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3,103 post(s)
#20-Dec-17 22:31

I don't want to be presumptuous, but Adam's recent posts seem to indicate that many small updates are coming out to facilitate the move to an officially released product. That said, do any of you feel there are a few things to mop up before things get out? Maybe we can compile them here, and pass them along. For me, I was thinking:

1. Thematic mapping - you have equal interval and equal count, you should add natural breaks. I think the basic marginalia for layouts as well (i.e. legends, north arrow, scale bar, grids)

2. Query interface - I think keyword highlighting would be super helpful to understand our code. Also, I like the way SQL Server, Postgres, and others highlight parentheses to show which open parenthesis helps close a starting parenthesis. Also, the errors messages need to be more descriptive - there are too many 'invalid syntax' statements without any additional context. Of course, this doesn't add more functionality, but I think the time spent on this makes the product so much more usable.

3. Table -> Relations capability - This has been discussed previously, and I think it moves usability way forward.

Those are 3 big ones for me, based on the teaching I am doing with Future, and the comments I'm getting from people. I'll add more later...

Mike Pelletier

1,560 post(s)
#20-Dec-17 23:51

Art, they have also hinted at a big UI release. Hopefully that is another round of upgrades to drawing tools, style tools, and labeling, While things are progressing nicely, it seems quite far now from a full GIS in the caliber of Mfd 8.


514 post(s)
#21-Dec-17 00:39

I for one would like to seemlessly migrate several Mfd8 projects that contain map templates, and layout templates, to Future.

Also Surface tools and Business Tools are critical for most of what I do.

How soon?


8,516 post(s)
#21-Dec-17 02:42

This is subjective, obviously. I personally don't care as much about Art's 1 or 3, but for his point 2 I would repeat

keyword highlighting

and especially

highlight [matching] parentheses

I would still add most of these suggestions but if I had to pick one:

Means to zoom to and pan to the current object everywhere where that makes sense.

There is no show without that capability in my opinion.

And some means to save and name locations and come back to them.


5,251 post(s)
#26-Dec-17 09:35

another round of upgrades to drawing tools, style tools, and labeling

Yes, in progress. Key question: if you had to pick your top 3 items for drawing tools, top 3 for style tools, and top 3 for labeling, .... what would those be?

Mike Pelletier

1,560 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 20:20

Sorry I missed your request Dimitri from many moons ago.

For drawings, 1) a knife tool to slice (split) a line or area; 2) tool (or maybe a fast to setup SQL means) for clipping/merging objects for lines/areas; and 3) option to snap to a line/area between vertices.

For styles, 1) & 2) much more line options for controlling dashes, arrows, double lines, etc. Control ideally would be a means to design your own line styles but preset styles like in Mfd8 would help in short-term; and 3) allow those same line controls to be an option for the perimeter of areas.

For labels, 1) need to have labels follow curve of a line; 2) need to significantly improve the number of objects that get labeled; and 3) need a means to control where the line label gets placed along the line.

Thanks for asking.

160 post(s)
#21-Dec-17 04:25

On the table relations capability like Art I use relations constantly for daily work with M8. However I think the discussion here on implementing in M9 has not looked at the key add relation dialog box that makes it work in M8. In that you are looking at and thinking about both tables. So it seems to me the parallel place to do that in M9 would be a query window where you have both table structures in the lower left panel. Add some more right click options to enable the same as M8 does.

486 post(s)
#21-Dec-17 22:34

On Art's suggestion re: Thematic mapping and Styles, in Manifold 8 I could change the thickness of borders of areas however I haven't found a way in MF x.14 . I would request consideration in a future release for the ability to change the colour and thickness of area borders. Thanks.


933 post(s)
#23-Dec-17 00:36

Rank columns. "Decision Support System" in 8 gets my nomination.

