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A simple handy distraction-free mind-mapping tool for desktop/laptop Windows XP/7/8 PCs.

A proof-of-concept project implementing the idea of distraction-free mind-mapping process (blindmapping) in a handy portable single-file WinForms .Net 4.0 C# application (capable to run without installation or configuration on any Windows XP, 7 or 8 machine having .Net Framework 4.0 Client Profile installed).

The idea of blindmapping is to let your mind to become a listener to catch the ideas that pop-up from your subconsciousness efficiently. The process can require some training but can be very easy and productive to use: you just formulate the question, manifest (in terms of kinesthetic representation - a sense of it) the intention to get the answer from your subconsciousness and start "thinking without thinking" (it's somewhat like trying to find a word you have forgotten) and listening to what emerges in your mind - the answers (of varying quality but it is not to be taken in consideration, the analysis is a later step) start to pop up (sooner or later, faster or slower, in series or spontaneously in near future - depending on the question, input material (conscious and subconscious knowledge), fluid intelligence, skill, mood and other factors).

The problem is that classic mind mapping way distracts your brain by observing and processing the map already drawn. In case of blindmapping your working area consists of only 2 text fields: a parent map node (the question) text and a child map node (an answer) text. As soon as you press the button, "an answer" is recorded and the text field is cleared for the next one. You can still take a look at the whole structure and navigate through it with the help of a tree view on a secondary tab.

Ideally this is to be implemented as a smartphone application and used occasionally every now and then to record ideas as they come into your mind. But as far as I have not been in possession of a smartphone when the idea hit me, I have implemented it as a PC application.

The project consists of some simple well-structured (well enough in my own opinion, critique and advice is always welcome) C# code files (as well as some auxiliary files to make a Visual Studio "solution" of course) that compile into a single exe file which can be directly executed on any machine (having a classic desktop/laptop Windows version and .Net Framework 4.0 Client Profile installed) without any installation or configuration (it also doesn't write to registry or anywhere - just saves the XML document files to wherever you say it).

Using it may seem inobvious when you first look at it but it is very simple. Just try writing in the 2 big text fields, pressing "Add subnode" and "Add subsubnode" (the rightmost) buttons on the toolbar and looking how do the things change (don't forget about the tree view tab). Consider it a little "apéritif" for your intuition - you will need it later :-)

I have chosen the MIT license as one of the most liberal licenses known but my intention was to release the code under WTFPL, sadly this site doesn't let one choose it.

May you be interested in a discussion - feel free to contact me through my profile here at CodePlex or at Google+.

Plans (already implemented, yet unreleased)

  • Node checkboxes (useful for "todo list" use case)
  • Delete and move (cut/paste) nodes
  • Expand/collapse the whole tree

Ideas (pending to be implemented sooner or later (or not))

  • Up/down neighbour nodes manual rearrange
  • Optional neighbour nodes alphabetic sorting
  • Fix the "Add subsubnode" operation incorrect behaviour
  • Make deleting a node to move focus to the parent node (rather than to the neighbour one)
  • Node copying (cloning)
  • Support standard CtrlC/X/V (and ShiftIns etc. perhaps) at the tree tab
  • Multi-select node moving
  • Support using toolbar buttons for text clipboard operations at the main tab
  • Use the system clipboard (and allow pasting raw text as a new node)
  • TreeView node editing
  • TreeView node creation (for traditional non-blind mind-mapping)
  • More keyboard shortcuts (like adding a node with CtrlEnter)
  • Linking an external resource (attaching an URI) to a node
  • Attaching a memo note to a node
  • Attaching a BLOB file (a picture, a document or whatever) to a node
  • Optional checked (done) nodes hiding
  • TreeView focus mode (using a branch node as a root)
  • Undo/Redo
  • Read/create a disk directory tree
  • Export (copy or move) a tree branch to a separate file
  • Import a file as a tree branch
  • Drag&drop
  • Printable render
  • Node modification date/time tracking and built-in node versioning
  • Instant publishing (using common free picture and file hosting services)
  • Android version (using the same file format)
  • Cloud (using user-owned hosting over standard web protocols) support
  • Importing from other mind-mapping software file formats
  • Exporting to other mind-mapping software file formats
  • Optional XML.ZIP-based (the way like in modern MS Office and Open/LibreOffice) file format capable of including rich node attachments
  • Your ideas welcome!

Last edited Oct 23, 2013 at 3:33 AM by StrangeAttractor, version 34