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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

In general, mind mapping programs do not export their maps to other formats or seem to export it in a way that seems unnecessarily difficult and at a great loss of the work that went into developing the map in the initial program.

I have never heard this said so bluntly, but let that not stop me from stating the real issues here.

For companies to refuse to promote interoperability of mind maps among their programs (or heaven forbid to develop a common standard file type for mind mapping) makes an assumption that is directly insulting to the user.

That assumption is that you no longer own the rights to your own mind map — specifically to move the ideas easily from program to program — once the map has been worked on in a specific program.

Fortunately Microsoft and Apple got past this nonsense by using easily converted file types that do not lose features between Word and Pages as well as Excel and Numbers. Most other companies make good translations among word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation programs.

I move files between word processing programs all of the time because it is easier to do specific types of formatting in some than others. Frequently I compose in one program in Markup and bring it into the “high feature programs” for creating camera-ready copy. That is my right. I paid for all copies of the programs I use and the text and earlier formatting is my intellectual property.

If you really think you have the best mind mapping program, the best way to prove it is make it easy to import files from another program AND to make easy to export files. After all, if your program is the best users will quickly find that if they move files in from another program they have much better mind maps. Similarly, if your program is the best users will quickly find that if they move files from your programs the minds are not as good.

The principles are quite simple.

I own the content of my mind map.

I own the cumulative formatting I have done on my mind map whether done in one program or many different ones consecutively.

As a customer I find it offensive that you try to limit my ability to make consecutive formatting changes in different programs by having limited or no exporting of my formatting or by not properly interpreting the formatting done in another program.

This is capitalism at the expense of the customer’s right to change products mid-stream because each has different features the user would like to combine. So long as I pay for legal copies of all the software I use, I should be able to combine the use of any with that of any other program while retaining the work I have already done in another program.

 

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  1. March 1, 2015

    The web site, mind-mapping.org, that I took over from Vic Gee a while back has a section about this specific problem. In it, Vic assembled comprehensive information needed to convert from one app to another.
    http://www.mind-mapping.org/interoperability-of-mind-mapping-software/

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