Revision of Free your mind with Freemind from Sun, 10/14/2007 - 16:36

When planning a project, whether it's an essay or software, there's a tendency to try to capture ideas in a linear fashion, organizing them as you draw them forth from your mind. The classic example of this is attempting to write an orderly outline as the first step of composing an essay.

The problem with this approach is that combining brainstorming and structuring can actually hinder both processes. On the one hand, without the raw ideas visualized, you can become trapped in structural dead ends. And on the other hand, adhering to a prematurely conceived structure makes it harder to call forth all the ideas efficiently. Anyone who has been stuck partway through a stubbornly dysfunctional outline knows this dilemma all too well.

In other words, it's often better to separate the two processes: get all the ideas down first in a nonlinear way, then organize. Mind mapping is great for this kind of two step brainstorming. A mind map is a diagram that represents ideas arranged around a central concept. It's a nonlinear way to organize and visualize ideas.

Freemind is a free mind mapping application written in Java that will help anyone who plans projects, for example: developers, writers, conference presenters, and students.