Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Some tools just get better and better

I have been a MindManager user for a long time, but I'm not a power user. I don't script it. I don't use any plug-ins. I don't generate many documents from it. But it still seemed like one of the best mind map tools out there: fast, easy to use. Every so often it would hog the processor for no good reason. But then FreeMind suddenly got really really good. Is FreeMind now the best mind mapping tool as well as being completely free?

For my purposes - FreeMind is my tool of choice.
Why?
  • I've been doing more and more of my writing in OpenOffice and FreeMind exports directly to that.
  • Out of the box pdf export with no additional drivers
  • A good organic layout is created automatically
  • I can script it if I want to with Groovy
  • It can support attributes on the nodes now
  • The file format is easy peasy xml for easy parsing and manipulation
  • It is fast and when not in use doesn't hog my processor
  • It can open MindManager maps directly so I have no messing about moving tool
  • Very easy to use
  • Because it is cross platform I can share my mind maps with my 'strange' Mac using colleagues
It does support planning and calendars and schedules and all that nonsense, but I don't use a mind map tool for that.
The fact that it is free and open source is a bonus and means that anyone can benefit from this tool with no monetary investment. I thoroughly recommend trying this tool out.

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