PowerMarkers have stopped working in Mindjet 14.

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Adding expressions (like "$text:sw:read") to markers worked fine in Mindjet 11 and resulted in the markers being automatically added to topics based on matches against these expressions.

This has stopped working for me with Mindjet 14. Neither creating a new map and new markers nor opening existing maps with such markers has any effect as topics are being added or modified.

This is a bit unfortunate as it's a really, really awesome (though undocumented) feature.

Is there by chance some switch that can be flipped to re-enable this? Or is this genuinely broken? (and if so, intentionally so?)
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damm.rene

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Posted 5 years ago

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Nick Duffill, Champion

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Hello

The former "Power Markers" add-in, which was integrated as the Marker Index, is no longer part of the build in MM14. The indexing of topics by marker has been integrated into the former Map Marker task pane, now called the Index, which makes much more sense and has better performance as a part of the core code. But unfortunately the legacy features from Power Markers, such as roll-up of markers, Active Legends and the automatic marker configuration you mention above are no longer included, so there is no option to enable these again with an extension add-in.
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Michael Deutch, Official Rep

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Rene,

Nick is correct. The scripting feature was never actually supported by Mindjet but we agree that it was incredibly powerful (but difficult to use and caused some issues in co-editing environments). We're looking into ways to bring functionality like it back into the application as a supported feature with an easy-to-use interface.

Michael
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damm.rene

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Thanks for the replies, Nick and Michael :)

From the fact that the old Power Marker functionality wasn't documented in Mindjet 11 but was still all there and functional, things already seemed a little volatile but, given that from 11 to 14 not much seems to have changed here (at least in terms of user-facing changes), it was still a little surprising to see the functionality suddenly gone.

For the time being, think I'll stay a happy camper using 11.


agree that it was incredibly powerful


Yep indeed.


We're looking into ways to bring functionality like it back into the application as a supported feature with an easy-to-use interface.


Awesome!

//BTW, really love the way your forums are done.
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Michael Deutch, Official Rep

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What were you doing with the scripts? Which ones were you using and why?
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damm.rene

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I'm using expressions to automatically classify topics in my TODO system.

For example, a topic "Waiting for Shawn to get back to me about tests" will automatically land in the "@Waiting For" index by having the respective marker applied to it (which is named "@Waiting For $text:sw:waiting"; the expression having to be part of the marker name itself certainly is suboptimal and something a tighter integration could improve, I guess).

Aside from the index automatically gathering lists of topics, it also makes for a very convenient visual categorization system. Like, for example, waiting-for topics always reading in a certain way and having the same icon.

Other than text-based expressions, I'm using a select few other markers based on the stock set that came with Power Markers (like "Web links $hl:web").
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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The ability to create your own visual categorisation system was one of the great features of the PowerMarkers add-in which has now been lost with the decision to discontinue support in v14.

I suggested in a recent thread that the new PowerFill conditional topic formatting feature be expanded to work with dates as well as numbers to help overcome this:
https://community.mindjet.com/mindjet...

However your example of using text within a topic label to trigger conditional formatting within a GTD context is one I hadn't thought of, but it is a great idea which illustrates the flexibility of the PowerMarkers approach beyond just date-handling.

Ideally the ability to set up a range of conditional formatting criteria would also be built into the PowerFill facility, but it would be even better if Mindjet could reinstate support for the Power Marker macros themselves, at least until this feature is implemented.
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Thierry Lutece

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Yes, "the ability to create your own visual categorisation system was one of the great features of the PowerMarkers"
I can not do without PowerMarkers. I used to track my tasks of the day tomorrow, until the end of week etc.. I do not have to filter my map and without having to query.
When I click on a task of the day in my index, I immediately see in its full context.
When I change the date of a task, my index marker is automatically updated!
I love the Power Markers (Merci Nick!)
Sorry for my English.
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Michael Deutch, Official Rep

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Thierry,

So you want markers to appear if the due date has passed (to show it's late). Did you combine this with the progress marker (e.g. if it isn't complete AND it's past due, add this marker)?

So, you can review in the index topics that are:
- Late
- Due today
- Due tomorrow
- Due this week

Anything else?
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Thierry Lutece

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Michael,

I need to follow due date (past and future) with fill colors.
I agree with Alexsg : "Conditional formatting based on topic fill colour is one of the best ways to read a large map"
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Thierry has raised an important distinction here.

The point is not so much to be able to track status with icons etc via an improved indexing system, important though that is (but less useful until the ability to export the index to the clipboard returns).

Instead what Thierry, damm.rene, myself and I suspect many others really want is the return of the central feature of PowerMarkers - the ability to set up your own active map legends as you want based on the use of fill colours.

