Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Recreating Brainstorm's Capabilities in ConnectedText, I

One of the pieces of software that I really used to like and for which I still have a warm spot in my heart is Brainstorm which has not been developed for more than five years now. It still does what it was designed for, but I have used it less and less during the last few years. It never occurred to me before how easy it is to recreate most of what Brainstorm does in ConnectedText.

Brainstorm is just a list processor that allows you to have different levels of lists, very much like an outliner. But whereas an outliner allows you to see all the different levels of an outline at all times, unless you "hoist' the present level and make the other levels (parents and siblings, that is) invisible. All you see is one level and its children. You can also put this differently and say that you must see all the different levels, unless you "hoist" one level.

In Brainstorm you are always hoisted, as it were. You see only one level and the children or dependencies of that level. This functionality is easily reproduced in an application like ConnectedText. You can create topics that contain links to other topics, and you can arrange such topics hierarchically. So, you could have a topic, let's call it "Level 1, A" that contains links to such topics as [[level 2, a]], [[level 2, b]], [[level 2, c]], etc. Clicking on any of these topics will take you to the level 2, where you could have links like [[level 3, a]], [[level 3, b]], [[level 3, c]], which again contain ... etc. Moving up the hierarchy is as easy as using Alt + <-. Going down is as easy as clicking on a topic name.

You could have a separate Project called "Brainstorm," but you could just as easily integrate such a hierarchy into an existing Project.

There is more, but I will write about that tomorrow.

1 comment:

drandus said...

Interesting exercise... But I'd say WorkFlowy is probably the closest thing to a wiki-like implementation of Brainstorm these days. It has the added advantage that you can use it both in a traditional tree hierarchy view, or in auto-hoist Brainstorm mode. It now also has an off-line version (a Chrome app that works as a desktop app).