctly.
Thought categorisation in TheBrain is one my greatest impediments to using it in all my work.
A lot of time is required to plan your thought organization if you want to keep it crystal-clear.

Brain 9: no Expanded view???
Hello there

We're actually saying almost the same thing, each of us sitting on our own usage case.

Quote: drawing pretty pictures

This has gotta be the most minimalist description of the (very rich) Data Mining & Visualisation field that I've ever seen !

For a quick idea of what I mean (which is NOT drawing pretty pictures BTW), take a look at the (free) Cytoscape app.

Brain 9: no Expanded view???

I am for example interested in more search flexibility such as regular expressions, logic operators, sounds like searches, automatic ocr, etc. than more ways to tweek visual appearance.

Just about any modern database does this. TheBrain :
- is marketed as a mindmapping application, not a database
- like many apps, includes an internal database (a very good one) for its internal data structures

I am under the impression - as a user since v6 - that a lot of confusions user-side resides from this "database" aspect of TheBrain.
Reading through the forums we see so many people use it as such, claiming more & more admvanced reporting functions.

While this is one possible usage of TheBrain, it is STILL marketed as a mindmapping app. And in this respect, it DOES need more powerful data viewing.

my 2 cents

Virtual Thought feature request
Applause !

However, it has been asked / and replied, enough times to warrant forgetting the idea altogether.

I for one was a great fan as TheBrain as a directory / file browser.
Going beyond TheBrain, I am wondering why, with so any apps of all kinds out there, file browsers are still as boring as they are.

There was very promising projet 10 years ago that died in its infancy (I guess its developer moved on to other stuff without leaving trace) :


I still use the java binaries - klunky as they are - to this day, to navigate my folders ... (dinosaurs, hey )

English is not my native language, but that's not an excuse. Excessive multitasking and reading forums in between meetings was the real cause of my too hasty, and truly rude, response.
My sincerest apologies Mr Updike.

Kind regards
Hello Mr Updike sorry I missed your post.

Does the term "data visualisation" mean nothing to you ?

Here is a powerful (free, Java ;-) ) application example :


there are hundreds of apps, of course.
"Search" and "Reports" are quintessentially database concepts. Like I said, TheBrain has a definite database slant, rather than a visualisation slant.
Except that, while there are zillions of DBs, there are darn few visualisation AND "true" mindmapping apps (any-to-any, non hyerarchical).

Note that Cytoscape has many 3rd party plugins, many of which specifically apply statistical techniques to find significant clusters / chunks of data. I would love TheBrain to do this for us. Right now I find it chronically short of its potential.

kind regards
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, #4333)

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, #4333)
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.

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