This gave users the ability to check at a glance the "health" of an entire project and quickly see individual tasks that were overdue, due tomorrow, this week, etc.

As previously suggested I would love to see the PowerMarkers macros returned in their original form, however it may be that the changes to the marker index have made this impossible. If this is the case then the next best option would be to greatly expand the new PowerFill feature to allow users to set up their own conditional formatting based on fill colours.

While I appreciate the improvements in MM14 including the introduction of the limited PowerFill feature, I am disappointed that Mindjet has continued its trend of buying out the most useful add-ins but then in the process of integrating them into MM stripping out some of the more sophisticated features that attracted many users to these add-ins in the first place.
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Unfortunately, to make two step forwards we had to take a step backwards. We integrated the functionality into the core of MindManager so the performance would be greatly enhanced and intend to grow this area to support the other, more powerful features. The majority of users though were not using the powerful macro language of the add-in so we want to create a more user-friendly interface to provide these capabilities.

Can you clarify though, how this would ideally work (with specifics).

Would you like to color code topics based on the current date compared to the task due date to provide a variety of colors...
- Past due
- Today
- Tomorrow
- Later This week
- Later This month
etc...

Do you also add conditions based on progress?
- Past due and also not complete
- Today and also not complete
- Tomorrow and also not complete
etc...

What other aspects of PowerMarkers are most missed?
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Thanks for the prompt response Michael.

Obviously due date has to be able to be combined with whether the task is complete or not; most users would want to know about incomplete tasks that are due at certain dates, though there may be some who also need to code when a task was completed (I suspect this is less likely however).

Several other things to think about:

1. PowerMarkers allowed the user to set their own cascading date parameters. While the set ones you suggest would cover most bases some users would like something finer-grained, eg, if they are running a five-day event they may want "due today", "due tomorrow", "due in two days", "due in three days" etc.

2. Ideally (and this is going beyond what PowerMarkers offered) you would be able to set specific calendar dates as well. It would also be great to include a third condition as well as date due and completeness, such as priority, though this may be too complex to achieve.

3. One of the great features of PowerMarkers was the ability to include a "live" legend in the map which could be edited on the fly. While this was difficult to explain it was great once you got the hang of it; you could set up an active legend and then copy it as a template from map to map, adjusting it as required. The legend set the parameters for the map and also acted as a literal legend.

PowerFill would require a different approach as it seems to need to be applied to individual topics. It would be great if there was some way to set up PowerFill parameters to be applied either individually or to all topics globally or a combination ( if say some topics were budget-related and others task-based) and if it was possible to display these in a legend within the map as well as within the index, even if the legend wasn't live.

4. One if the earlier responses highlighted PowerMarkers' ability to work with non-task related data, such as whether a topc starts with, ends with or contains a certain character string such as "@Waiting for", for example, or whether (I seem to recall) a topic contained an attachment, etc. While I didn't use this feature its clear that others did and it would be great if an improved PowerFill could also contain this flexibility as well.
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Nick Duffill, Champion

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As Alex has identified, the original design goal of Power Markers was a system for creating dashboards, and included a set of tools to do that, including template dashboard designs. While Michael is right that the core platform product should be easy to use, I am perplexed by the notion of withholding complex features from influential and advanced users simply because they are not easy for the average user. Mindjet understood this in the past and invested in an API, and we all benefited from a third party ecosystem which sustained the interest of the leading-edge segment. It will be impossible to embed all the applications of a long-tail market into the core product. In this particular case, the original Power Markers documentation lists around 200 conditions that could automatically generate markers, including conditions that applied to incomplete tasks. Trying to reduce this to a handful of the "most popular" ones is going to take more work than it would to deliver an integral set and let the users choose what they need. I am the first to concede that the scripting for Power Markers was clunky, but it was constrained by what could be done through the API at the time. I would rather see Mindjet invest further in the API and in supporting partners than trying to add more and more functions to the core product. I have always been amazed by the dedication, inventiveness and capabilities of the users who bought add-ins; in most cases, ease of use is actually not the critical factor that everyone assumes it is. It is the glimpse of doing something innovative and worthwhile that pulls users through the hedge of awkwardness and complexity. Ease of use is one of the factors, but there are not so many people who seek and genuinely value advanced features yet are unwilling to invest any time if it does not work in the first couple of clicks. I am not trying to make excuses, and of course designers should always strive for simplicity and good design, but where functionality and ease of use conflict with each other, good functionality usually wins in this particular part of the market.

For those that are interested in this particular area, the new version of Gyronix ResultsManager could be described as a multi-map version of Power Markers on steroids. While it does not apply colours back to topics, it can generate analysis dashboards across multiple maps using task information, map markers, task dependencies, delegation of ownership, inherited properties and text content. It will never be accused of being "easy to use", but it does repay the investment in the learning curve :)

Best regards
Nick Duffill
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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I strongly support Nick Duffill's perspective on this and the importance of allowing users to set their own level in the trade-off between advanced functionality and ease of use.

