Navigate / search

Mind Mapping

I’ve been playing with mind mapping recently as a way of organizing my thinking on sometimes very broad subjects. As an example I’ve uploaded a Software Engineering mind map to Mindmeister.com.

This mindmap is partly a way of remembering the various technologies that I’ve worked with or know about, and partly a todo list of technologies that I’d like to look at.

I was going to create two maps where I would migrate items from one map to the other as I learned about them, but in truth that would be pointless. If you haven’t used a technology in the last few months, it will be as good as new to you should you try to use it again.

With that in mind I would need to constantly review the “things I know” map, to move items back to the “things I’d like to know” map.

Something I would like to do is split this map into 4 or 5 maps, one representing each of the major branches. It’s getting a bit unwieldy at the moment. If I do that I would need simple drill down and up linking between the maps.

The greatest benefit for me right now is that when I hear about a new product or technology, I can access the map from any machine and add a reminder to myself to look into it in the future, and by adding it to the appropriate place on the map, it will be there should I ever need to use something in that space.

For example, at DDD South West I was introduced to NCrunch. So, NCrunch gets added to the map in the Testing area. Now, whenever I glance at the testing area of the Map, NCrunch is there, along with all the other related tools.

The quest for syntax highlighting

I’m having a hell of a time displaying source code in blog posts. I’ve found no end of plugins but all of them seem to have issues. Here’s my latest effort, and it seems to be the best solution so far.

I’m using the “SyntaxHighlighter Evolved” plug-in for WordPress. It handles indents which is a good start, I had a lot of trouble getting any solution that maintained the formatting of code, which let’s face it is kind of the point.

public class Controller
    {
        private int _sampleSize;
        private ICoinFlipObserver _observer;

        public Controller(int sampleSize)
        {
            _sampleSize = sampleSize;
        }

        public void AddObserver(ICoinFlipObserver observer)
        {
            _observer</span> = observer;
        }

        public void RunSimulation()
        {

        }
    }

One nice feature is the ability to show the code collapsed, and let the user click to expand it by clicking on it. The title that shows for the collapsed code can also be configured, handy if your post shows multiple listings. Unfortunately once the user has expanded a listing, they can’t collapse it again, this seems like a bug.

Another nice feature of this plugin is the ability to highlight lines of code as seen above with lines 7-9 and 13-16. It’s achieved with a comma separated list of lines, and it allows ranges. There’s another little bug there, when specifying the lines to highlight, I couldn’t say “7-9,13-16”, I had to say “7,7-9,13-16”. It appears the first item needs to be an individual line, after that it works as normal.

If these are the only issues I encounter I’ll be happy to keep using it.