Using Freeplane (with Scrivener) in a writing project

Re: Using Freeplane (with Scrivener) in a writing project

Postby kingsinger » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:52 am

This a great new feature. Thanks for making it happen. Scrivener has a very passionate community. And while the developer of Scrivener also has a simple mind map program called Scaple, for people who need more power, these new functionality should make it easier for them to work with FP.

I haven't tested FP's OPML import/export lately, but this is another thing that would help integrate these two programs together.

In another thread somebody said that a development challenge with FP is useability. I agree. I would also argue that interoperability with other programs is something falls underneath the rubric of overall useability.

It's also one of the things that may convince somebody to invest more time in a steeper learning curve (i.e., this program is more complicated than some of my other choices, but it's worth it, because it inter-operates better than the simpler choices do. So the investment in learning FP is worth it).
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Re: Using Freeplane (with Scrivener) in a writing project

Postby andressf » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:07 pm

There is already a very good integration between Freeplane (Freeplane-Setup-1.3.6_pre07 beta) and Schrivener ( in Windows 8 (I haven't tried Mac nor Linux [there is a beta version for Linux]). It works well when exporting from FP to Scrivener, but less so the other way around. (Anyway, the integration between these two programs is much better than FP with LO Writer or MS Words).

1.Export from Freeplane maps to Scrivener (i.e. import Freeplane maps into Scrivener)
a) As an outline:
- export your map as a file in .opml format
- import then this .opml file
- Result: the Freeplane map appears in Schrivener in the form of an outline skeleton (tree) of documents (1 document = 1 node)
But, even better than this procedure is that you can also import the Freeplane map direclly as an outline into Scrivener: you simply "Import" your map in Scrivener as "Titles only". The result will be the same as above, only faster and without intermediation.
b) As node cores, notes and details
simply "Import" in Scrivener. You have 2 possibilities:
- import notes (core, note and details text) into the Main text (editor) of Scrivener; or
- import notes (core, note and details text) as Notes.
- Result: the Freeplane map appears in Scrivener in the form of a complete tree of documents all text inclusive (in the editor or in the notes). The only special thing is that sometimes the details appear above the notes, sometimes the other way around. But this should be no problem if you set a symbol, text, line, etc. in the respective container of Freeplane indicating the beginning or end of the respective container (for instance, end each details and note with a double line).

An additional trick that makes the conversion result in a really very useful tool to exploit the power of Freeplane, is to include the URL of the node in the text of Freeplane map (i.e. in the core, details or note), so that it will get imported into Scrivener as plain text; then you can link the respective document of Scrivener (by converting the URL plain text into a link in Scrivener) not only to the map but to the specific node where the specific information has originated.

2. Export Scrivener draft and/or other files as Freeplane maps
As said, this does not work so well as when exporting from Freeplane to Scrivener. Only text in Main text (i.e. Scrivener's editor) is exported to Freeplane, including inline footnotes and inline annotations. Comments can be exported as .rtf files and then imported into Freeplane.
The procedure is similar to the case of exporting (see 1. above). Shortly: you can choose between opml and map formats, etc., and then decide whether exporting Titles and text, Titles only (lthese two seem to work the best), etc.
- Result: depending on the choices made, you'll get a Freeplane map with only the titles of the Scrivener documents as node cores, or the Scrivener's editor text saved as notes of the nodes (in this case, in the cores appear the title of the corresponding document in Scrivener).

An additional Freeplane feature can be used to export to Scriveneer: you do not need to export the whole map. You can filter the map with determined criteria or filter one or more selected nodes (in this case a specific selection criteria is not necessary), and then export the resulting set of nodes as a new map. These new map can then be exported to (i.e. imported into) Scrivener. If besides, as mentioned above, the URL of each node has been included in text of the map, then in Scrivener you can rapidly build the links to the correspondent node.
Final comments:
The synergy between Freeplane and Scrivener is really amazing. With the new URL feature, you get the feeling of working with only one program. Freeplane act as an, so to say, intelligent repository of information that can be inputted in Scrivener maintaining the structure of the map. And the export of Scrivener to Freeplane allows to get a supplementary, graphic, helicopter view of your construction during the writing, and, if needed, to reconstruct the writing schema. There will be of course users who prefer to stick to Freeplane or Scrivener only, or simply to Writer or Words. Whether one or the other of these programs is the best does not matter. The important question is rather to get them to work together; in this sense, Freeplane has become a real collaborative tool with features that are not to be found in other mindmapping programs.

Scapple, the sort of mindmapping Scrivener complement allows n ---> to n relationships, but has really very limited functionalities compared with Freeplane. Besides, you do not need to build a dedicated Freeplane map for Scrivener: you can use a FP map as a real database to be used with or without many programs (including Scrivener), database of which you can reach any single record (i.e. node), something that is very difficult to achieve with other data repositories. Being able to reach a Freeplane node from an external program, is like being able to reach a specific record of a database, indeed.

For the reasons mentioned in preceding entries of this thread, the expectation for a new Freeplane-Setup-1.3.6_beta (a pre 08) is thus great now.
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Re: Using Freeplane (with Scrivener) in a writing project

Postby andressf » Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:12 am

Now, with Freeplane 1.3.6 beta_pre08, all Freeplane URL node addresses inserted as hyperlinks in external programs (LibreOffice Writer and Calc, Word 2003 and 2013, Excel 2003 and 2013, Scrivener for Windows) are working 100%.

When such a hyperlink in any of those programs is clicked on, Freeplane opens, in the foreground of the screen, the map containing the targeted node and shows directly this node as selected. Freeplane must have been previously opened, but it does not matter whether the map containing the targeted node is or isn't open. (If Freeplane is not open, clicking on the hyperlink will open Freeplane with the corresponding map in the foreground but with the root node, instead of the targeted node, as selected. In this case, clicking again on the hyperlink will select the targeted node. The advice is thus: when trying to connect a node in Freeplane from a hyperlink on an external program, open Freeplane before clicking the hyperlink).

This is a fantastic, great feature, so as has been discussed in this thread. Thanks a lot, Dimitry.
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Re: Using Freeplane (with Scrivener) in a writing project

Postby frogstory » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:39 am

To follow up on this thread: I made another video about FreePlane, this time responding to a question that arose on the Scrivener forum -- does FreePlane have more functionality than Scapple? The short answer is yes, of course, but the video gives a few examples. Some FreePlane users may find the video interesting.

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Re: Using Freeplane (with Scrivener) in a writing project

Postby glen_coakley » Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:46 am

Just a to let people know there is a difficult-to-find piece of open source software called yWriter that is similar to Scrivener. It is not as advanced but, may do for the price. (I have no affiliate to it.)
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