I like MindNode for the elegance of the pictures allows me to create. However sometimes I need to create a graph/network that is more then just a mindmap/tree. I want something closer to a concept map, where there isn’t a central node and that each node to connect to as many other nodes as I want. I have OmniGraffle but it is so flexible that my results are always a mess. Is there something halfway in between?
You may find Scapple to be helpful.
Cmap tools is free
Scapple is inexpensive, and it is low on distracting features.
Miro.com has a lot of great graphing options. Their free tier will give you access to three “boards” but they are basically infinite.
I was going to suggest OmniGraffle 'til I read this.
I feel you on the infinite possibilities. For what it’s worth, if you impose your own constraints, it works really well.
Consider using the Canvas Styles or Favourite Styles features to make sure you’re using only element styles that you’ve used before. If you edit each element independently, you’ll surely end up with a mess of slightly different styles.
Pro tip: you can drag and drop from the “styles breakdown inspector” in the bottom right to copy aspects of the current element’s styling onto other elements.
Another suggestion: set up the mouseless editing hotkeys to suit you. This lets you navigate and edit the nodes entirely from the keyboard.
One last thing: OmniGraffle has a variety of auto-layout tools you can use to spread out elements for you.
Scapple is basic but does the job.
Inspiration Maps produces concept maps that are more polished than Scapple, and the price is low.
I prefer Curio.
You could also define a rather large grid that would give more structure to drawings.
Maybe have a look at https://diagrams.app which is a great little gem made by a great indie team.
I’m amazed at the number of responses in a short time.
In the process of replying if I miss acknowledging someone apologies in advanced:
@Bmosbacker and @JohnAtl - Scapple - what a good reminder. Apparently I bought a license one MacOS lifetime ago. (I tried Windows again for 3yrs because of the touch screens and avoiding the awful keyboard years).
Cmap is another good reminder for some reason my brain has never got into to it.
@ldebritto and @airwhale I keep on trying web apps for this kind of work and quickly get stuck in the lack of keyboard shortcuts. FWIW I’ve used Miro to Wardley Mapping (Rabbit hole warning) and it does the job however it always feels like hard work. I use Mural for all of my workshops and its not massively better.
@ryanjamurphy and @JohnAtl Omnigraffle with self imposed constraints - clever angle. The last time I used OmniGraffle I found I got stuck not having keyboard shortcuts for this getting between the 3-4 shapes I was using. I also struggled to get my connections between items to anchor correctly on the items. This meant that improving the layout as I went didn’t happen, as even small changes required that I make many tweaks. I suspect all are PBKAC.
@anon41602260 and @msteffens these apps both seem pretty cool. If Scapple and Omnigraffle fail me, then I will head there as both seem design to product elegent pictures. Curio does seem interesting although it seems to be a competitor to TheBrain and Obsidian, it seems overkill for thus exercise.
Thanks again to all who have helped
There’s also Project Meta, which is currently in alpha.
Also Diagrammix (a recommendation to me from @anon41602260 )
No, not at all. Curio is not a competitor to either of those apps – totally different animal.
SimpleDiagrams <== it’s on offer, though I am not so sure it is still being supported.
No updates since 2018, and I got an email from the dev wondering what to do with it in July 2019. Still seems to run though. Maybe it’s just feature complete.
Yeah, I just cranked up my 2017 version on Monterey and it’s seems to be OK. It’s a fun app, with some funky shapes in addition to the more formal “professional” look.
I’m a big fan of mermaid.js, which is built into Obsidian (and which is one of the two reasons I keep Obsidian around these days). More flexible and powerful than it seems, and also fairly readable in plain text
Most of the time I use Graphviz. Once you get the hang of the DOT language, creating a graph is a matter of seconds. If I need more “eye-candy”, I can import it into OmniGraffle.
I’ve had good results with draw.io which is open source.
Wow - I used to love SimpleDiagrams - used a few times to create pictures for blog and course material. Here is a picture I made trying show that Scrum is a feedback loop:
It did a good enough job to inspire my team to create something better. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.