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Slatebox.js 0.5.0 Released

I’m very excited to announce the inaugural open-source release of Slatebox.js 0.5.0. This brings all of the simplicity of Slatebox’s mind-mapping and concept drawing into the hands of Javascript developers, including real-time collaboration powered by the SignalR library.

You can check it all out here: http://dev.slatebox.com/

The latest Slatebox source can be easily served from our CDN:

http://static.slatebox.com/dev/js/0.5.0/slatebox.min.js (74KB, gzipped and minified, including all dependencies except jquery)

http://static.slatebox.com/dev/js/0.5.0/slatebox.js (for development)

As always, please hit me up at tim@slatebox.com with any questions. Thanks!

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Fixed image export; image search…

Apologies to those of you frustrated with the image searching and the image exporting; we’ve fixed the issues and continue working on the education dashboard. Thanks for all your patience! Please let me know if either image searching or image exporting is not working as you expect.

Have fun :)

Tags: image export
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300% Increase in speed

Hooray, we’ve made saving and exporting slates on Slatebox 300% faster! Because there is no save button in Slatebox, everything is always automatically saved. Due to increased growth and the way slates were nested in our database, slates were taking longer to save, and in some sad cases slates were getting corrupted. Some folks lost a couple, and I’m very sorry about that. 

But no longer will you suffer under the weight of slow saving or exporting; now, your slates will save and export as fast as you can make them! We’ve made the path to accessing the data in your slates much simpler and more straightforward in the back-end system, and the result is a much snappier experience.

Please let us know at support.slatebox.com if you run into any trouble.

Enjoy the new speed!

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Developer Preview - the future ZUI and real-time web

Whew. It’s been a crazy last three months. Slatebox, the open-source, Prezi-style, ZUI (zooming user interface) engine is nearly ready for developer consumption!

While Slatebox has traditionally  been known as a mind-mapping tool (and will continue to grow this functionality as SlateMind), its horizons are shifting to align with the forthcoming developer preview release. The Slatebox developer platform is intended to provide a viable, full-stack replacement for traditional application user interfaces. Instead of the fragmentation found in traditional UIs, interfaces built using Slatebox rest on top of an infinite canvas: whether panning or zooming, the “Slate” will deliver the UI in an expressive, non-linear form.

What do we know about applications so far? The single most important truth: “feature-reach” software is dying software. A close second: technology is not an end in itself, and protectionism is medieval. Software must always be delivering beautiful content with an incredible user experience. So. The Slatebox development platform is both opinionated, and open source. 

Opinionated? Yes. The application structure follows specific conventions. The deployment is through a GitHub service hook. The entire app consists of structured javascript and CSS files, with optional “callouts” to a proxy app built in whatever language you’d like, as long as it adheres to RESTful principles. You will easily be able to spin up a hello world app in less than five minutes.

Baked into every app is the goodness of the real-time web, thanks to the amazing work of SignalR — an open-source library for delivering real-time communication.

Create a github repository, set up the Slatebox service hook, then “git push origin master” and your app will automatically be deployed for your testing on the Slatebox app store.

I’m very excited! While not stellar quality, the little video provides a snippet of the first app I’ve been creating using the platform for TIES, a consortium of school districts in Minnesota. Visit Slatebox and stay tuned for more information.

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A new look, a better roadmap!

Slatebox is more beautiful than ever with a completely new logo and design. Enjoy!

We’ve also spent time deliberately casting a wider vision throughout the site by rebranding the core mind mapping app as SlateMind, and emphasizing Slatebox as a platform for ‘off-rail’, real-time applications instead of merely a single mind-mapping app. We are committed to mind-mapping as ever, and SlateMind will be the defacto standard app that ships with every Slatebox account, but as we reach out to developers, it’s increasingly important to convey Slatebox as a platform that provides a unique user experience for a multitude of applications far beyond the scope of just mind-mapping. Slatebox has always been designed as a platform, and the re-branding done today is in sync with the long-term vision.

We’ll have plenty more to come!

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Resize many nodes at once

Now the multi-selecting includes proper re-sizing. (And there was much rejoicing.) Simply use the resize icon in the lower right of the box surrounding the selected nodes to resize all the nodes at once:

Slatebox Node Resizing

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Multi-select nodes

Now you can select a group of nodes easily using the new multi-select link in the upper-left of the slate. Just click this link and select a group of nodes by dragging across the slate to include the nodes you’d like to include. You will be able to move and delete the selected nodes easily. Resizing is coming soon.

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Once selected, the group will be contained by a background rectangle:

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You can simply drag this rectangle around to move the group, or click DEL on your keyboard to be prompted to remove the entire group:

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Please let us know at support AT slatebox.com if you have any questions. Thanks!

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Keyboard Shortcuts

A handful of keyboard shortcuts have been added to make it easier to delete or add nodes to your slate. While hovering over a node, you can now:

  • Use the RIGHT ARROW key to create a new, detached node
  • Use the DOWN ARROW key to create a new, attached node
  • Use the DELETE key to remove the node.

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Also, there was a brief outage while the slate image export wasn’t working as expected — but that’s been fixed.

Have fun!

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Slatebox: An Overview Video

I’ve gotten a number of requests to provide more help documentation, and thought I would embed a new video that gives a succinct overview of Slatebox and its capabilities.

Additionally, here are a couple links to other online help documentation.

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Resource Links Are Here!

More documentation to follow, but you can now embed URLs on your nodes to provide external links. Please email support AT slatebox.com if you have questions. Thanks!

Slatebox Resource Links