Criterion "Interval" preset display in current 8 needs fixing; it doesn't display the custom value "upper" limit entered, just seems to increment the "lower" by 1, when re-visited, e.g. a lower value of 10 and upper of 60 / apply, when looking at properties for the criterion again will display lower 10 and upper 11. Lower 5 and upper 85 applied, will display 5 and 6 next time criterion properties is invoked, the actual values seem retained by the curve, but it's very confusing.


8,516 post(s)
#23-Dec-17 02:02

I think the fact that none of us agree on where the remaining holes are may mean that Manifold have done a good job of filling them.

If that’s right then Manifold 9 might be approximately feature ready.


3,103 post(s)
#23-Dec-17 02:41

Actually, it looks to me that there is some consensus. The table relations and the text time highlighting seem to get thumbs up from a number of people.

But I do tend to agree with you, as I am finding myself using MF more frequently than I use 8. That means for me, it is getting close.


3,103 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 03:30

Just wanted to revisit the good discussion we had in this thread. It has been almost 6 months, and these three topics haven't been implemented. It seemed that a few people were interested in #2 and #3. I think with the nice Edit -> Merge Images, Drawings, Labels functionality recently added, maybe adding Tables would be a good place for it.

Of course it would require a little tweaking: Images and Drawings use a Map component to access the individual drawings or images. Merging tables would require some kind of drop down to select the tables, and also the common field. But, the Edit -> Merge menu would still be a nice home for the functionality.

There is a way of course to write an SQL statement to merge the tables, but it would be nice to be able to have a relation, and then use SQL to update a column or permanently add a column from another table.


5,251 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 06:16

It has been almost 6 months, and these three topics haven't been implemented. It seemed that a few people were interested in #2 and #3.

"Seemed" is the right word. Annoying, isn't it, when too few people agree with one's priorities? :-)

Actually, it looks to me that there is some consensus. The table relations and the text time highlighting

seem to get thumbs up from a number of people.

There's that "seem" word again... :-) Well, sure. Thumbs up are easy. Why not? Yeah, sure I want that. Money for nothing and I don't have to work? You bet. Count me in. Thumbs up.

That is one way in which social media differs from reality. The thumbs up mechanism avoids contact with the real world where priority matters. On social media you can thumbs up to everything. In the real world, a thumbs up to everything means a thumbs up to nothing.

In the real world of 15,000 desires you get to pick which ones should be done first, which ones get done later and which ones not at all.

In the real world, there are two decisive factors:

1) He who pays the piper calls the tune. I picked an ancient phrase to underscore this rule is thousands of years old. Those who buy the product get a say in what gets done. Something that is required to generate many sales takes overwhelming priority over something that will generate no new sales.

2) Bang for the buck. All other things being equal, if a given engineering project can result in making ten desires happen that project will get prioritized ahead of the same effort being invested into a project that makes only one desire happen.


If anyone wants to vote in the above process, follow the tips in the Suggestionspage.

Occasionally even very sensible people, who know better than to think everyone must agree with them, are puzzled why something they suggested has not been done. For whatever reason, it seems odd that something they think is easy has not yet been done. Items 2 and 3 in Art's list are good candidates for that, especially considering how I personally would like them as well. :-)

But when you analyze them using the two decisive factors you see maybe that is not so puzzling: what sells more product is having a killer spatial SQL that is automatically parallel. That's a distinction. Syntax highlighting is nice to have, but not having it isn't going to stop anybody who needs a killer, parallel, spatial SQL from buying the product.

Likewise, the sort of person who has the skills to use a killer spatial SQL knows how to do what 8-style relations allow the less skilled to do.

I guess that's a key factor as well: if already there is a way to get what you want, then people tend to prioritize getting what they don't have at all ahead of an improvement in something that is already there but which could be more convenient.

But the above is pure speculation. If you really want to know why other people have suggested other things as priorities over what it is you personally advocate, you have to ask those people.

