Tinderbox Forum

Getting started—need description of each built-in Prototype

I’m trying to make sense of Tinderbox and failing to find a description of tools within the program. If I had a way to examine the built-in Prototypes (as an example) then I might start to make sense of it all. I presume the information is somewhere—but where?

Ah, yes, we’ve all been there. :slight_smile: Perhaps you’ll find my videos useful: Mastering Tinderbox: Training Videos (Complete List).

Please subscribe to my channel. I’d love to hit the elusive target of a 1,000+ subscribers one day.

Just add whatever prototypes sound relevant to you — you can always change them, or delete them!

There’s nothing special about built-in prototypes, really.

There’s a good deal about prototypes in Tinderbox Help, and in the Getting Started pdf.

Help just gives me the menus for the subject!
I learn by examining and comparing which works on paper, less well in the program, and not at all by video. At 73 it’s a touch too late to change my method of learning. I’ve already forgotten more than most will ever learn … :slight_smile:
I can muddle through—I did teach IT before there were textbooks for the subject—but I assumed I was missing a more direct method.

We choose to not learn. Also this is a user-to-user forum so you’re berating fellow users for not spending their free time to answer non-specific questions. :slight_smile:

But I’m sure that wasn’t your intent in writing the above. However, Tinderbox is a toolbox—there is no one-size-fits-all method for its use. This is why everyone else using the app has had to make some adjustment to learn as we all use the app in different ways.

On a more productive note, if you want to see what customisations are made by each built-in prototype: see here. But what customisations are made are of limited use if you don’t understand about prototypes…

Fro more on what a prototype is: see here. A key part of prototype use is inheritance…

If you’re unsure about prototypes and inheritance: see here.

If still stuck after reading the above, please ask.

†. This and other links I give are to aTbRef which, by way of disclaimer, I write as a personal but shared resource (since 2004). It’s not perfect but I hope it covers some of the things from aspects it is hard to address in a toolbox’s Help.


Let’s think a bit about this. Take one of the built-in prototypes at random. I chose Dashboard. I’ll add it to a Tinderbox document, and take a look.

What might we say about it?

  1. What’s it for? It’s for making dashboards. “Dashboards” are a fairly common affordance in some circles, so those people have some idea. Even if I’ve never heard it, I suppose a “dashboard” for a collection of notes is something that indicates what’s going on, with a bunch of dials and stuff. “I can see why that might be handy,” I say to myself.

  2. How is it done?. Well, we’ve got a note with a huge title and a smaller caption above it. How do they do that? We soon see that the “caption” is the note title, and the big number is a subtitle. “OK,” I tell myself, ”that’s sort of clever, I guess.”

  3. How does it do that? Selecting the note shows us that the $Title is "Dashboard”, and we see key attributes of $Subtitle and $SubtitleColor. “Aha: I guess an action could change the subtitle color to ‘red’ if something were alarming.”

  4. There’s not a lot more to be said about the prototype. We also set $Height, $NameAlignment, $TitleOpacity, $SubtitleOpacity, and $MapNameSize, but all these are (a) visible and (b) cosmetic details.

  5. And if there’s something that’s still a mystery, you can ask about that by email, or here. You’ll likely get an answer right away — within hours, anyway —and that can be useful grist for better documentation, for additional tutorials, or for meetups and videos.

Now, I could make a glossy photograph of each built-in prototype with a paragraph on the back of each one, and maybe I should. But is this really a great use of my time, or the readers’ time? I’d just be repeating what you can see, and that text will make it slightly harder to see some other text that might be more significant.


And if more info on this prototype is needed is needed, see Prototype: Dashboard which links to descriptions of the attributes being customisted.

Hillarious!!! :slight_smile:

I agree with Mark, rather than understand what each of the built-in prototypes are for it is better to generally understand what a prototype does so that you can build your own, i.e. “teach a man to fish…” A prototype is a styled note that can be assigned to other notes such that (though TBX inheritance) changes made to a prototype will cascade to all notes linked to it.

Not berating at all. Just trying to make sense and wondering what I’m missing. From the responses—and thank you all—it looks as if what I expected doesn’t exist. I like to work through to understanding step by step—like Euclid’s ‘Elements’. OK it’s not available so I will jump in and learn that way but I much prefer to enjoy learning something new rather than fight it. Different people—different learning styles.
Many thanks!

The difficulty of Euclid’s Elements is that people approach Tinderbox with very different needs, and very different backgrounds. One is working on a big legal case and blanches at the sight of an equals sign. One is writing a dissertation and has a solid background in computer science. The author of Elements didn’t have that problem.

I suppose you’ve worked through the Getting Started pdfs?

The = came nearly two millennia too late for Euclid! :slight_smile: What I was looking for was a step at a time’ guide (like the ‘Elements’)—ie suitable for all users—but now I’m aware that isn’t available I’m following the ‘approved’ line. It’s not my way of working but I will cope. Many thanks for the support.