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October 16, 2007




You mentioned uncertainty about practical uses for FreeMind's attributes. They can be useful to anyone wanting to use a mindmap as a front end for some activity, while having data in the map that other software can use. As a FreeMind (.mm) mindmap is really a zipped XML file, other software can extract the attribute data with no difficulty once they know the XML schema, and that's public information.

So, for example, a FreeMind user might use a mind map to plan a departmental reorganization. They could have a node per person (or vacant post) with job titles, qualifications, training needs and salaries in attributes. They could have other nodes (accommodation, resources, and the like) without such data. The flexibility of mindmaps makes this easy. Other software - an H.R. system, say - could then be fed the personnel data by a small extraction program using XSLT.

I could think of other examples, but the attributes are there initially for the techies, I'd say. Once they produce the applications, regular users will be using attributes probably without thinking about it. I haven't looked at TaskJuggler, but that might well be an example.

We use them for importing and exporting FreeMind files and retaining concept map information that would otherwise be lost in a mindmap.



I use attributes fairly regularly in conjunction with the filter.

A specific example is when I take notes at staff meetings. I create two attributes with multiple values: a) Attribute is staff, and the values are the staff persons' names; and b) attribute is priority and the values are numbers 1-5.
After the meeting, I quickly assign the staff name to specific comments and actions (with the assign attributes dialog, you can assign attributes to multiple selected notes instantly). When necessary, I assign priority levels as well. With the simple filter creation tool, I can easily show all nodes attributed to a specific staff person, or all nodes of a certain priority, or a combination of the two.

While it is true version 0.9 is still in beta, I have used it since revision 8 and have had no issues whatsoever in regular, daily use.

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