Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit - #3 Context is King
by Steve Critchlow, Group Managing Director, on 18-Oct-2016 08:00:00
MapInfo Pro in 64-bit is well and truly up and running!
From early on in the development and release process to now and in the future, Critchlow have been involved in helping Pitney Bowes test the design concepts and functionality of all MapInfo Pro releases.
And now that more and more MapInfo Pro users are switching over to the 64-bit version, we want to make sure that you're up to speed with how it works and are getting the most out of it.
We've compiled some helpful tips to get you started...
This blog is the third of four in our 4 Steps to Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit series and focuses on the benefits of the new ribbon interface.
Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit
#3 Context is King
Your amazing brain...
Your brain is amazing. Think of all of the complex things that it allows you to do - walking, running, driving a car, holding a conversation, creating a map.
Now take one of these examples, like driving a car, and think of all the individual steps that are required to undertake that task. I'm thinking that you didn't finish the list?
Well, and here’s the interesting thing, you’ve learnt all of the steps to drive a car individually but because you brain wants to work as efficiently as possible it has created habits for you that allow you to drive the car without you having to actively think about all of those individual steps required to do so.
Habits are your brain's way of grouping individual actions together in a way that requires your brain to expend the least amount of activity to achieve an outcome. It creates habits so that we can multitask.
Essentially, you brain creates habits so that at any given time it can respond quickly to any threats to your wellbeing – from being chased by a saber tooth tiger to sheltering from an earthquake while still being able to do everyday things. Habits allow the brain to work efficiency - its almost like a craving.
The new ribbon.
Well, if your brain craves efficiency then it’s going to love the ribbon interface for MapInfo Pro 64-bit.
The ribbon, very similar to that found in Microsoft Office, replaces the classic tools and menus interface of previous releases of MapInfo.
The essence of the ribbon is that it allows the grouping of related functionality – it’s about being able to find, access and execute functionality with the fewest possible clicks.
The grouping of functionality allows for workflows to be quickly built and learnt resulting in the outcome that your brain craves – efficiency.
The efficiency gains in the new ribbon are not constrained to just replacing the existing menus and tools with tabs and galleries as the ribbon has been built with a deep level of context sensitivity.
Context sensitivity means that the ribbon will dynamically change to the appropriate ribbon tab when it is appropriate to do so. For example, if you are working in a map window then the “Map” ribbon will be active showing the tools and galleries most appropriate for working with a Map window. While there is a default set of tabs that are always visible (even if not active) some ribbon tabs such as the “style” and “Label” tabs are only visible when you select the layer(s) from the layer control or explorer windows.
It’s simply about the right tools at the right time. Context sensitivity = efficiency.
Galleries and dynamic previews.
But wait, it gets better.
Not only does the ribbon improve efficiency through context sensitivity the inclusion of galleries and dynamic previews takes your productivity to a whole new level.
Galleries provide quick and often single-click access to functionality that used to take a number of clicks though various dialog boxes.
In a number of cases, the functionality within the galleries also provides for dynamic previews and the “label rules” gallery is a great example of this functionality.
When you hover your mouse over the gallery image of the different labelling rules the labels on the map will dynamically change to show you how the labels would look if that rule was applied. Not only that, the “label rules” gallery itself will change so only the rules appropriate to the type of map objects being labelled are displayed.
Again, context sensitivity driving efficiency, your brain’s going to love it.
Your brain is a busy organ that has some amazingly complex tasks that it needs to guide your body and mind through.
Luckily, the team at Pitney Bowes have done a fantastic job at making MapInfo significantly easier to use and allowing your brain to think about more important things (like what you're having for dinner).
Be sure to check out the other blog posts in the 4 Steps to Mastering MapInfo Pro 64-bit series and check out the Getting Familiar with MapInfo Pro 64-bit webinar series below. We're sure you'll like what you see!