Friday, 18 July 2014

MindMup now works offline!

MindMup now works offline. We just published an early beta release of the MindMup desktop app - enabling you to manage your maps completely offline. MindMup desktop can open Freemind and MindMup files from your local disk, giving you (almost) full capabilities of MindMup.com without being online.

This is an early beta release for testing and preview. We'd love to hear your feedback - especially if something doesn't work well. Most editing functions are already there, but you'll have to save the map and import into mindmup.com for  sharing, conversion to different formats (including PDF and PNG), or embedding.

Get the app from the Chrome Web store

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Use HTTPS for better security

We updated MindMup today to support full HTTPS (secure, encrypted web access) as an option.

Until today, all access to remote file storage from your browser was already encrypted and secure using HTTPS, but the MindMup web interface was downloaded using regular HTTP. This allowed hotels and wifi network operators to potentially inject ads and interfere with the site operation (again, not the map files you were using, they were already secured). From today, you can access MindMup over a fully encrypted connection and prevent any interference from third parties, as long as you trust your browser HTTPS. To do that, just open the following link:

https://www.mindmup.com

(note the s after http at the start)

Because browsers treat secure and unsecure versions of the same URL as different sites, your settings will not migrate automatically - in particular any maps you have stored in your browser profile will not be visible immediately. To transfer browser maps over, use File->Export and save the map to disk, then use File->Import to load it using the HTTPS site. For maps stored online (eg Google Drive), you will just most likely have to re-authorise MindMup access.

For the moment, we're keeping both URLs active. In about two weeks time, we'll enforce encryption - automatically redirecting old style links to new ones. We're still testing this, and at the moment there are no known issues. Google drive, Dropbox and Github, as well as MindMup Gold storage, should still work fine either using the old url or the new HTTPS url. Please let us know if you run into any trouble.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Simpler, touch friendly node dragging

We started improving visual operations now that the transition to the new drawing engine is complete for all users. The first improvement, available immediately, is with manual node positioning. Until now, if you wanted to manually position a node you had to tell MindMup that by holding Shift while dragging. Better drag and drop control now enables us to recognise automatically when you want to reorder nodes using automatic layout, and when you want to manually position then. So we're making it simpler to move nodes around. This also makes MindMup more touch-friendly, so it will help towards a mobile version of the app.


When you drag nodes around, and the node is horizontally close to its parent and between or above/below one of the siblings, MindMup will assume you want to reorder nodes and keep automatic positioning. A black arrow point will show to signal that reordering will be applied and manual positioning will be ignored. 


When you drag nodes further away from the parent horizontally, or further above the top-most or further below the bottom-most sibling, MindMup will assume that you want to manually position the node. The arrow point will not be shown in that case.





You can still force manual positioning by holding Shift, if for some reason you would like to fix a node where MindMup would normally apply reordering. To cancel manual position and go back to automatic positioning for a node, either drag and drop it on its parent, or drag horizontally close to the parent until the arrow point is shown, and drop it on  the background.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Create beautiful presentations using MindMup storyboards

Mind maps are a fantastic way of organising thoughts, but they are not the best for presenting ideas. Telling a story requires a beginning and an end, a sequence of thoughts, discovering and disclosing the right information at just the right time. Effective presentations require beautiful visualisations.

MindMup storyboards allow you to get the best of both worlds: plan your stories with frictionless mind maps and organise them in a sequence for a presentation - with beautiful slide shows.

To create a story board from your presentation, just select View-Side Pane-Toggle Storyboard or press the S key on your keyboard while editing a map. You can then drag nodes into the storyboard, or from the keyboard press the plus key to add selected nodes automatically. Reorder and reorganise the storyboard in the side pane and when you are done, just grab the slides by selecting File-Export Map-Presentation Slides to get a beautiful slideshow PDF to present offline.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Workaround for sharing and collaboration problems on Google Drive

Google Drive seems to be experiencing API problems, as of 16th May midnight, some of our users are not able to invite collaborators or share documents stored on Drive.

If you are accessing the map directly using a URL, a workaround that seems to fix the problem is to:

  • change the active map - for example create a new map and save to anonymous storage. 
  • load your map using File->Open->From Google Drive, this will re-authorise MindMup to access the file
If that still does not allow you to share, try the following:
  • clear the browser cache and cookies
  • load http://www.mindmup.com in your browser (homepage, not the map URL)
  • activate the realtime extension if needed (eg if the map you are going to use was a collaborative map)
  • load the map using File->Open->From Google Drive
If that all fails, or you cannot clear the cache at the moment, you can share the map using the Drive web page (http://drive.google.com) - this has the same effect as inviting collaborators to join.

