MindJet Releases MindManager 8

Today, MindJet has released two new products: MindManager 8 for Windows and MindManager Web.

What's new in MindManager 8

I’ve blogged about MindManager before as it is one of the main tools in my creative arsenal. If you haven’t tried MindManager before or have been curious about it, now is the best time to try it and dive into mind mapping. Here’s a few of the main new features in the new version.

What’s New in MindManager 8

Maps sharing: One of the main limitations of using MindManager before was that it was diffiult to share those maps with people who did not have it. Exporting to Word and other formats could only go so far and, for me at least, my MindManager maps did not create good client deliverables even if they were very useful to me internally.

With MindManager 8, we can now export maps directly to PDF with embedded interactive maps (a Flash movie from the map is embedded in the PDF). This is huge for me. We now can share our maps in a self contained and secure file format and email them to anyone or make them easily downloadable from any Web site. Secondly, MindManager 8  also export directly to Flash itself so we can add interactive maps to our Web sites. You can check out how that feels by looking at the map on the MindManager 8 product page on MindJet’s Web site.

Integrated Microsoft Office File Editing & Embedded Web Browser: MindManager 8 can now display Web pages or edit MS Office documents right from within MindManager’s interface. For me this is a very welcome addition as I often want to add links to Web pages to map topics. Now I don’t have to copy paste as there’s an “Add to Map” button right in the embedded browser.

Integrated Content & services: It is now possible to add search topics, RSS feeds or connections to databases directly in maps by using what MindJet calls “Map Parts” that connect to search engines and other services or data stores. That way, topics in map can be kept fresh and relevant with updated data instead of being static.

Web services Map Parts included in MindManager 8 include Google, Yahoo and Windows Live (Search); MySpace and Facebook (social networking) and Amazon, eBay and StrikeIron D&B (eCommerce). Database linkers include Access, MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, Excel and text files.

These are just a few of the new features included in MindManager 8. I will post again on why you would want to use an application like MindManager but, in the meantime, you can read my previous posts on mind mapping from last year when I started using MindManager 7:

What About that Fireworks CS4?

Although the new version of Fireworks has been in public beta for a while now, I haven’t talked much about it here yet. Not because it’s not an exciting release, quite the opposite, but only because until a month ago I was basically working 2 full time jobs and since I turned a full time freelancer, I’ve worked hard at setting up my new business, re-branding its image and getting into my freelance groove. I’ll talk about all that later but I’m just saying that I just did not have the time to write anything meaningful about Fireworks CS4. This post is just a start.

Anyone who’s read this blog before or had to “endure” some of my long winded tirades about Fireworks’s development and direction in the last few years knows that I just haven’t been happy at all about a lot of what happened and a lot of the decisions that have been made during the development of the last 3 versions. On one hand, I have been a long time evangelist of the product but, on the other hand, one of its harshest critics as well. That’s because I care about it… a lot. Fireworks is one of the reasons I was able to build a nice Web design business for myself on the side while working a full time job in the printing industry. It enabled me to work faster and get ideas into concrete form easier than with any other graphic application I’ve used before or since. So it has long been a key part of my tool-set and now that I do this full time, it’s becoming even more important to me.

But there is a lot to be happy about in the new CS4 version. It still misses some long requested features but it has finally started moving in the right direction again and actually made a huge leap forward.

If you do not want to download and install beta software and are not interested in reading lengthy new features descriptions, please just take a few minutes to watch this video on Adobe TV that features Alan Musselman (who is an application architect from the Fireworks team) demonstrating some of the key new features and improvements in Fireworks 4.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been this excited about a new Fireworks release but this one really is a fantastic and worthwhile upgrade. Beyond the UI changes, most of the new features go to work flow efficiency and ease of use which have been Fireworks’ main strengths from the beginning. With this release, it’s really starting to shape up like the creative powerhouse application it was always promised to become. I can’t wait to see how much further Fireworks will jump with the CS5 version…