A fantasy in theory, part 2

Here’s what I meant by a visualization tool that will help me map networks: Thinkmap. It’s exactly what I’m looking for. Now, if only the company who owns it will let me by it for somewhat less than the $5,000 they list on their website… [cross fingers]


  1. JM says:

    Yeah, that’s exactly the type of thing I was describing, working with the data in formats I was talking about. That’s some of the sorts of stuff we build for clients, esp. in marketing. You still need to determine the metadata/data structures that go into the software to produce this output.

  2. critt-r says:

    So if I understand you, I’d need to determine the way such a visualization tool would organize and display my data. Like a CSS stylesheet. Right?

  3. JM says:

    Not right. Well, I mean sure you would get to pick the colors for the boxes and what not, and determine the shapes of the lines, but visualization programs can only make boxes and lines out of data you feed it — structured data. The relationships between style attributes and tags isn’t analogous (or HTML to CSS); the analogous relationship would be to XML and XLST.

    If you take a gander at this chapter pdf of mine re: databases (we used this in our 356) http://tinyurl.com/djnged you’ll see written explanation, then visual representation of boxes and connections. That’s the sort of definition that has to be done (relational definitions) first, then you fill those boxes with content, then that content becomes the colored boxes because the software will pick out the relationships (primary keys, foreign keys, etc) and turn those pre-defined relationships, now filled with data, into lines and boxes.

  4. collin says:


    It’s nowhere near as powerful as TM, but GraphViz is an app I’ve had some success with. It does similar stuff, has a pretty intuitive language, and has the added virtue of being about $5000 less. 😉

    You can download it for free, along with documentation, at http://www.graphviz.org/


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