rhodes

1) It seems completely illogical that clicking a thought in Expanded view (EV) always expands it to the first generation. This means that if I simply want to edit a thought's note in EV and it happens to be collapsed but also happens to have 50 children, I don't dare click it in case I unleash a shower of thoughts all over the plex. I have to return to normal view, follow the link to it and edit it there. Obviously we can read a note in EV by hovering over it, but can't edit it.

Why can't we have the option to simply click a thought in EV without expanding it? This is an example of why things that work well in Normal view don't necessarily work well in EV, and vice versa.

2) It is also illogical to me that the active thought in EV never has a collapse tab. I can't collapse its thoughts without making another thought in EV active first. This of course activates its first generation. Unless I can find and activate a thought in the plex with no first-gen thoughts, my chances of collapsing any thoughts in the current EV are zilch.

Both of these annoyances make me extremely angry and frustrated when attempting to work with EV. If they are fixed it would help a great deal.

There are a lot of other things I dislike about EV, including:

- Thoughts in EV have no context menu options to anchor or release all their first-generation at once. Each one has to be anchored by dragging it or released by clicking its tab, wasting a lot of time.

- There is no dialog box for selecting an expanded view by typing in a name or number; it all has to be done by mousing down a long list, which limits the useful number of saved EVs that can be managed.

- Saved EV files can't be opened from their corresponding active thought in normal view. We should be able to attach a shortcut to a saved EV as an attachment to a thought, or something similar.

- Undo won't restore thoughts that were accidentally expanded, or restore previous (unsaved) positions of thoughts in EV.

etc. However, I can live with these minor problems (after a fashion).


Alan Rhodes
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Ervinn

I agree. I am not using EV much, may be because of those reasons you mentioned. 

I don't like when Flex changing too much even in Standard mode.

 

I think they should separate and have two user action. One is to activate a Thought. That is the Thought is moved to the center, and Thought links are changing.

The other action is to Highlight a Thought for editing. Even if the Thought is not active, I'd like to edit it.

Similar to your example, when you activate a Thought having lot of children, I'd like to be able to Highlight Children from one to the other one by one and edit them, without changing the Flex at all.

 

Do you agree?

I thought out the different mouse action, also. One could be the simple left click. The other is left click and hold it for one or two seconds.

When you do a fast click the Thought is Highlighted, but stays on the Flex. With a slow click, the Thought is Highlighted and also Activated.






 
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rhodes

Ervinn, thanks for your support in this. I guess by Flex you mean Plex. 

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I think they should separate and have two user action. One is to activate a Thought. That is the Thought is moved to the center, and Thought links are changing. The other action is to Highlight a Thought for editing.

Yes, that sums it up, though my Preference is not to Automatically recenter on activating a thought. I dislike all the shuffling around that occurs when this option is checked. When I activate a thought in EV I want the rest of the plex to stay put.

Talking of preferences, the other EV option Collapse on activate is misleading. To me, "collapse" means fully collapsed. Instead of this, collapse here means collapse down to the first generation only, so in actual fact, even with this option checked, activating a fully collapsed thought in EV causes it to expand to the first generation, something you would not want to try with a thought that might have a hundred thoughts hanging off it. Even with only a few first generation thoughts, activating one can be very disorienting. Added to this, we really have no way of knowing when looking at a fully collapsed thought how many children/parents/jumps are hanging off any gate - all we can tell is that the gate is empty (hollow dot) or has more than one attached thought (solid dot). So clicking it could be a disaster.

I agree with you that we should be able to activate/edit any thought in EV without disturbing the plex at all. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is always keep every thought in the EV fully expanded. But what happens at the outer ends of the plex? 

There are only two answers to this:

1) Fully expand the whole Brain! Imagine the memory and CPU cycles required to maintain this display, not to mention the messy background criss-crossing of links connecting distant thoughts. No.

2) Unlink the thoughts at the extremes of an EV from any thoughts not in the EV. This creates problems, of course. These "terminal" thoughts cannot be allowed to have parents or jumps if at the top of the EV; if at the bottom, children or jumps, etc. This is where EV differs from Normal view; the same terminal thoughts would have normal first generation thoughts attached. This is how PB's patented design has worked from the start; the price paid is a more restricted view.

