Any Interest in an ActivityOwner Tools Add-in for the Ribbon Toolbar?

The blog has been relatively quiet for past several months so I’m not sure how many regular readers and tool users are swinging by the site or following by email, RSS, or twitter, but here is a question:

How much interest do you have in an add-in that adds an “ActivityOwner Tools” menu to the MindManager Ribbon Toolbar?

Based on some tips and a template provided on the MindManagerDev Yahoo Group by Nigel Goult of Olympic Limited on how to build a mindmanager add-in, I’ve been able to figure out how to create a prototype ActivityOwner Tools Add-in. Here is a screenshot of the menu:

You can install the current prototype to see how it works. The add-in assumes you have already installed the latest version of the existing setup program for the site’s tools such as Map2Excel, MindReader, Mark Task Complete, and Next Action Analysis. Although several of these tools are oriented towards ResultsManager users, several have general use as well. The Ribbon provides a more convenient and expandable interface than the current method of using GyroQ or manually assigning macros to the topic context menu. As one example, there was discussion recently about how inaccessible the “save all maps” option is under the file menu. This was easy to add as a button here. It may also be less intimidating to new users in terms of the startup and learning curve.

Pursuing this beyond the 30-day trial I’m evaluating for Microsoft Visual Studio, will require an investment on my part, so I’d like to gauge interest first.

I’ve pursued this blog on a strictly non-for-profit basis over the years. I plan to keep it that way, but have always thought that perhaps at some point I might use the platform to raise some money for a charity. Unfortunately a cause has come along, in the form of a rare disease that is impacting a close family member. I’d like to raise some money to send to a university research center that is focused on this disease and that has been supportive of the family. To that end I’ve added a DONATE page to the site.

If enough interest shows up in the comments below, and particularly if it interest turns up in small paypal donations, I’ll spring for the cost of Visual Studio and continue developing the ribbon add-in based on your needs and feedback.





22 Comments »

  1. Andrew Wilcox said,

    March 12, 2011 @ 6:41 am

    I am always interested, if not for myself but for the needs of my clients.

  2. Rob said,

    March 12, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    I think it would be a great idea.

  3. Marco said,

    March 12, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    I think it is a great idea, I use some tools everyday but many more I use far too infrequently to remember the commands. A toolbar will absolutely solve that, and it would also help “noobs” get to know the tools more easily.

  4. Marco said,

    March 12, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    I installed the MM8 toolbar. When I started MindManager for the first time after the install, there was an error: Uable to connect to the “AORibbon.Connect” Addin.
    The Addin is now disabled.

  5. ActivityOwner said,

    March 12, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    Thanks Marco — I agree on issue of remembering commands. In deciding what to put on the toolbar, I found several I had forgotten about. Other I think I’ll use more frequently. For example, opening maps on keyword seems more natural as a “click, keyword, enter” rather than control-Q, o, keyword, enter. There is also the opportunity to pre-define some buttons for some common keywords like “next week”.

    I am not sure what is behind your error. I just uploaded a new version 8 add-in and tested it out OK on a MM8 machine. What version of MM8 do you have installed? This is built on 8.2.319 so you may need to upgrade to that. Can you try again?

  6. Tom said,

    March 12, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

    Exactly the Same problem over here: keep forgetting these commands.A toolbar woud be of great help.

  7. Travis Carnahan said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 12:26 am

    Definitely interested for MM8!

  8. Stefan said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 5:36 am

    Hi ActivityOwner,

    I am using your tools for years now and visit this blog regularily.
    I agree with the statements above that available commands would be much more visible.
    A toolbar would be very good for that.
    I suspect that it will work with MM9 SP2 too, so I will try the beta next week.

    Thank you very much for all your support!!

    Best regards

    Stefan

  9. Rennie said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 5:52 am

    I strongly recommend that we all support ActivityOwner’s donation request. This man puts an enormous amount of time into his tools and they are genuinely useful. He is a very generous man and does not seem to have any interest in capitalizing on his effort or applications of the GTD time management principles. Indeed, a donation to his charity of choice is another way of paying for the software that will benefit humanity and not undercut other developers who charge for MM add-ins.

    I think it’s time for ActivityOwner tools to hit the MM and Outllook stage of very useful add-ins.

    Come on Guys, Donate Now,

    Rennie

  10. ActivityOwner said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 8:13 am

    Thanks everyone — keep the comments (and donations) coming. I’m glad the post has reached several of you. On the other hand, in some ways I’d feel more successful if you were just busy getting things done :-).

