The upgrade to MindManager's brainstorming and planning package, launched in November, adds significant new features, giving users the ability to query databases and import resulting data, and to export dynamic mind maps to Adobe's Shockwave file format.
The ability to import search engine results directly into MindManager is also a major enhancement.
We installed MindManager 8 on a Windows XP Professional system in under 10 minutes and could easily import maps created with version 7.0, which were rendered without errors as far as we could tell, and start using MindManager 8's new features.
New in this version is the ability to produce dynamic read-only maps allowing other people who do not have the MindManager client package to see the map content as PDF or PowerPoint content. Exporting the map to a Shockwave file is also possible for serving off a website. It was simple to export to a PDF and view the contained mind map.
Users can also now drag and drop web search results directly onto mind maps, with support for Google, Microsoft Live Search and Yahoo search engines. We could easily perform searches and drag results into MindManager. The links produced are clickable, and users can choose to have the web site displayed in MindManager using Mindjet's browser or outside MindManager using a standard browser.
When users press the insert tab in version 8, they will see a new tab appear on the map sub-topic called 'databases', which allows users to add, browse, configure or manage database connections.
We could easily pick up and connect to all the database connections we had, and then search through the data. For example, we could connect to an Excel spreadsheet containing benchmark results, and search specific sheets for text strings. Column names can also be used to filter the search, and the results can be added straight into MindManager.
Ad-hoc queries can be time-consuming with some databases, so MindManager 8 can be used to connect to databases and run reports against the data they contain on-the-fly.
Database support includes IBM DB2, Microsoft Access, Excel and SQL Server, MySQL and Oracle. We could connect to a SQL Server 2008 database, but as yet there appears to be no SQL Server 2008 support.
In MindManager 8 users can also set up Mindjet Connect options allowing project team members to access the same map online and edit and change it in real time.
Mindjet also launched MindManager Web, a software-as-a-service application giving users the ability to collaborate and use MindManager online, albeit without the full functionality of the standalone client software package.
Overall, this is a good update to the MindManager standalone client software, but combining it with a Connect or Web subscription would deliver more benefits for project management teams.
MindManager 8 costs £199 + VAT and MindManager Web costs £8 per user per month on a one-year subscription.