Yesterday’s discussion ranged over a number of topics, one of which was about the scope of what Tinderbox can do, or be used for; from the relatively straightforward outliner to the more complex, programmatically defined, conditional logic display of information.
This morning I found a link in my RSS reader to this post by Maggie Appleton about “programming portals.” Tinderbox isn’t listed as an example, though it clearly is. Thought it might be of interest to some in the community.
A few other notes, as this 9informal0 meet wasn’t recorded.
Someone commented on the strength of outlines, and I mentioned this article by fellow Tinderbox user @tedgoranson. Another part of the history is also filled in my this blog post by Dave Winer. For once, Wikipedia is unhelpful, failing to give any history.
Other things discussed…
In discussing a user’s idea for describing the process of doing syllabus planning/reports, we surfaced the idea that such a work-in-progress report would benefit as much from describing failures/blind alleys as actual progress. Part of the leverage there is riding along with the process of incremental formalisation and new/changed structure arising from overlooked assumptions about the process.
We touched on the strengths weaknesses of graphs, such as Obsidian’s graph view, and how they only show you what you already know (due to how the linkages are often user-generated). FWIW, Tinderbox’s hyperbolic view offers a similar graphs of explicitly defined link in the document. Whilst good for exploring deliberate user-added links, one thing such a graph misses is what isn’t linked, IOW the ‘dark matter’ in our research.
We also touched on map use and the human tendency to resolve towards the aesthetically pleasing and opposed to genuinely informative layout: tidiness/neatness is not always useful for research/insight as opposed to display/communication to others. This subtle difference of purpose is often overlooked, with the flawed presumption that beautiful to the eye necessarily == informative.
I was reminded that @eastgate gave an interesting Tinderbox-based presentation at a Tinderbox weekend (SF 2001) on “Sketches toward a map grammar” than might make a good subject for a future weekly meet. What it showed was how much could be done to impart relationships in map without explicit links as lines often give unintended emphasis to linked items. More too, as the map has added features since 2011—flags spring to mind.
Funny that you would mention my study of outlining and its future, because just now today I am looking at some of my planning for next generation tools. I am working with a tool from my research past that manages graphs and hypergraphs as knowledge structures — but which does not yet display them well. So am once again after two decades looking at what is possible and useful. Will be interested in a discussion of a map grammar.