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Author Topic: Hyperlinking to iOS apps and the Internet  (Read 8011 times)
Jalbright
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« on: July 05, 2011, 05:53:17 pm »

I have just started using your application and love it.  I had been trying to map out processes using mindmaps and was not getting the results I wanted.  I use iThoughts HD on the iPad.  It works great for other classes of problems; just not for process flow.  If you are into mindmapping I definitely recommend looking at it (and no, I neither work for them nor get paid for endorsements).

One feature iThoughts HD does have though is hyperlinking from individual nodes to iOS apps and the Internet.  This is extremely useful and I use it a lot!  When mapping out things, there are frequently other references applicable to a node (or step in a process flow context).  Hyperlinking allows me to point to a reference and move on, knowing that at the point I decide to expand a particular topic the key reference is readily found.

A good example where you might apply this technique would be in your sample diagram (the ticking noise one).  Some of the steps indicates that a person would do a task and then based on their observation make a decision.  Having hyperlinking would allow you to connect any of those decision points to additional references describing how to do the indicated task.  If at a later time you decided to expand the diagram in that area, you will already have an applicable reference right there.

What is the possibility of adding that feature to inShort?

Regards,

Joe
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shortki
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2011, 09:34:17 pm »

Joe, you observed right that the availability of external links in the diagram would be useful and widely applicable. I think so too. However, I need some time to decide how to integrate external links in the diagram without violating the harmony of the formalism of contructing the diagram. There are several variants:
1. Give the opportunity to make a hyperlink for any object of the diagram.
2. Create a new type of process: an external process that runs in other applications and opens them when activated.
3. Introduce links as a new kind of the comments object.
That is why I need to do some research before I start programming, but the future presence of external links in the program is beyond doubt.
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Jalbright
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 03:12:43 am »

Wonderful!  I look forward to the addition.  Feel free to e-mail me if you would like to exchange ideas with someone regarding the possible approaches.
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Jalbright
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 01:43:06 pm »

Thinking about the three options you mentioned, I realized that from my perspective option 1 (each block can have a link) is vastly preferred.  It minimizes block clutter on a diagram and is very consistent with my experience in other areas.  I have found that any topic, no matter how small or well defined it might seem, can still be divided into smaller subtopics.  The Powers Of Ten illustration makes that point exceedingly well for physical objects, and the same can be done with processes.

   http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/  (need to view on a PC or Mac)

Being able to add a hyperlink within any block then makes the ability to truncate the process of topic subdividing (even if only temporarily) universally available.  It can become the rule rather than the exception.

*********

On the matter of being able to link to iOS apps as well as to the Internet (i.e. http://xxx.xxx) here is a site with URL schemes for apps in case you have not seen it before.

   http://handleopenurl.com/scheme?page=1

My impression is that the standard URL handler used by apps can handle both types of links.  Using Safari is a good example.  Perhaps someday you will also want to have an URLscheme for inShort as well.

Regards,

Joe
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shortki
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 06:55:04 am »

At first I thought, too, the first option preferable, but in this case the link will be an additional descriptive parameter of the object with optional activation during execution. If we consider the case of a specialized object, the reference becomes the key element, and the program will make sure that execution of the object automatically leads to activation of the link. Finally, first two variants violate closure of a diagram: the principle according to which a diagram should contain all the key information necessary for its execution. Whereas if a link refers to the explaining (non-key) part of the information on execution of the chart, it (the link) should be placed in the appropriate comments object (i.e. the third option).

Oh, and thanks for an interesting illustration.
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Jalbright
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 01:48:29 pm »

Thank you for the clarification.  I better understand now the issues.  I have worked on standards development over the years and there is a definite parallel.  Some information is intended strictly as a reference.  Use of that material is optional.  Other information is required reading material.  I suppose those situations would be your case 2.  I see how the optional material fits more as a case 3.  I just find myself shuddering at the thought of all the comment boxes this might spawn.  But I certainly understand your rationale and am impressed with your focus to the details and adhering to the process.

For reference material information, how might that be covered under the existing use of the description information for each block?  The writer of the process assumes that the user of the process will understand all the words and phrases in the description.  If they don't, the user needs to go to a separate reference to learn more before proceeding with the process.  Might reference material be added as hyperlinks within that text to actually strengthen the connection between the descriptive text and the additional knowledge that might be necessary to understand that text?
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shortki
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 11:16:05 pm »

I also tend to simultaneous implementation of methods mentioned under numbers 1 and 2. I agree that the third option, being the rightest in theory, will in practice lead to an unjustified increase in the number of objects in the diagram. However, a reference straight in the text is costly in terms of implementation, so the link will appear as a separate independent attribute.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2011, 10:44:03 am by Argalio » Logged
geosocial
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« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2011, 05:28:52 am »

iOS hyperlinks via inShort comments are very useful, thanks for this feature.

Would you consider a new feature for inbound hyperlinks to open inShort diagrams?  For example, the Notebooks app has a 'Copy Link' menu on a note, which makes it easy to link an inShort comment to detailed notes, or a list of related documents.  If inShort would accept inbound hyperlinks, it would be possible to navigate from a Notebooks page to inShort, speeding up context switching. 