Friday, 9 May 2014

New MindMup engine is now turned on by default

A few weeks ago we announced the optional availability of the new layout engine, expecting to make it default for all users on 20th May. Since then, Firefox 29 came out, it seems with bugs that make MindMup unusable with the old engine. The new one works well, as far as we can tell, so we pushed the switch-over date earlier. The new engine is now well tested and should work well on all supported platforms, so we enabled it for everyone to help Firefox 29 users to actually work.

This means that unless you explicitly opt-out, you are now using the new MindMup layout. Just in case that you run into any problems, you can temporarily switch back to the old engine by opening Extensions, and ticking "Old MindMup Layout". In case you do this, please let us know so we can fix the problem.


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Switch to the new layout for faster, better maps with customisable visuals


We're very excited to announce the first major upgrade to the MindMup drawing engine, which will provide users with much more flexibility and better experience.

The engine is ready for general use, but there are still a few things we need to polish. To avoid any potentially nasty surprises, we will keep it as an opt-in feature for a month, while we're cleaning things up. On May 20th, the new system will become the standard for all users, and we'll keep the old one as an option for a month. On June 20th we plan to completely kill the old engine and migrate all users to it. You can keep track of progress of our work on the new drawing engine documentation page.

Please help us test the new engine by turning it on now and helping us identify any potential problems.

Here are the benefits you can get immediately:
  • More productive mapping on mobile devices - showing the toolbar on mobile devices just isn't a sensible option because it takes too much screen space, but our old display engine did not allow us to have precise control over touch events, so the top menu bar was the only real option to get anything done on tablets. No longer! Long press (hold) a node to show a popup menu with actions, or double-tap anywhere on the background to show the menu. This makes MindMup much more useful with touch interfaces.
  • User-customisable visuals: You can modify almost any visual aspect of the map yourself: if you know a bit of CSS, you can customise almost any map element - make buttons larger or smaller, change the font, make lines thicker, remove shadows, change default node colors or box sizes... At the moment, this requires some familiarity with CSS but we'll build on it to make it easier for non-technical users to customise maps.
  • Faster interface: we're now using hardware acceleration on Webkit browsers (Chrome and Safari) so you should see much better scrolling and usage performance, especially on mobile devices. 
  • Crisper map text: the new engine allows browsers to display text better, in particular on mobile devices, by using the standard browser text elements instead of drawing on a graphic canvas.
  • No more Chrome drawing problems - the last few Chrome versions broke MindMup for some users, creating shadows and reducing performance. The old engine was using latest and greatest HTML5 features, which seem to be under heavy development and not well tested in new browser versions when they come out. The new engine is using a completely different drawing system which is more mature and will not be affected by browser upgrades that much.
  • Embedded maps will work in older browsers - People who visit your site will be able to see embedded maps even with older browsers. The new drawing engine does not rely on the bleeding edge HTML5 features, so embedded maps will work in older browsers.
Over the next few months, the new drawing engine will also allow us to roll out these benefits:
  • More flexible node display: we will be able to easier add labels and other elements to nodes. For example, we plan to extend the measurements function so you can select a measurement to display next to the nodes, and add it up automatically towards the centre of the map. This way, you can, for example, instantly see how much money you have in blocked projects, how much testing you still need to do, or how many estimated days the whole project is going to take.
  • Scalable icons: the old map visualisation engine converted node icons into bitmaps, which meant that you had to upload huge pictures if you wanted to use large icons, and they looked bad if you zoomed in. The new engine will enable us to use any image format supported by the browsers, including SVG (scalable graphics). SVG icons will scale and display nicely at any level of zoom, and will take significantly less resources than equivalent bitmap icons that you have to use now.
  • Much better native mobile interface: the new engine will allow us to finally build a great mobile experience. 
  • Better sharing on social networks: the new engine will allow us to create Twitter cards and Facebook meta-data which will enable the maps to show up nicely in social network posts. 
  • Better HTML export: you will be able to create a nice HTML page from your map, to use on your web sites, which can then be indexable and searchable by Google. 
  • Customisable maps for non technical users: we'll make it easier for people who don't know CSS to customise map layout.