Publishing to the Web

BrainStorm can publish an entire model as a single Web page which can be navigated and viewed by colleagues and friends, even if they are not BrainStorm users.

You will have chosen either to include the JavaScript 'mind-reader' or to output plain HTML.

In the first case, the published model will work either just like BrainStorm, be a little slower, or display as an outline. Depending on the sophistication of their Web browser, the published model will appear as a very snappy model which reacts instantly to their bidding, a slower one which has to reload itself to reflect each change of status, or as a static outline. The BrainStorm model will render itself in the best way possible according to the browser being used.

For the best results the user needs JavaScript and the ability to store temporary cookies.

In the second case, you will have output a plain HTML file which can be understood by many programs, including Microsoft Word.

Appearance will, generally speaking, depend on the age of the viewing program. Older programs are likely to display the six standard HTML heading levels which actually shrink to a size smaller than the default font. Information from the seventh level downwards will show at the same level and be in the default font.

A more modern program will show levels one to six in fonts which gradually shrink in size and emphasis until they reach the default size of levels seven and later. However, these lower levels, apart from the bottom-most, continue to indent.

All levels except the bottom-most have bullets. Within Word, you can set up heading styles and through the Bullets and Numbering Format options, you can elect to keep or override the HTML settings.

To avoid huge headings and, more irritatingly, huge text when publishing shallow models, BrainStorm uses the lower level headings only. Thus a three level model will use normal text, headed by level 6 and then level 5.

When the Publish HTML button is pressed, a dialogue box appears after you supply a filename:

First, the right-hand side of the dialogue: Licenced users may change the message that appears at the foot of each Web 'page'. (The word 'page' is in quotes because the whole model is technically a single page.)

The default message is:

Effortlessly published by [your name] using the BrainStorm thought assistant software

As a licenced user, you may replace any element of this using your own words. You may also replace the default BrainStorm link with one of your own. Instructions for doing this appear in the dialogue box.

Now for the left-hand side: . You may elect to output plain HTML or the full JavaScript enabled 'mind-reader' version of your model.

In the first case the detailed options are greyed out. In the second case, you may change what appears on the button tops in the published model. For example, you may prefer + instead of = for a heading (Demote) or an entry with descendants (Promote). You may prefer Prev and Next instead of < and > for the Namesakes. Unless you are embedding your own HTML navigation buttons in your BrainStorm entries, it is best to ensure you have something defined for the Promote and Demote buttons. An empty definition suppresses the display of that button.

Any changes you make here will be attached to the current model. The HTML publishing preferences in the Options menu allows you to change the default settings for all of your models. By pressing the 'Revert' button in the dialogue box, you can switch from model settings to user settings to default BrainStorm settings.

You may also allow users to jump directly to a specific entry number, by enabling "Goto entry #". This means that if a user is working on your model and they want to take a break, they can press the Numbers button at the top of the model view to see what entry number they are at. The next time, they press the Goto button and provide the destination entry number.

Sometimes (in a structured training model, for example) you might prefer to suppress the Goto button.

General notes on Web-publishing with BrainStorm

You can embed HTML codes into your BrainStorm entries to produce this kind of thing:

HTML tags give the ability to link to external URLs such as pictures, websites and deep inside other Web-enabled BrainStorm models. (In theory, at least, it would be possible to wrap the world with interlinked BrainStorm models. In essence, create a huge megabrain.) As with all forward links on the Internet, if the destination model changes, then the link may end up pointing to the wrong place or nowhere at all. It is perhaps most useful when you have control of all the elements.

Examples of HTML tags you can embed within BrainStorm entries:



<img src="picture.gif">

<a href="">link to a Web site</a>

<a href="">link to a page within a Web site</a>

<a href="">link to an entry within a web-published BrainStorm model on a Web site</a>

The only non-standard entry is the one that links to the entry within the BrainStorm model. When viewing a destination model with the BrainStorm mind-reader, use the 'Numbers' button to find out the internal number of the entry. Then put this in your link following the model name, prefixing the number with a # and following it with an E.


Here is a real example taken from a multi-choice training model:

The BrainStorm model containing HTML coding:

This contains a number of images, each associated with an entry number. When the image is clicked by the mind-reader user, they are taken to the appropriate entry.

Here's how it looks in the mind-reader:

In order for this to work, the folder containing the HTML model also contained the graphical images. If you are publishing such models to the web, this is easy to organise. If sharing by email, don't forget to send the image files as well.

Experiment as much as you like, dodging between BrainStorm and the published model. (Don't forget the use the Refresh button in your Web browser if the changes don't appear.) When you are happy with the organisation of your model, press the 'Numbers' button in the mind-reader model and match the linking images to the entry numbers. Patch them into the BrainStorm model. When everything works, get rid of the official buttons by making each button top blank.

See also Publish HTML

Important: Browsers will only be able to view BrainStorm mind-reader models if JavaScript and temporary cookies are allowed. The cookies keep track of where you are.