Sunday, December 25, 2005

Compendium progress

Compendium has now surpassed 6000 downloads, there are almost 300 members of the compendiuminstitute yahoogroup, and we are up to version 1.4.1. A tremendous amount of progress.

Maarten just visited here for a couple of days, and we were talking about how great all this was, but also that it still seems like much of the potential has not been tapped. We were doing things with lashed-together tricks and QuestMap in the 1990s that were in some ways beyond what anyone, including either of us, have done with the current Compendium software (at least that we've seen publicly).

Part of this is because it remains difficult to talk about what Compendium is really good at and good for, that make it different from other tools. Things like the ability to interweave formal and informal representations, to span the diverse areas of group process facilitation, visual modeling, software integration (talking to and from other tools). To do things in a moment that are also of use in the future, and to draw on what was done in the past, in direct and connected ways (connected in the ways that Compendium lets you connect). To make artifacts of many different sorts.

To me these are not at all separate or contradictory domains, but it does seem like they are for most people, or at least that none of us have come up with ways to make them live in a coherent way outside a small core group of obsessives. People that are interested in one or two of these areas are not interested in the others. I am going to try to write more carefully about this and show some examples.

Since in a blog I don't have to meet any particular standards (e.g. academic/research writing, or business/marketing, or user support, or any of the ways I have tried to write about Compendium in other places), I will here try to let go somewhat and write about Compendium as I have experienced it, without worrying about how it fits in to or measures up to other perspectives.

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