Tinderbox Forum

A tutorial for Tinderbox in Tinderbox

When I started learning Tinderbox earlier this week, I took notes about Tinderbox in a Tinderbox document.

So I got curious: maybe it’s possible to create a Tutorial for Tinderbox in Tinderbox? After all, its a tool for mapping complex space, for explaining how things work.

I played around with the idea for a couple of hours, to see if I could draft a tutorial and a conceptual map of Tinderbox.

Here’s the result:

Learning Tinderbox v2019-09-28.zip (254.4 KB)
(I’ll keep this updated to the latest version available)

I am curious for feedback to see if it makes sense to put some more work into this. It’s under a Creative Commons license, feel free to do whatever you want with it.


Thanks! Can’t wait to see the details!

Oh this is good. Thank you for doing this! I’ve learned about 10 new to me things!

Yes! It’s a solid starting point for the rest of us to build on. The right kind of information, well put, and the right challenges placed in the right places. Like Justin, navigating the work taught me a couple new practices. Thanks -

I think this is extremely elegant! Many thanks for the time, imagination, and skill that went into it. And good luck on expansion.

Thanks for the positive feedback. I have cleaned it up a little, and added a new tutorial about Adornments. I’ll guess I’ll tackle links next, and then take a look at actions, probably sometime next week.

You can find the latest download in the first post above.

Thanks! A very nice and helpful piece of work

This is amazing! I look forward to digging in.

Very helpful not only for newbies. Thanks for investing your precious time.

Very helpful. I wish this had existed a few weeks ago, and have pulled several chunks of it into my own “Using Tinderbox” file. Thank you!

Nice! Thanks!

May I just a add two suggestions and maybe even one correction:

First Suggestion / Correction

  • Press (somewhere in the document) Command + F to invoke a search. Type “right under the note” and Press “Enter”.
  • The search result displays the note “Prototypes”. Within this note’s text one reads:

… small button that appears right under the note on the left.

Shouldn’t it read right?


Second Suggestion

  • All notes are already linked (either labeled start, next or finished. Great.
  • Now: Go ahead and make these links clickable links to any succeeding note.

Again: Thanks for your contribution.


That requires a text link and those do not work within text displayed as part of the map icon.

The original and more normal navigation method is to use the right-arrow to select the next note (and this doesn’t even need a link and an explicit text label.


Interesting as this document is, I’m not sure it’s as helpful as intended to be for a new user as it map-centric and so ignores most of Tinderbox’ powerful affordances whilst also making it appear that the main role as as a form of box and line diagramming tool. Whilst one may show (some) note $Text as well as the title in a map icon, I’m not sure that’s the first/most useful thing to teach a new user. My 2¢, anyway.

In the current version the notes were not sorted, but for the next version, I have fixed the order of the notes in each tutorial so that the user might advance with the arrow keys, although I don’t think that is necessary, in these Tutorials all the text of the notes is visible in the map. so so it’s simpler to just drag and zoom the map as required.

We are discussing an early version here, of course the tutorial is far from complete. At the moment, I am working on a tutorial for the Hyperbolic View, because that seems rather intuitive as a next step, and I have concepts for how to explain the Outline View and the Attribute browser.

My approach was to start simple, and Map View is familiar to most people. It’s obvious what’s going on, and the user starts experimenting with Tinderbox almost without noticing. That’s much harder to achieve in other views.

1 Like

Well spotted, thanks. I fixed that for the next version.

A good idea. For the existing tutorials I would imagine it’s not even necessary to actually select the next pane, as all the text is visible in the map (there is one exception, I believe).

However, for upcoming tutorials that teach other views, text navigation as you suggested will be essential.

@Lizard-of-Oz Sounds good. Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of the Tinderbox community.


@Lizard-of-Oz thanks for this, really helpful stuff.

Pretty damm good as an introduction. Thanks for sharing.