Memories for the Future

Personal blog of Néstor Sánchez. My place for fun and philosophize.

Posts Tagged ‘ThinkComposer’

Little Demo of my Product

Posted by nmarcel on September 24, 2010

See here the very first demo of an alpha version:

Hope to launch a Beta release in 2011.


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ThinkComposer. Milestone Alpha 1.

Posted by nmarcel on November 17, 2009

Yesterday, I presented the first Alpha version of my product to some friends and ex-coworkers/employers, so valuable opinions about product potential, startup experiences and “first impression” feedback arose.

At the current early state, the product contains some core -unpolished- features such as…

  • Creation of diagram Ideas: Concepts and Relationships.
  • Use of different visual styles in connectors and shapes (yet to be changeable by user).
  • Multiple document management, plus multiple views by document.
  • Zooming of views.
  • Idea open/close of composite content.
  • Idea expand/collapse of its associated ones.
  • Undo and Redo of commands.
  • Autoupdate of the tree navigator depending on Idea changes.
  • Edition of elemental properties, such as title/name and summary.
  • Load and save of documents.

Let’s see a screenshot (click to expand)…

Instrumind ThinkComposer version Alpha 2009.11.16

Consider that the sample diagram exposed is just to show the visual capabilities of the software. So it has no restrictions nor follows a methodology, mapping rules or modeling technique.

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Product prototype: ThinkComposer, by Instrumind

Posted by nmarcel on October 1, 2009

Company: Instrumind. This is the commercial platform for my creation.

Product: ThinkComposer. It is -or will be, when finished- a diagram based tool for organize thoughts, allowing analysis, storing and sharing of the underlying knowledge. It is intended to be an intermediate between visual thinking tools (such as Concept Mapping and Mind Mapping) and more specialized diagramming tools (like UML designers).

Click to expand the next screenshot…


Instrumind ThinkComposer prototype

 I’m working hard to bring it to life and make a better conceptualization in describing the product. I hope to leverage the first version in 2011, more than a year from now, considering all the techniques to learn, problems to analyze and solve, the code to write and test, plus the website creation.

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Motivation plus Inspiration: Taking my own path

Posted by nmarcel on September 28, 2009

Why a man does certain things in his life and no others? Because circumstances of life moved him?  like the torrent of a river carrying tree leafs to the sea. Or because he make decisions?

Sometime ago, late-2007/early-2008 to be more specific, the sensation of being carried by the torrent invaded me… feeling that I was swiming well but toward the direction my river was going, which really wasn’t my path. I was working on that professional speciality I studied and I ever liked so much (software development), but I wasn’t *making* what I wanted to.  Imagine a musician dreaming about symphonies, but -by those circumstances of life- making jingles for toothpaste or cornflakes.

Then I noticed some tips, cues or ideas that started to changed my way of thinking:

– After read a newspaper article about some guy living his “sabbatical year” (traveling Europe, India, China and other exotic places), I wondered about “what if I could take a Sabbatical Year???” …where to go?  ..what to do?  Answer: Do whatever you want and never can because time or money. And what is that thing always has motivated me? Answer: CREATE things, in particular implemented as software. Since I saw for the first time the “Lotus 1-2-3” on an XT, I got inspired by the infinite possibilities computing has.

– Investigating a little, discovered the world of the Micro ISVs. And learned about many companies, products, celebrities and experiences about creating software with such little (or much) resources as only one developer or a few.

– Having already reaching some financial stability and after making some preliminary calculations, I determined that I would have time to make something of that MicroISV scale.

– Remembered when years ago I intended to do some things (maybe “stages” in the live of a developer?)…

  • a)  I tried to create a game/simulation software (of the War-Gaming strategic type). Result: Advance was scarce due to time constraints, then abandoned. That was *my* idea, and maybe someday with time/money can be done (ahhh my child at heart).
  • b) I participated in an open-source project (a “Mini-ESB”). Result: The other developers -even the leader- abandoned (or really never take it seriously), so I did the same. Anyway, that wasn’t *my* idea.

– When working on my (at the time) job, trying to analyze a problem and designing its solution, I needed to express these ideas in a graphical way and started making shapes and lines on a paper. Then when the drawing reached some complexity I thought… hey! It’s time to stop this hand, pencil and paper thing and use software and its advantages (you know… undo/redo, saving, sharing, etc…). Then…

  • I’ve most of the time used UML diagrams (with tools such as PowerDesigner or Enterprise Architect) to analyze and design solutions, but this time I wanted some more free, where I selected -arbitrary- the kind of shapes, lines, and arrows to draw, mainly because that complex problem has different perspectives and I haven’t enough time to make different diagrams for each one, as the UML methodology encourages.

In other words… I needed to draw some diagrams without being forced to follow some methodology with its predefined symbology. I needed FREEDOM. So I went to look for other kinds of software…

  • Mind mapping software. Such as XMind, FreeMind, iMindMap, MindJet and many others. Pros: Easy to use for organizing ideas, automatic layout. Cons: Centered in one topic and too simple for work on complex subjects.
  • Concept mapping software, like CMapTools. Pros: Not centered in one topic as mind maps. Cons: Like mind maps, too simple for complex subjects.
  • General diagramming software. Like Visio, Smart Draw, E-Draw and others alike. Pros: You can draw almost anything, including mind and concept maps, specialized diagrams (flowcharts, UML, etc.). Cons: They concentrate mostly in good-looking, enforces connecting points (line/arrow to node) and attaches data by connecting to external databases.
  • Knowledge oriented software. Such as InfoRapid KnowledgeMap, Semantica and others. Pros: They concentrate in managing information. Cons: Like other tools, they enforce layout and certain visualization schemes.


 No one software I’ve investigated gives me the balance between freedom, information management and visual representation that I really want. So… I will make my own!

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