There are so many applications that are going from stand-alone to web based. The most recent example of the is the “Light” Online Version of Photoshop that Adobe plans to launch. Whenever I’ve need to make a diagram, I’ve turned to Microsoft’s Visio to get the job done. Now there are several web-based options for creating diagrams, and one of them is called Gliffy.
Because it is web-based, you don’t have to worry about installing any software like Visio. And on top of that, it’s a free solution (Visio costs $$). While it can’t do everything that a stand-alone option could, it can do a lot, and I was impressed.
Here’s what you can do:
Create flowcharts using typical flow chart shapes.
Create network diagrams with objects like firewall, comm link modem, fax, router, etc.
Create User Interface wire-frames.
Create floor plans with typical objects to insert like couches, chairs, and desks.
Create UML diagrams.
Create other diagrams using basic shapes like triangles, ellipses, rectangles, and circles.
One of my favorite features is that you can collaborate. This is a feature very typical of many web 2.0 services. You can collaborate with others working on the same project simply by entering in their email addresses. That way, thy all have access to the project, and everyone can work on it.
What I Like:
First of all, it’s free and you can’t beat that. I also like it because there are so many uses for it. You can upload images to your diagrams like a company logo, or photo which is a nice extra. You can even include links in your diagram that are click-able, should you publish it to the web.There are plenty of options for saving it to different formats like SVG, JPEG, and PNG.
I created a floor plan to get an idea of how it worked. While they give you a small selection of objects to choose from, you can still get the job done. All you have to do is click the object that you want, and drag it to where you’d like it positioned, and then drop it. You can also add text to anything and then you’ll have options for the font, size, and color of text.
You’ll also notice three menus up at the top, “file”, “edit”, and “share” which makes for easy navigation. Under the File menu, you’ll find typical options like “New”, “Save”, or “Export.” Under the edit option, you’ll find the typical copy, paste, cut, and delete. They even incorporate the typical shortcuts that make it seem natural and easy to use.
While Gliffy is in Beta, I didn’t find any glitches or other things to complain about. It felt really natural to use, and after a few minutes, I didn’t even realize I was doing all of this in my Web Browser. Now that’s my kind of web-based service!