Linking Markers in Trailmeme

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Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been looking at Trailmeme, which allows you to create a map of linked pages, based around a specific topic. So far I’ve covered what it’s about and what it could be used for and choosing and using markers/bookmarks .

Once you’ve selected your markers you link them together to make a path through the markers/pages. You select the trail you are working on (via ‘Follow’, ‘My Trails’). It opens up with a list of markers associated with the trail on the left hand side and a  work pane on the right.

Initially the work pane displays a column of flow chart boxes and below them various menu options >> create/delete relationship between links, zoom in and out (trails with lots of markers can appear quite small in this window) and you can add further details (Node name, blurb/description, tags and comments) about the link. These details appear when anyone follows your trail. To link, just click on a marker and drag a line to the marker you want to link to. Each marker can have multiple links to and from it. You can also move the markers around the work pane.

Trailmeme Edit Trail Workpane

Edit Trail Screen

In this ‘Java Trail’ I tried to link things logically. Giving an overview on the left side, different general methods of learning in the middle and specific examples of Java programming classes/methods on the right. Even though you can’t do it at this stage, I think it would be useful to be able to group markers together into these logical groups – possibly into folders/venn sets? It would just help to show the logic to myself and others for future reference.

At this stage you can still add more markers and remove any you don’t want.

On this screen you also get the option to view the xml file of your trail, which is interesting to see how it all works behind the scenes. Maybe in future the developers could offer an option to upload/import trailmeme xml files as a way to create trailmemes, as well as using the graphical interface.

It’s fairly straightforward to use and linking web pages using Trailmeme could provide a logical/structured route through what might otherwise seem like a disjointed list of bookmarks.

(to be continued…)

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3 thoughts on “Linking Markers in Trailmeme

  1. Re: grouping markers, we are right now testing an idea that does that, based on tags, so the more systematically you tag your markers, the better that algo will work. It’s a tricky one, but expect to see it in a month or two 🙂

    And you’re reading our minds. Upload/import of XML via the API is on the roadmap. The wordpress plugin already uses a specialized version of this, and we are generalizing it shortly to allow any well-behaved program to upload trails.

    Thanks for your continued exploration. Interesting for me to see this with new eyes again, since I’ve been thinking about this from paper-napkin to current incarnation for a year and a half now 🙂

  2. Looking forward to seeing how grouping markers works, Venkat. I did forget the WordPress plugin. I’ll have to have a look at it. I bet you’re glad you’ve finally got it released, even though people like myself now keep coming along suggesting improvements/changes 😉

  3. To tell the truth, I actually enjoy twisting and turning trying to shoot down a moving target of expectations! Executing a waterfall plan that is completely predetermined feels oppressive.

    The WP plugin… its been out for a couple of months now, in the form of developmental releases, but we are now close to V 1.0, which we feel confident enough about to push hard. You won’t be able to use it since you are on wordpress.com rather than self-hosted, but the thing is WP-MU compatible (which runs wordpress.com), so we’ll be trying to get the wp.com team to support the plugin.

    Venkat

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