Convert Trello boards to mind maps

This blog explains how to convert Trello boards into mind maps. Trello is great for managing lists and mind maps are awesome for brainstorming and looking at things from a “bird’s eye view”, which can work well when you have lots of lists.

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This blog post is a result of a personal need to see Trello boards as mind maps, If you do not know what mind maps are, please read a previous blog post about mind maps that I wrote back in 2013 … or simply google mind maps

There are a few benefits to converting Trello boards to mind maps:

  1. If you run it consistently (very easy to schedule my script), it means that you will have a snapshot of your Trello boards, essentially a version of your Trello board from the time you created it “frozen in time”.
  2. Mindmaps are awesome to see things at a high level, you may realize something by simply looking at the mind map.
  3. You can use the mind map to further brainstorm things that need to be done, and later add them to your Trello board.
  4. You can send the mind map to another person without sharing your Trello board.
  5. The script I wrote shows relationships between tasks when using parent / child management for Trello extension for Chrome, something that you cannot easily see when looking at the Trello board.

I am sure that there are more reasons to use the script, this is just a list of some of the more obvious ones.

What will you need?

  • A computer running PHP CLI (can be windows / mac / Linux based).
  • git – to grab my repository
  • composer for PHP (https://getcomposer.org)
  • A key and a token to the Trello API (https://developers.trello.com/get-started) – Press the big “Get your Application Key” button. Once you get the key, press the next link to get a token, you will need both to use the script.

How does it work?

The PHP script uses the Trello developer API to generate an XML file that can be read by freemind and iThoughts to generate a mind map view of the Trello board.

Getting started:

  1. Make sure that you can run PHP from the command line of your operating system of choice (I am using Mac, which has it built in).
  2. git clone my repository from https://github.com/asabi/trello2mindmap.git
  3. run “composer install” in the trello2mindmap folder (this will install the library I used to connect to the Trello API).
  4. Rename config.ini.template to config.ini
  5. Enter your key and token to the config.ini file
  6. execute the php script (php index.php)

The above instructions should result in a new .mm (freemind map file). The files are created under the “mindmaps” folder. There are many ways to open the file. Here are a few:

 

I hope you find this useful. Happy mind mapping 🙂