Basic set up questions for Map project

I see. And I’m relieved that I asked that question. That also goes to my earlier point about ensuring that I’m creating the proper structure and organizational set up at the onset.

Apart from $Type, what other attributes would you suggest I include for pEntity?

Thank you.

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The answer is it depends. Let’s hop on that zoom call and we can bang it out in less than an hour…get your basic file structure ready.


Yes (mea culpa)

Not really, within the view pane. But, without getting ahead of ourselves, a custom template used with the preview tab of the text pane could give a composite report of the sort of data you are after.

Also, I forgot to mention a single Dictionary attribute might be a more flexible way to capture per-group titles for a given person.

@Roma Had a good zoom call with your client. Made a TON of progress. Happy to review with you both later to increment the effort. As the work is confidential, I’ll say no more here. We do come up with a nice idea on Role Management, however, I’ll share later once I’ve refined it.


Yes, I heard. And I’ve been combing through the document, which is incredibly impressive. I also now understand why so many people keep telling me that TBX has a steep learning curve; it’s quite a versatile app, but also feels enormously complex.

I might have clarifying questions for you here and there, if you don’t mind. But the biggest mystery I’ve been trying to solve is: how do I transform what you’ve created in a way that can be represented visually in Map or Hyperbolic view? Although I’m still trying better understand how to establish links, and their possibilities, I don’t yet understand how to transform this in a way that represents the rough sketch I uploaded.

Forgive my ignorance. I’ve been trying to understand TBX’s basic functions, which I can comprehend in Outline view – but translated that graphically seems to elude me.

Thank you again for your help.

I suspect that is far less critical in Tinderbox than in most programs. One of the unusual features of Tinderbox (in my limited experience of using it) is that you can start with virtually no structure or setup to begin with, and allow the structure to emerge from working with the data. This is what I understand by the concept “incremental formalisation”.

Depending on the kind of work you are doing, it can be very useful not to have any structure at the outset. Indeed, in something like qualitative data analysis, having no preconceived ideas at the outset (apart from the inevitable cognitive biases that we all carry within us!) is probably critical to avoiding distorted results. But I’m wandering …

However, some time ago I accidentally started rather a long thread that touches on incremental formalisation User Attributes or Tags?. You might find it interesting to look over it. I seem to recall there was some very interesting input from James Fallows, regarding the usefulness of attributes rather than hierarchies (containers).

Yes, I hear this and felt the same way too!!! I finally grasped Tinderbox once I unleashed myself from the grasp to the “puppy-mill software” and embraced the idea that Tinderbox could help me manipulate and transform data in nearly any way that I wanted. I evolved the 5Cs and learned to trust the process. I learned to trust that eventually I could get done what I wanted with incremental formalization and help from the community. It took @mwra many hours of talking me through different ideas to help me grasp it all, and then it all started to come together. You’ll get there. Reach out any time.

BTW, the file I created for you two is just an hour’s worth of work, there is still a bit of optimization we can do. We can also look to automate some tasks. Reach out anytime. I have time today if you want to chat.


Thank you. That is incredibly generous of you. We want to be careful not to take advantage of your generosity, however. I know my colleague is available to talk with you, and we’ve been reviewing the document, taking notes, and preparing questions – for ourselves on how to solve certain things, but also to post here to the community.

As I said, the biggest question I’m trying to solve is: how to take what you’ve produced in an Outline view and transform it visually in Map or Hyperbolic view (so that it roughly approximates the sketch I uploaded)? Are there basic steps that you’d recommend or does this involve a much more work and a deeper understand of core TBX functionality?

Thank you.

I’d be interested to learn more about this. Can you provide more information or an illustrative example?

Thank you.

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I should add that I haven’t yet figured out how to access the Hyperbolic view for the our TBX file. Is that still a recommended view (or tool) for graphically viewing the notes and links between them?

Perhaps you can show up to Sunday’s meetup and we can discuss this use case as a community.

I might be headed to overseas, but will see if one of my colleagues can hop on a call. What time is it? We’re scattered around the globe.

