Battle of the mind mappers… Part dos

So after my first post on the topic, i got several comments on other web 2.0 mind mapping tools. I’ve played a little more with each, and have some thoughts.

As a frame of reference for my comparison application is inspiration. I used it for years. I only stopped because… well I’m cheap and didn’t want to spend another 80 bones for the mac version. However it’s a great app, that I loved using, despite it’s rather kid like "my first application" UI.

So first up. Bubble-Mind

bubble-mind is probably the closest in look and interface to Inspiration. the nodes are draggable, you can branch, move, manipulate, etc each node, organize the nodes however you like.

There’s a nice little macro-view so you can see your entire map, even when you’re zoomed in.

You can edit the content of each node very nicely.


I give bubble-mind a nice thumbs up. Very easy to use, and since I had to register to get in :) I might even keep using it.


Next up… Sprouts

definitely not as grown up, but that’s stated, "This is pre-alpha, so a lot of features are missing and stuff may break."

while the UI is stil very much Flex Halo, some things are kinda cool, the floaty motion is nice, up to a point. nodes drift and move as you manipulate them, adding new nodes causes the map to adjust, and such. however if you’re anal like me. that’s less cool. I like my Map to be just right, if it’s movin’ all around on it’s own, I’d probably burst a blood vessel.

What you see here, is not how I had it arranged. and you’ll see in the next shot, what happens when you delete a node.

Can’t wait for the pic? Well what happens is the orphan node seems to run off on it’s own, almost off the stage entirely. If there’s a way to reconnect it, i didn’t find it. Stranger still (and part of the whole, moving around is cool to a point thing) is that moving the orphan near the other nodes, repels them.

I think Sprouts has potential, and as an experiment it’s really cool. I’ve built things like that, less on the practical more on the "can I do this?"

I’ll check sprouts later, see how it’s grown…. get it? sprouts… grown… like a real plant…. wokka wokka wokka.

I give Sprouts, a thumbs sideways.

last up…. MindMeister

Since it took a whie for my account activation email to show up, i played with the demo on the homepage. It’s quite nice, and it’s AJAX, how about that?

off the bat, I liked the user experience, it’s very un-html/javascript. I’m impressed. you can drag a node at another and it will attach to that. there’s an expand/compress (+/-) button to collapse branches, it’s a very mature and user friendly UI.

The keyboard shortcuts are pretty slick to, very desktop app, click a node, hit tab (on Mac, it’s INS on the PC) and a new child node is created.


Once I got my activation email, I was able to delve into creating a mind map, or rather playing with the prebuilt ‘my first mind map’ that is provided. The toolset provided is quite rich, I liked all the options that it allowed me.

The only thing that didn’t ‘work’ for me was the moving of nodes. You click and drag a node name (the text of the node) and the text moves, but the node and it’s branches don’t until you let go, at which time they re-draw. Obviously that effect is hard to accomplish in javascript, i understand, and it’s a really inconsequential thing, but compared to bubble-mind it’s a noticed loss.

MindMeister also gets a thumbs up. I didn’t read much of the how-to’s so I’m not sure why they need my Skype ID, but that was weird.


3 thoughts on “Battle of the mind mappers… Part dos

  1. Till Vollmer Post author

    Mindmeister uses your Skype ID to collaborate with others. You can share a map with other people (by enrtering the email address on them on the share dialog). Once shared people can simultaneously work on the same map. And to make this a true brainstorming session you can make a Skype conferencer with them by just clikcing on their names (that appear on the bottom side of a map).

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