Home > AJAX, Mind Mapping, Rich User Experience > Rich User Experiences and the Future of Internet Software

Rich User Experiences and the Future of Internet Software

Programming languages such as AJAX and HTML5 that help to build our online applications are constantly advancing. As networking speeds develop and the ability for fast data transfer becomes a reality, the door has opened for coders to create software that has increased functionality. Applications that are built using AJAX have increased capability. Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media states that AJAX is a key component of Web 2.0 which incorporates several technologies all flourishing in their own right, coming together in powerful new ways.

Ajax incorporates:

* standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
* dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
* data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
* asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
* and JavaScript binding everything together.

AJAX applications can retrieve data from the server asynchronously in the background without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page.

HTML5 also has increased functionality with new video, audio, and canvas elements, as well as the integration of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) content.

These features are designed to make it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the web without having to resort to proprietary plugins and APIs.

Online software applications such as the online mind mapping tool MindMeister are great examples of these new technologies with drag and drop functionality that provide full rich media. MindMeister is entirely Javascript / Ajax based.

A Tour of MindMeister from MindMeister on Vimeo.

MindMeister is one of the most authoritative and open collaborative mind mapping tools available on the web. MindMeister brings the concept of mind mapping to the web, using its facilities for real-time collaboration to allow truly global brainstorming sessions. Users can create, manage and share mind maps online and access them anytime, from anywhere. In brainstorming mode, fellow MindMeisters from around the world (or just in different rooms) can simultaneously work on the same mind map and see each other’s changes as they happen.

Real-time collaboration is also possible using Skype, if needed. Like most web apps, documents can be readily shared with others. Export options include .rtf, .pdf, .jpg, .gif, .png, .mm, .mmap, and .mind, the default MindMeister file format. Programmers can extend this application through the MindMeister API. Currently there are apps avaliable for download for the Apple iPhone and iPad.


MindMeister
allows users to sign up for free but is limited to storing three mind maps at a time. There are two types of paid accounts a business account starting at $9 per month and a premium account that is $59 per year. The business account is more expensive but provides the extra functionality.

Using MindMeister as an alternative enterprise soloution makes sense with the cost and infrastrure to run the software virtually free. This relates to a great Return on Investment (ROI) in using the product.

MindMeister is a multi award winning product that contains plenty of features tailored not only to business but also to students and individuals.

A review conducted by Celine Roque an avid user of mind mapping tools provides a great insight into the capabilities of MindMeister as an alternative to the desktop clients that are avalabile in this space.

Despite the limitations of the free account, MindMeister is a good way to start learning about mind mapping for the curious.

MindMeister is an excellent mind mapping tool alternative to desktop clients. It provides collaboration, sharing, mobility, low cost and plenty of features that enhance the user experience. This is a prime example of where the future of applications will be heading. With programming languages such as AJAX being able to provide such amazing functionality to the online user the gap between desktop clients and online applications is constantly becoming closer.

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  1. April 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    MindMeister sounds like a great tool for sharing and collaborating. Just curious – since you mentioned their API, do the mobile apps essentially perform the same functions as the online version? Also does it integrate with other social networking sites say if people wanted to post their mindmaps to facebook?

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