Being a web-developer means not only being able to design web-sites or program their functionality. Sometimes it also means to be able to explain complex issues clearly and be able to present to your potential customers reasonable and convincing arguments – in order to find the best compromise between the customer’s wishes and the standards you respect. In fact, it is essential to make sure the customer understands which advantages you are actually offering and why this or that layout and markup are better for a given web-project.
Developing web-sites over the last few years, we’ve been stumbling over the same problem over and over again: how can I visualize my idea easily and quickly? Since human being is used to visualize things, trying to understand the idea behind them, recently we’ve spent hours googling for useful tools and tutorials which would help us to create images – mostly, diagrams, charts, chart-flows etc. Links checked: May/14 2008.
List of nifty tools for drawing diagrams, charts and chart-flows Link
- Creating Graphs, Part I1 undCreating Graphs, Part II2 by Wolfgang Bartelme. Two detailed how-to-tutorials, which explain how you can create professional, visually appealing Diagrams with Adobe Illustrator.
- Illustrator Charts3 by Veerle Pieters. A step-by-step tutorial for Adobe Illustrator, which explains how to create flexible Charts which are visually appealing.
- Charting in Microsoft Excel4 by Jon Peltier. A detailed how-to about the use of tools, which are integrated in Microsoft Excel.
- CSS For Bar Graphs5
describes another approach for presenting graphs with CSS and XHTML.
Free Web-Tools Link
- Gliffy6 Gliffy.com is a free web-based diagram editor. It enables you to create and share flowcharts, network diagrams, floorplans, user interface designs and other drawings online. Registration is required.
- James MacFarlanes’ Ajaxio is a simple Ajax-based tool, which uses Prototype and script.aculo.us.
Free Software Link
- 1st Chart7 creates high-resolution diagrams with the Chart-Elements you provide. The page doesn’t have an English version yet.
- JGraphpad8 is a powerful, easy-to-use, feature-rich and standards-compliant open source graph component available for Java. Application areas include Process diagrams, workflow and BPM visualization, flowcharts, even traffic or water flow etc.
- yEd – Java™ Graph Editor9 is a powerful graph editor that is written entirely in the Java programming language. It can be used to quickly and effectively generate drawings and to apply automatic layouts to a range of different diagrams and networks.
- Graphviz10 is open source graph visualization software. It has several main graph layout programs, web and interactive graphical interfaces, and auxiliary tools, libraries, and language bindings.
- XML/SWF Charts11 is a simple, yet powerful tool to create attractive web charts and graphs from dynamic XML data. The XML source can be prepared manually, or generated dynamically using any scripting language (PHP, ASP, CFML, Perl, etc.). The Official tutorial12 explains exactly, how you can use XML/SWF for your personal projects.
- DIA is a gtk+ based diagram creation program released under the GPL license. DIA can be used to draw entity relationship diagrams, UML diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and many other diagrams. It is also possible to add support for new shapes by writing simple XML files, using a subset of SVG to draw the shape. It can load and save diagrams to a custom XML format (gzipped by default, to save space), can export diagrams to a number of formats, including EPS, SVG, XFIG, WMF and PNG.
- JFreeChart13 is a free 100% Java chart library which creates charts such as bar charts, line charts, pie charts, time series charts, candlestick charts, high/low/open/close charts, wind plots, and meter charts.
JFreeChart is licensed under LGPL license and requires Java 2 platform (JDK Version 1.3 and higher).
Leading commercial products: Link
- OmniGraffle14: the premier diagramming application for Mac OS X creates flow charts, org charts, network diagrams, family trees, project processes, office layouts – or anything else that can be represented by symbols and lines. (“Standard”-Version costs $79.95, “Professional”-Version $149.95).
- Microsoft Visio15: the Microsoft Office business and technical diagramming program solves every problem you could ever think about. Microsoft Visio is integrated in the Microsoft Office. The price is appropriate for the quality Microsoft Visio delivers.
- SmartDraw16 is also a powerful Software-package, which is extremely easy-to-use and includes 1000s of professional-looking business graphics that you can modify and make your own. Price: $197.
- 1 http://www.bartelme.at/journal/archive/creating_graphs
- 2 http://www.bartelme.at/journal/archive/creating_graphs_part_2
- 3 http://www.duoh.com/varia/illustrator_charts/
- 4 http://peltiertech.com/Excel/Charts/index.html
- 5 http://applestooranges.com/blog/post/css-for-bar-graphs/?id=55
- 6 http://gliffy.com/
- 7 http://www.delphi-soft.de/1stchart.htm
- 8 http://www.jgraph.com/downloads.html
- 9 http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_about.htm
- 10 http://graphviz.org/
- 11 http://www.maani.us/xml_charts/index.php
- 12 http://www.maani.us/xml_charts/index.php?menu=Tutorial
- 13 http://www.jfree.org/jfreechart/
- 14 http://www.omnigroup.com/applications/omnigraffle/download/
- 15 http://www.microsoft.com/office/visio/prodinfo/default.mspx
- 16 http://www.smartdraw.com/
Hold on, Tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? Like SmashingConf New York, on June 14–15, with smart design patterns and front-end techniques.