Thinkmap reveals the big data picture

By Chad Hammond, InfoWorld |  Software

Combined with the easy-to-navigate Property Manager, the preview window enables developers to create, test, and deploy applications to users relatively quickly; prototype applications can be created in a matter of days and complete implementation time can be as little as three weeks.

Thinkmap Studio provides three different Thinkmap display types: spider, bubble, and chronology. A spider Thinkmap displays data objects with radiating lines connected to related objects; a bubble Thinkmap displays objects as a formatted list. The chronology Thinkmap displays objects on a time line; using slider controls, the end-user controls what time period is displayed.

Developers can set actions carried out within a Thinkmap application, such as a mouse click or mouse over, to send JavaScript commands to a user's browser. This JavaScript capability provides developers with tremendous flexibility in interacting with outside applications and greatly increases the business relevance of Thinkmap Studio.

For example, a customer navigating through a Thinkmap application displaying the online catalogue of an outdoor-gear store may click on a certain backpack. This single click can simultaneously center the display on the backpack and show related outdoor items, open an Adobe Acrobat file describing the item in another browser frame, and store the item number for inclusion in a shopping cart.

TheBrain Technologies and Inxight both offer software with visual content-navigation interfaces similar to a spider Thinkmap. Whereas Thinkmap offers developers greater control over the final appearance of an application and increased data interactivity compared with its competitors, the competing products currently offer better access to unstructured, or nondatabase, content.

Deploying a complex Thinkmap application will require some professional services assistance from Thinkmap. But with moderate training, most IT professionals, even nonprogrammers, should be able to maintain and expand existing Thinkmap applications without the cost of additional professional services. Those experienced with Java and JavaScript will be able to coax much more functionality and flexibility from their applications.

Thinkmap Studio relies on the value derived from providing information consumers with increased access to relevant data to justify the $20,000 TAS price tag. E-commerce sites seeking increased cross-selling opportunities and companies looking to put a dynamic, engaging interface on their existing knowledge management applications should take a look at the unique data-visualization capabilities offered by Thinkmap Studio.

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