When trying Penpot for the first time I was eager to testdrive the Whiteboarding and Mapping kit from the template library. What I was hoping to find was an intuitive feature that would allow to organize collaborative sticky notes sessions.
There are many use cases, but in general it’d be great to have some brainstorming sessions related to the more detailed work of creating UX designs. And have those brainstorms be associated to the design (i.e. not in a separate tool).
What I found was that the kit isn’t really suited. It’s use case is as a drawing tool to add stickies to a design. It is too involved creating them, adding text, connecting with arrows and shifting them on the canvas. There’s too many distracting tool panels in the UI. What I was hoping for was something with the same ease-of-use as Miro (and likely Mural as well).
Penpot though is very close to providing that already. Note that AFAICS (and I did a lot of search) there is no good FOSS sticky notes whiteboarding tool. An opportunity?
What should the UX be like, more or less?
- It should be very basic. Minimalist, hiding all bells and whistles.
- There’d be a sidebar tool panel where a set of colored stickies can be dragged on the canvas.
- Like this: Drag sticky, place on canvas, type text, done.
- (You wouldn’t see internal objects of the sticky. Clicking it gives a cursor, and you type centered text)
- Text would auto-scale and the sticky would be resizable.
- Tool panel also contains Connector lines tool.
- Stickies have anchor points for the line tool to connect to.
- Connecting stickies with auto-routed lines, maybe ability to influence the route.
- Lines reroute when moving stickies.
- Delete sticky tool.
That’s the basics, most of it. There might be additional features over time, eg.
- Clicking a sticky shows a right panel with info who created it, ability to add comments, maybe see edit revisions, idk.
- Maybe an activity log (so you see who deletes your sticky all the time )
In addition it would be splendid if - besides various image exports - there’d be a data export (e.g. JSON) and maybe an API.
One particular use case I have (and I readily admit this goes beyond the main purpose for Penpot) is to do a data export of a sticky note session and do code generation based on that. This in the context of Domain Driven Design and event-driven architecture. Sticky diagrams are created in an Event Storming session with domain experts. There currently is an Elixir framework called Commanded, that allows sticky note diagrams created in Miro to be exported (see exported JSON examples) and then used to generate application boilerplate code. I’d very much like an all-FOSS way of doing something similar.