That's not so easy to do given that people will tell you what you want to hear on social media. You have to get out there and grind it out one interviewee at a time: "Well, OK. You gave me a thumbs up on the forum. Did you send in a letter? No? Why not?" or "Well, what did you actually write in that letter? Why did you ask for that instead of syntax highlighting? Oh, I see..."

My own feeling is that given the good taste in programming in our engineering staff that sooner or later there will be syntax highlighting even though virtually no customers give a hoot about that. It's just cool and something worth doing for our own taste. Likewise, 8 style relations, where there is some real interest, albeit not remotely as much as for really hot demands.


230 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 09:57

That puts a bit of a dampner on the discussion dimitri.

...Those who buy the product get a say in what gets done

I'm paid up for a few licenses and wouldn't mind discussing what might be worth sending in to Suggestions. I'm sure Art is responsible for more than a few licenses too and is quite influential with his insights & discussion.

I guess its your forum.


5,251 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 10:55

I guess its your forum.

? Well, no actually, it's not. Why are you being hostile towards me for offering my analysis why what Art recommended hasn't gotten traction?

That puts a bit of a dampner on the discussion dimitri.

? That's a strange thing to say. In what way does practical advice on how to get your way dampen a discussion?

Art seemed to be asking why what he asked for is not getting done, pointing at thumbs up in this thread as, apparently, a reason why he expected something he recommended should have been done.

Pointing out that thumbs up in a thread are not the same as voting is simply repeating what the Suggestions topic says.

...Those who buy the product get a say in what gets done

Are you saying there is something wrong with that?

I'm paid up for a few licenses and wouldn't mind discussing what might be worth sending in to Suggestions.

So... what's stopping you from discussing what might be worth sending in?

I don't see how to interpret Art's post as something other than puzzlement why something he advocated has not been done despite apparent support in this thread. My answer is simple, in that if you analyze the question using guidance offered in the Suggestions topic you can see the support for those ideas in this thread has not extended into actual votes.

I've done my bit in that, as I have, indeed sent in those requests as suggestions. Maybe you have as well. But you'd be surprised how many people don't actually do that, or who send in a suggestion saying the opposite or just simply advocating something else.

As for Art being influential, sure, of course his ideas carry weight. Everybody likes and respects Art. But whether his advocacy convinces other licensees is entirely up to them. How they choose to vote is up to them.

I like to think I can write a persuasive and useful suggestion that hits the sweet spot in terms of recommending something that is easy to do which very many people would like. I send those in all the time, and I know perfectly well that if the community prioritizes other things over my ideas those other things will, and should, get done first. That's life.

As to why it is that items 2 and 3, despite being pitched by Art and me, haven't yet appeared, I've offered my speculation on why so few people have asked for those. Why is it that you think so few people have asked for those?


230 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 11:26

Art seemed to be asking why what he asked for is not getting done

From they way I read it Art was making a segue into further discussion of those features, perhaps trying to bolster more support for them.

I didn't read it as him wanting to know why his demands had not been met.

Sometimes I find the diverting everything to "get your suggestions in" a bit of a show stopper. No offence meant - just how it appears to me.


5,251 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 13:40

Sometimes I find the diverting everything to "get your suggestions in" a bit of a show stopper. No offence meant - just how it appears to me.

Don't blame the messenger. Usually when I post "send in a suggestion" to a thread that indicates:

1) I, too, want what is being discussed.

2) I'm saying "Nobody has bothered to vote for this. If you really want this, speak up."


3,103 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 13:45

This post isn’t about me. so I am puzzled as to why my name has come up so frequently with associated psychoanalysis of my motivations :-) Perhaps it would be good to find out what my motivation was before launching into a lengthy analysis.

Starting out a post by saying “wanting to revisit this good discussion we had in this thread”, ackknowledges one thing: my interest in the good discussion in the thread, not some puzzlement that what I asked for was not given to me. Rather, it gives us an opportunity to further discuss amongst the user community.

