Tinderbox Forum

Export map view to DOT. Would that be doable, and desirable?


I’ve often come across grapviz and the DOT notation, and was thinking it would be pretty cool and potentially very useful to be able to create maps in tinderbox and export for re-use (i.e. in RStudio / RMarkdown).

The export would most definitely not “carry” all attributes of the map (i.e. note text), and visually it would not be true to the map in Tinderbox, but it is a -perhaps edge- solution for exchanging information of this type (diagrams etc.).

If at it, also check http://rich-iannone.github.io/DiagrammeR/traversals.html


Seven or so years ago, over in the legacy forum, @mwra wrote about using Graphviz for exporting notes, which could be also rendered (at that time) in OmniGraffle. I did numerous experiments and have a folder of those documents that still work in Tinderbox 7.x .

Ultimately, I found it to be a dead end because the exported documents took quite a bit of care and feeding and do not at all approach the appearance and features of Tinderbox maps. It was an interesting toy but not something I found useful in using Tinderbox day to day.

I have no idea if OmniGraffle, which itself has moved into several versions past 2010, still supports Graphviz.

BTW, if you were looking at Graphviz as a way of getting a Tinderbox map to paste into another document, Edit > Copy View as Image is useful and requires no coding.


I can’t find the code right now but I managed this (with some post-processing outside Tinderbox**) when working on the Afghan-COIN file I made. The background to the latter is here although the linked file pre-dates my subsequent DOT export experiment. The last was done to see if I could get a better (auto-)layout in Omnigraffle, which can import DOT files. FWIW, the result was no better than my manual layout efforts in Tinderbox.

** I think recent changes/additions to action code may have obviated the need for this. IIRC the issue was over single/double quote nesting, string concatenation and DOT only allowing double-quote enclosed strings. At the time in 2010 I post-processed in BBEdit. So, it’s do-able!

Ah I go beaten to the post but I think we’re in agreement.

Further to that, be aware the pasted data is actually in vector form so if pasted into a Vector-based app you’ve a very rich source, though you may find you need to group some elements (e.g. all elements of a note icon into a group representing the icon as a single object for moving on the canvas, etc.). If pasted into a raster (pixel) based editor the image is rasterised at that point - depending on how complex you image editor is you’ll have some scope for playing with resolution, etc.

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