Time: SUNDAY February 27, 2022 Noon Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Plus: bring your questions, puzzles and projects!

coming events:

9 AM Pacific Time
Noon Eastern time
1400 São Paulo
1600 UTC
1700 UTC/London
1800 Paris
2230 Dehli

Zoom link for the meetup

I’m replying, not because I have any great expertise with Tinderbox–like you, I’m a relative newcomer–but (1) as far as I can see this aspect of your question has not been addressed by others, and (2) in the early stages I nearly gave up on map view because of what I think is the same problem you’re having.

Let me summarise: after arranging the notes and containers as I wanted them and then drilling down generationally through children and grandchildren I would return to the first map and find nothing in view. The more I tried to fix it, the worse it became. Being so inexperienced I was initially daunted by the technical terms used in the relevant discussions, but persevered until I found a straightforward solution.

First, I didn’t immediately understand (1) that map view could theoretically be extended infinitely in all directions, and (2) the reason it was designed this way. It would have been much more sensible, I thought, for its dimensions to match, more or less, those of a computer screen. Once I’d grasped, after reading it somewhere, that maps were structured on the principle of Cartesian coordinates, things started to fall into place.

I won’t attempt to retrace all the steps involved in finding a solution, but move straight to what I came up with. I don’t claim any great originality-- a patient search will reveal most of it–but I did introduce a couple of final tweaks to create something I found workable. So here goes.

The first thing is to position on your map the note, container, or adornment that you want to appear on the top left-hand corner of map view. The next step is to assign the map attributes xpos and ypos to this item. They should both be set to 0.

That’s basically it. You can then position everything else in relation to this first item, making sure that it always remains at the top left corner. Should you decide that something else belongs on the top left corner, then it’s simply a matter of setting its axes to zero instead of those of the original item.

With this in place you can drill up and down through the generations with the assurance that the items in any map will be in view when you return to it. The map may be slightly off-centre but can easily be dragged to the centre of the window. You just need to be careful to drag the map background, not the items.

This is actually not quite true. Maps do not always open with {0,0} at the top left corner, though it may likely be true for any new map (i.e one with no notes on it). In fact, Tinderbox attempts to take you back to to each map’s location as last seen/used. But, rather like identifying “that thing I was holding yesterday”, the ‘correct’ map location is not necessarily easily defined except in the mind’s eye.

However, for containers (notes or agents) you can set the part of the child map seen using $MapScrollX and $MapScrollY. Drilling down into the container displays the top left of the viewport (i.e. the saved MapScrollX/MapScrollY values).

We can discuss tomorrow but there are two things going on with @Roma challenge (I’ve been on a zoom call with them).

If you have a relatively small set of notes and are just looking for a quick association, then the user of adornments in map view will be fine for what @Roma is looking to achieve. I, however, if you think ahead and envision that you’re building a research framework that you’ll want to scale, then the simple adornment strategy quickly falls apart. Personally, I think the solution will ultimately be some kind of agent that reproduces links and lays out items in the map view (doable but touchy) or a future version of hyperbolic view.

Can we be a little more precise here? Roughly how many entities ? How many people? Of how many entities is a typical person a member?

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I concur the latter matters. Discussion here has had some pushback about jumping straight to a scalable solution which is invariably more complex and less understandable to a new user. The issue isn’t whether a particular solution works so much as whether the question originator can understand the answer.

In turn this unpacks a second question. Is the problem (a) understanding how to implement a solution of (b) please give me copy/paste code. The two commend a different type is answer.

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Right now, there are about a dozen entities and a dozen people that we’ve included in the file that @satikusala set up for us. We were going to include more – at least 20 names and 20 entities – but thought it best to hold off until we’re sure we can achieve what we’re seeking to do – or form a better understanding of how to get there.

Thank you for all of your answers and input. All of us greatly appreciate your help with this.

Unfortunately, however, none of us can attend the meeting you’ve scheduled tomorrow. In fact, I might have to roll off this project because I’m planning to do some work in Europe rather soon. But I’ll continue as much as my can, and my colleague will pick up if I have to roll off.

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Is there a way we can get some more guidance on this project in lieu of tomorrow’s meeting? I apologize that we’re unavailable during that time. It’s not for lacking in desire, I promise you that.