I guess one could create two thoughts with the same name in each terminal case. The one used in the EV would be attached only to other thoughts in that view, as described above; its namesake used only in Normal View, with its normal parents/children/jumps. They would be mutually connected by hyperlinks in their Notes. Not elegant, but a workaround for this problem - which I can't be bothered setting up.

The cure for this is, as we both agree, that clicking any thought in an EV should neither expand nor collapse it - that's what its tabs are for, and unfortunately even the collapse tab is denied us when the thought is active. (Now I think of it, that's probably why - to be consistent with the design philosophy of not collapsing the active thought below its first generation!) So, as a corollary, the active thought should have a collapse tab enabling it to be collapsed completely.

One of my reasons for unchecking Automatically recenter is that I prefer not to have to drag the Plex at all to view all parts of it! So instead of having one huge EV and dragging the background around, I prefer a number of smaller saved EVs. The only problem is that there's no easy way to link them. We can't just click the thought at the top/bottom/L/R side and get switched to another saved EV (another suggestion). This would be analogous to being told which map to continue to in a street directory.

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I thought out the different mouse action, also. One could be the simple left click. The other is left click and hold it for one or two seconds. When you do a fast click the Thought is Highlighted, but stays on the Flex. With a slow click, the Thought is Highlighted and also Activated.

I'm not sure what you mean by Highlighting and Activation here, though I reason that Highlighting means making it active (e.g., for editing its note or properties) though without expansion/collapse and Activation means activation plus first-level expansion. In both cases automatic centering would also take place if this preference was enabled. At least, that's what I'd like to see happen.

Yes, a "slow click" might be a good solution. Windows users can see this in action in Windows Explorer, where holding the left mouse button depressed while hovering over a filename in Windows Explorer opens the name editor after a second or so if this option is set (at least, in XP). If this is difficult to achieve in Java, an alternative would be Shift+Click - its current function of selecting all thoughts leading back to the active thought isn't all that useful (to me), so maybe its action could be toggled between these functions. There would be no delay as in slow click, which could prove annoying; however the penalty is that both hands are required (just like activating a hyperlink in Notes!).

Maybe the best solution here is again to offer the OPTION of using one method or the other. A slightly steeper learning curve is a small price to pay for options that take the irritation out of working with an application.

Alan Rhodes
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Ervinn

Wow rhodes, that is a nice reply, thanks.

Although, I can not comment on the EV related comments as I am not using EV.

My suggestion was for Standard mode and not for EV, but it may be applicable for EV as well, I don't know.

 

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 I agree with you that we should be able to activate/edit any thought in EV without disturbing the plex at all. 

I never meant any Thought. I meant all visible Thought on the Plex. And I meant edit the Thought without activate it, that is without moving it to the center.

 

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I'm not sure what you mean by Highlighting and Activation here, though I reason that Highlighting means making it active  

No, Highlighting makes it semi-active. What it means is (in Standard mode) that the clicked Thought stays as it was clicked and do not move to the center, but highlighted and it’s Note and attachments can be changed.

 

In Standard mode if you want to change a Thought, the Thought must be moved to the center, and by doing this the whole Plex structure changes and Thought are moved around.

Many times I identify a Thought by its location on the Plex. But if the Plex changes, I have to look for my Thought again or search for it again.

 

For example, let say you have a Thought called girlfriends, and that Thought have 50 children. When I activate the girlfriend Thought, it moved to the center and the all children girlfriend Thoughts are visible. I know that Susan is in the first column, and Kate is on the third column, and Jacky is in the last.

If I want to add a note for Susan, Kate, and Jacky, I visually know where they are, so it would be much easier just highlight Susan, edit her Notes and move to Kate, edit her Note and so on. Changing the Plex just hinders my effort. Because now without the highlighting feature, I have to activate Susan, meaning Susan is moved to the center. Kate and Jacky Thoughts are moved around in the Plex, so I have to look for Kate on the Plex move her to the center and so on.

Sorry, I posted about Standard mode here, when your original post was about EV. Is that applicable what I said to EV?

 
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jostber
I have experienced the same issues with Expanded view and that limits my use of it. We need more control of how thoughts expand to be able to use it for mind-mapping and related purposes.



TheBrain 8.0.2.2 Slackware 14.2 KDE 4.10.3 Java 1.8 / (Windows 7)
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rhodes

Thanks jostber!

