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Old 25. Oct 2018, 04:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,741

Originally Posted by eyeb View Post
What is a mind map? How is it different than folder system?
A mind map is a visual representation which starts from the centre and branches out. Mind maps are one variety of the visual maps which have been used since antiquity.

Mind maps are usually hierarchical just like a folder/directory structure. That's why the OP would like a button bar which is the equivalent of favorite folders. Some other features are also similar although different terminology is often used, e.g. mind map nodes/branches fold and unfold whereas folders hide or reveal subfolders:
  • colours
  • symbols

Then we get to where the two really diverge because the spatial nature of mind maps really starts to dominate. That's why I'd characterize the main differences as:
  • graphical versus textual - you can't really mindmap in a character-based display but you can in a graphical display
  • spatial/dimensional versus non-dimensional - distance and size become meaningful in mindmaps

Here's the features that further diverge from folder structures:
  • shapes e.g. line shape, container shape
  • dimensions e.g. line weight and length, container size.
  • groupings e.g. a subset of nodes/"folders" on one branch can be grouped independent of the hierarchy and regular or irregular shaped used to delineate them
  • other associations outside of the hierarchy e.g. other lines can be added independent of the branches; multiple paths to the same "folder"
  • arbitrariness i.e. there doesn't have to be a logical reason for the layout. Even when nodes are related they can be positioned far apart even on the same branch

    Note that while folders can be arbitrarily placed in a folder hierarchy, it would be exceptional to have folders that can exist outside the central hierarchy. Also, folder hierarchies often start with some level of predefined structure (e.g. Windows, Linux) and require connection to the hierarchy whereas a mindmap usually starts with no predefined features and it is possible to start with all nodes unconnected/floating.
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