In many cases the best way to do this is to provide the core aspects of a complex feature within the program but allow users who want the more complex features to access them through an add-in. This is exactly how the Power Markers package, which was a completely separate add-in for MM9, was incorporated into MM12 and MJ11 - the Marker Index was included in the core program and a separate add-in package with additional features was provided on request for advanced users..

Instead of arbitrarily removing most of the more complex features as has now been done in MM14, it would have been better to have left the full range of Power Marker conditional formatting options intact and instead looked at how the interface could have been improved, while accepting that the more advanced aspects may still have been better left as an add-in.

However PowerFill seems to be the alternative approach that Mindjet has adopted as a basis for conditional formatting via topic colours. It is too early to decide whether it can evolve into something which has the depth of the old Power Markers, but if that was the intention, Mindjet should have left the Power Marker features intact until the development of PowerFill was complete.

And if Mindjet really do want to develop PowerFill as the alternative they should heed Nick's advice: "Trying to reduce this to a handful of the 'most popular' [conditions] is going to take more work than it would to deliver an integral set and let the users choose what they need". Mindjet should incorporate Nick's complete list of 200 conditions (plus any that have been subsequently suggested) into PowerFill and provide a facility to apply these to a map globally.
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Thierry Lutece

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Mickael,

I subscribed to Mindjet for 3 years. But Mindjet 14 is a regression for me because I can not use certain features of Power Markers. Do you think this is normal?

I think what is lacking most is fill colors based on due date (with "not complete" in option).
Then it is $tx:sw:... and $tx:ew:...
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Michael Deutch, Official Rep

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Thierry,

Unfortunately the Macros offered with PowerMarkers was never offered as part of MindManager nor was it supported by Mindjet. We made the feature available though as an unsupported and undocumented feature only available for those who request it. The feature had bugs in our collaborative environment. That being said, I believe the capabilities are both powerful and useful and would like to add it into our product over time.

The color coding of incomplete topics is definitely one of the top priorities.

Can you remind me of the meaning of the other settings, $tx:sw:... and $tx:ew?
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Alex Gooding, Champion

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Michael,

Theirry probably has a lot more to say on the use of topic text, but in the meantime in answer to your question:

$tx:sw:abc - Topic text starts with "abc"

$tx:ew:abc - Topic text ends with "abc"

These were just two of the topic text options. Others included:

$tx:ct:abc - Topic text contains "abc"

$tx:is:abc - Topic text is "abc"

In addition to the eight options within the topic text category, there were numerous other categories including topic type, topic label, topic assets and those relating to topic status, due date and start date. The due date conditions were the ones I used the most.

The complete set of definitions is contained in the original Power Markers glossary that was available with the original add-in. I can forward you a copy, but you should have one in the material Mindjet obtained when it purchased the Power Markers add-in.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Power Markers was probably the greatest add-in ever produced for MindManager. While it may have had a few rough edges and was probably not appropriate for people just starting in mindmapping, it was amazingly powerful, allowing power users to develop their own system of visual categorisation based on topic status and then apply it automatically to their maps.

It is years ahead of anything else and I am very disappointed that Mindjet has not persevered with overcoming any technical difficulties to retain it in the latest version. If they had done so and made the interface a little more accessible they would have cemented MindManager as the leading mindmapping program in terms of innovation.

If the Power Markers macro system cannot be restored, I can only hope that the situation is rectified as soon as possible through the development of the PowerFill feature to include all the features that were offered by Power Markers.
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Nick Duffill, Champion

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Michael, I apologise for contradicting you, but the Active Legends and Automatic Marker features were documented and sold as a Mindjet product when Power Markers was sold by Mindjet as an add-in for MindManager 8 and 9. It was only when it was integrated into the shipped product from MindManager 2012 onwards that these features were dropped from the documentation and user interface, but were still available on demand as a convenience for Mindjet's customers.

Mindjet's documentation for Power Markers for MM8/9 is at

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1o5353t75in...

Reference > Automatic Marker definitions lists the syntaxes being discussed. Note that "$tx:sw" was an alias for "$text:startswith" simply to save some characters in the marker name, so it was not quite as arcane as it seems :)
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Nick, no worries. I meant that they were never documented and primarily supported by Mindjet. And, I'm in full support of these capabilities and will work to bring them back into our app.
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thebimbo

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Michael, is there anything you can point to in Mindmanager 2017 that supports this. I can only find the task highlighting options in task calendar and display options... but this is just visualisation and not the auto-categorisation we're after....
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I'm afraid this wasn't in MindManager 2017.