    I got the “activityowner tools” add-in in pretty good shape yesterday. It still needs cosmetic improvements in icons, tab order, help, etc., but it now provides a pretty good ribbon interface to mindreader, naa, etc. You can use this in parallel with your existing GyroQ-based configuration without disturbing anything. Just make sure you installed the latest setup163.exe (or greater) for that so you have a few new macros that are needed. It has a few direct buttons for things like opening “my maps\dashboards\dailyactions.mmap” and “my maps\daily capture map.mmap” as well as the popular procrastination enablers “next week” and “next month”.

    http://wiki.activityowner.com/index.php?title=ActivityOwner_Tools_Add-in

    I also have created a separate add-in for map2excel:

    http://map2excel.com

    I think this will have broader use in the MindManager community beyond the ResultsManager users. The add-in also incorporates map2table and map2outline.

  11. Map2Excel Add-in Available » ActivityOwner.Com – Getting Things Done with MindManager said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 11:20 am

    […] that the ActivityOwner Tools Add-in is also fairly functional now and ready for testing and […]

  12. ActivityOwner said,

    March 13, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

    What are folks thoughts on the interface? I’m wondering if it would make sense to split out marktaskcomplete as its own add-in and allow more room for buttons for setting repeating task frequency and other configuration access.

  13. Mal said,

    March 14, 2011 @ 6:25 am

    Hey AO,
    Let me add my comments on your great work over the last few years. As you know I am always asking for tweaks and small changes. I like to think I have helped in a small way but my thanks go to you 110% for keep working on this stuff and making it available for others to benefit from.

    As a heavy GyroQ user I will probably still use that as my main means for common functions but I agree with the others in saying that the biggest benefit will be in having rarely used (but often forgotten) tags more visible.

    I tried to run using MM9 but I get the same problem as Marco above. Not sure what his resolution was. Appreciate any comments.

    Now for a further development. I have written a couple of small macros that I would love to be able to get onto the toolbar for my own usage. Can you suggest a way of being able to do that? The only way I can think of is to rename my custom macro to be the same as one of the AO macros. Probably effective but not very elegant…. If you have a better way I would be keen to hear it.

    Cheers

  14. ActivityOwner said,

    March 14, 2011 @ 7:35 am

    Hi Mal — I was also thinking about having a few configurable buttons for custom user macros. I was ready to hijack a RM button until learning how to do this. I also think buttons for common markup would be handy (e.g. “waiting for somebody next week”).

    Can you test to see if you have the same installation issue with Map2Excel? If others have had success or problems it would be helpful in determining if its islocated or widespread. I’ll try to post a new version this evening. I recoded mindreader in VB, which might make it faster. Also, fyi, the “before (b tag)” button isn’t working as desired (particularly on dashboards).

  15. Marco said,

    March 15, 2011 @ 7:04 am

    Hi ActivityOwner,

    Sorry for not responding to your suggestion before – I was indeed busy getting other things done ;-)
    After an upgrade to MM8.2 the toolbar is working great, thanks for that!
    I’ve kept myself from upgrading MM and RM, because I understand users were having problems – and since my setup was working fine there was no need. I haven’t tested whether everything still works yet, keeping my fingers crossed.

  16. Update on The ActivityOwner.Com MindManager Add-ins » ActivityOwner.Com – Getting Things Done with MindManager said,

    March 27, 2011 @ 12:29 am

    […] I wanted to provide an update on my project of converting tools on the activityowner.com site to MindManager Add-ins. […]

  17. ActivityOwner said,

    April 2, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    Mal — re: “I have written a couple of small macros that I would love to be able to get onto the toolbar for my own usage.”

    see: http://www.activityowner.com/2011/04/02/mymapmacros-launch-your-mindmanager-macros-from-the-ribbon-toolbar/

  18. Bob said,

    September 16, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Will the MindReader add-in work with MindManger 2012 which is being released in October?

  19. ActivityOwner said,

    September 16, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    I will need to recompile it for 2012 but I imagine it should work fine. I have not participated in the beta so don’t know what is in store.

  20. Andreas said,

    December 29, 2011 @ 7:38 am

    Hello,

    i installed MindReader on the Version 9.

    When i want to create a task with Mindreader2 i get this error message: Mindreader Installation/Migration. If you have already completed migration, Choose cnacel It is probably a bug!

    Any idea?

  21. ActivityOwner said,

    December 31, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    Hi Andreas — It appears there is a bug in the initial setup of the mindreader configuraiton map for new users. Most/all early adopters of the compiled add-in already had a configuraiton map so this went unnoticed. I will look into it.

    In meantime, the solution would be to install the “Mindreader for GyroQ” version and have that get the configuration map set up for you initially.

  22. ActivityOwner said,

    December 31, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    OK — Problem found and fixed I think. The problem was that at one point in the development I renamed the program from “AORibbon” to “MindReader2” and that change the name of the program files folder the starter configuration map was installed in. At that point the initial users had all had their configurations in place so it didn’t trigger issues.

    Give the latest (2.0.0047) version a try.

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