Ervinn, sorry I did not realize you were referring to Normal view ( = Standard view), since my thread was about Expanded view. NVM.

Although I'm not using v6, I notice that in v6.0.3.7 Harlan said:

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This release includes the ability to open multiple notes windows at a time.

This implies that one may be able to edit the note of a thought without activating it, which would fix your problem. I'm not sure whether one can do this without activating the thought too. Maybe some 6.0 user can tell us.

http://forums.thebrain.com/post?id=4857456

Alan Rhodes
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Ervinn

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This implies that one may be able to edit the note of a thought without activating it, which would fix your problem. I'm not sure whether one can do this without activating the thought too. Maybe some 6.0 user can tell us. 

 

Yes, in PB V6 beta 6.0, you can right click on the Thought anywhere on the Plex and Select "Open Notes Window". A separate window will be open for the Notes. I tried in Normal View only because I have the PB free version that does not include EV.

This is a working solution to my problem, even if this requires some extra clicks. Thanks. One more reason to upgrade to PB 6.0, when it becomes available.



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rhodes

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you can right click on the Thought anywhere on the Plex and Select "Open Notes Window".

Well, that's nice to know. It probably also applies to EV, since Harlan didn't say anything to the contrary.

That changes the nature of the issues I initially raised, though it still doesn't absolve the developers from the need to add a Collapse tab to the active Thought. 

I wanted to be able to drag thoughts to change their positions in EV and also to be able to edit their notes without triggering a cascade of child thoughts, so here is a workaround:

1) For every EV, create at least one dummy "terminal" or "terminating" thought - let's give it the name it zO so that the z helps it sink to the bottom of Instant Search results or Reports, out of the way. If your EV fits comfortably on one screen without scrolling, you only need one zO; attach it to the principal thought in your EV so you know where to find it. If your EV is so large that scrolling is required to get from one end to the other, position a zO at each end. Better still, if you're not afraid of orphans, make each zO an orphan instead of attaching it, so there's no risk of it disappearing when you collapse the thought to which it's attached. Assign it a particular type with its own color or icon so that you know what it's there for.

2) For every other thought in your EV, make sure it hasn't got more than a few children if it is collapsed. If it has a lot of children and you will need to activate it frequently (say, to edit its Note in v5.5 or to read off its GUID), run an intermediate thought off it named Children and hang its kids off that. Left-click the parent thought to activate it and position its first-gen thoughts artistically around it till it looks nice. Then leave it at that. Having an intermediate thought renders this design useless in Normal view unless you click Expand All, but remember we're designing here for EV, not Normal view.

3) Create your EV now, positioning its thoughts where you want them, with each thought expanded at least to its first generation (using intermediate thoughts to hide unnecessary children, etc.). Activate the top zO. Now Save it.

4) If you need to edit a Note and are using v5.5, you have no option but to left-click that thought and activate it (hence the need to be happy with your first-gen layout). However, if you are using v6.0, you can R-click any thought and open its note in a new window from the context menu. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, needing to open the context menu costs you an extra click and means you can't just left-click the thought and get on with editing its note; but on the other, you don't need all thoughts to be expanded to their first generation and can now copy and paste between two or more open Notes windows. Since this also removes the need for intermediate thoughts, the pros outweigh the cons, as long as you remember each time to Right-click and not to Left-click it!

5) If you need to reposition a thought, get into the habit of dragging it using the RMB (Right Mouse Button), not the left. This does not activate/expand it. zO remains the active Thought (seems strange, doesn't it?). Another great undocumented secret is that if you hold down the RMB when you right-click and drag it before releasing the RMB, this will not open the context menu.

6) If you need to collapse one of your central thoughts, activate zO if it is not already active, so that the collapse tab now appears on the thought you wish to collapse!

Alan Rhodes
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HanBav

Yes, you may open notes windows by rightclicking any thought in EV without activating it

... Furthermore I think TheBrain is unique
regards Hannes from Bavaria
Brain Junky V6.x Pro / WebBrain / V7 Beta /
Win 7 Prof 64 & 32, MS Office 2010 & Outlook & Firefox & IE
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PatrickW
Personally, I gave up using Expanded Views.
The idea is great, the potential is huge, but the present implementation gives me much more disadvantages than advantages.

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