I still think it is a worthwhile topic to discuss amongst users, especially given the new Edit -> Merge menu item. but as I indicated, it won’t be as straightforward since tables do not have the equivalent of a map component to gather them together.

Revisiting a discussion topic like this is also a good idea. It hurts nobody, engages the user community, and places no burden on the software engineering group at Manifold. Also, having watched enough Abbott and Costello as a kid, I am well familiar with the classic set up:

Wait, did you tell him....

No, I didn’t tell him, I thought you told him.

I didn’t tell him, I thought you did infinitim


5,251 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 14:00

especially given the new Edit -> Mergemenu item

Art, help me connect the dots on this. I don't see how the new Edit - Merge menu item is the stimulus to discussing your item #2, syntax highlighting, or item #3, Release 8 style relations. What's the driver you see?

In the for what it's worth department, I see a completely different driver: Merge is big for rasters, since before you could already merge vectors with a cut/paste but not so easy to do that with rasters. Once you start merging rasters, then that's a driver for many more raster features, like more raster transforms, vector to raster using GPU-enabled kriging, raster calculation, etc.


3,103 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 14:51

Edit -> Merge is related to #3, merging tables.


8,516 post(s)
#05-Jun-18 05:35

1) He who pays the piper calls the tune. ... Those who buy the product get a say in what gets done. Something that is required to generate many sales takes overwhelming priority over something that will generate no new sales.

Can I make an adjunct suggestion?

It might help if we could receive and buy "feature tokens"--analogous to support tokens--and spend them on feature requests.

They might cost, say, $US25 each, or $5, trivial. We might get 4 tokens automatically with any licence, then be left to buy more if and as needed.

A feature request would be required to use at least one feature token, but could add hundreds if necessary, even thousands of subjective tokens.

Engineering time to be allocated to the request would be proportionate to aggregated token value.

There would be no other criteria.

Engineers would be prevented from judging whether a feature would otherwise be a good idea for the product as a whole.


8,331 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 11:40

Art, if it helps, we have #1 (legends / grids / etc) and then #2 (syntax highlighting) in short-term plans. We do have a bit of movement in #1 every now and then, too (natural breaks that you mention - optimized and extended to handle way more data than 8, labels bound to areas, scaled halos / shadows, etc, these things are now done), this is a priority area. You and others kind of convinced us to do #2 (including some form of intellisense, because obviously syntax highlighting is just a gateway drug, we understand it :-) ) sooner rather than later.

We don't have #3 scheduled. We agree it is useful, but we see it as a nice-to-have and we have hundreds of things that we think would be about similarly nice to have. Maybe the short-term solution here is an addon that lists fields of two tables side-by-side, allows selecting the shared key, allows selecting the fields to map, then generates a query that does the work.


3,103 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 13:54

For #3: as Dimitri said (and I stated as well), there is an SQL solution for this that isn’t terribly difficult. Perhaps someone here can write an example SQL query to illustrate it (I may take a shot at it this weekend), or you can create an example in the help document.

Given that the solution is readily achievable with an introductory knowledge of SQL, it is probably more expedient to present an example query for users to cut and paste than to introduce a new tool.


6,283 post(s)
#01-Jun-18 15:17

The SQL solution for this that isn’t terribly difficult would be much quicker clicked together if we had multiselect in the Query builder and this list of selected tokens - usually fieldnames - would be pasted concatenated with comma seperators. Low hanging fruit, I think, and useful in many situations.


8,331 post(s)
#02-Jun-18 14:05

I know that's not multi-selecting, but right-clicking a table in the query builder list and selecting Insert Field List will insert the names of all fields in that table separated with a comma. This might help sometimes.


6,283 post(s)
#02-Jun-18 15:20

Thx, Adam, how could I have overlooked? I have explicitly translated his menu item. And I have stared translation of the GUI hoping thus to automatically dive into every corner of the evolving GUI.

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