At my last job, we used to do a lot of Mind Maps to compliment the discussions we had around future product directions, processes, and happy hours 😉 For that we used an AWESOME program from MindJet called “Mind Manager“. This is a super-easy program to use, integrates exceptionally well with Office, Windows and Vista Search, and was able to help us better organize our thoughts. I was thinking about buying a copy for my new job as I’ve got a million projects going at the same time, when I ran into Thoughtex.net. These guys are building a WPF version of a mind mapping tool that is also extremely cool. I haven’t completely gotten the hang of the UI, but there seems to be a number of really interesting features:
- Contextual search of Yahoo! Web Services based on whatever node in your map is currently selected. For example, if I put “Unpack Boxes” in one of the map elements, the contextual search shows me several items on tips for unpacking, moving companies, cleaning supplies, and other relevant items.
- The tool itself is deployed with ClickOnce and is WPF-based. That means it’s got lots of cool and useful UI features and smooth vector-based animations.
- “Smart” saving – it doesn’t ask you for a filename to save, it just saves in your Documents folder based on the root node in the map. That saves me keystrokes and mouse clicks, which makes me very happy.
- It’s free – download it today and start using it.
It’s not as fully-featured as Mind Manager, and doesn’t integrate with Office, Search and Windows like Mind Manager does, but if you’re on a budget, or want to test-drive Mind Mapping for yourself, this program is a great example of a very useful WPF-based application that utilizes a lot of what the .NET platform has to offer. Check it out at http://www.thoughtex.net.