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.
- 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.