Another use case would be linking an OmniFocus task (work item) to the associated inShort workflow.  Here is a related thread on the OF forum:  http://forums.omnigroup.com/showthread.php?t=14986

Now I need to find an ePub reader which accepts an inShort hyperlink to open a named book at a page number..
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shortki
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« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2011, 08:31:39 pm »

Thank you for reminding me about the possibility of creating links supported by the application, perhaps I underestimated the demand for them. Still, I need time to figure out where it is better to place the new elements of the interface, and then, in one of future updates I'll add this feature.
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Jalbright
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2011, 01:40:09 pm »

Thank you for the hyperlinking feature!  I realized today that by making a sub-diagram with only a comment and hyperlink keeps the diagram very clean.  I am thinking it will also prove to be a powerful way to grow a diagram.  By hyperlinking to my notes about a particular sub-section of my process I can very effectively tie background material to new process steps.  Once I know enough about the process to add blocks I can flesh out the diagram details.
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Jalbright
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2011, 01:59:18 pm »

Like geosocial, I agree that apps being able to link to inShort diagrams would be helpful.  For myself and others who use mind maps like iThoughtsHD the feature could be huge.  I am a teacher and frequently find myself jumping between the 2 modes.  When introducing a concept a mind map, or really any outline, is a useful way to organize material.  However, when it is time to teach a specific method, inShort shines.  iThoughts HD currently supports linking to other apps so this feature would be immediately useful.

On a related note, I hope in a future version these hyperlinks can be preserved in the PDF output.  I really like how you have preserved the inter diagram linking.  Extending that to cover these new hyperlinks will dramatically increase the level of utility that can be gotten from a diagram.  In my case I could then supply an iThoughts HD diagram and a variety of supporting InShort diagrams to my students.  That would give them a very powerful set of well organized resources on a subject.

Thanks for your excellent program!  From my perspective, it is a game changer...

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shortki
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2011, 10:52:47 pm »

On a related note, I hope in a future version these hyperlinks can be preserved in the PDF output.  I really like how you have preserved the inter diagram linking.  Extending that to cover these new hyperlinks will dramatically increase the level of utility that can be gotten from a diagram.  In my case I could then supply an iThoughts HD diagram and a variety of supporting InShort diagrams to my students.  That would give them a very powerful set of well organized resources on a subject.

I can only blame myself for not guessing to add external links to PDF earlier. Great idea!

You noticed right the direction in which I move. Workflow is the foundation of any organized activity, tasks are combined into projects, projects implement ideas and plans. So, having started from a process chart, I move to Gantt charts and then will head for something like a mind map. The main thing is to competently think out the description formalism.
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shortki
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2011, 11:12:25 pm »

Like geosocial, I agree that apps being able to link to inShort diagrams would be helpful.  For myself and others who use mind maps like iThoughtsHD the feature could be huge.  I am a teacher and frequently find myself jumping between the 2 modes.  When introducing a concept a mind map, or really any outline, is a useful way to organize material.  However, when it is time to teach a specific method, inShort shines.  iThoughts HD currently supports linking to other apps so this feature would be immediately useful.

Thanks for your excellent program!  From my perspective, it is a game changer...

I would like to add that now I am fully focused on improving the project management component of inShort. Once the program fully works with Gantt charts, I'm going to release a free runtime version, it will not be possible to create or edit diagrams in it, but it will be possible to execute the diagrams obtained from the outside and report back about their performance. I think that in the case of students it can be a useful feature.
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Colin
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2011, 12:44:50 am »

The Links to the internet are great for supporting material and in processes that involve SaaS (web based CRM applications, Google Docs, etc)

Since I discovered the little-documented URL Scheme for iThoughts: e.g. mm://Maps/Processes/Admin%20Procedures -- I have now linked up my inShort diagrams to iThoughts maps Smiley this is great -- especially given that iThoughts supports images, so I can use it for screen-shot intensive processes!

Also, you can specify an internet address in the iThoughts scheme (!) and iThoughts will download the map using http and then open it! e.g. mm://www.ourcompany.com/docs/meetingtemplate.itmz

I would love to be able to link from other apps (and links on Internet/Intranet pages) to inShort diagrams: something simple like:  inshort://Admin could simply open the "Admin" folder if it's found on the desktop. If an exact match by object/diagram name is not found, List View filtered by the search string "Admin" could be used?

Therefore the link inshort://invoicing+customers could perform a search for "invoicing customers" and deal with the complex path to that object simply by displaying List View -- which might be "Desktop/Our Company/Process v1.1/Admin/Billing/Invoicing Customers"

What do you reckon?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2011, 08:51:57 am by Colin » Logged
geosocial
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 07:05:10 pm »

Thanks for the inbound/internal iOS URLs! 

These are also useful for navigation *within* inShort, e.g. navigating directly between deeply nested diagrams without traversing back to the root of the tree. 

In this scenario, it would be helpful to have "Back" and "Forward" buttons near the top left, in addition to the up-arrow that moves to the parent-level of the tree.  This would function like a web browser.
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