Saturday, November 28, 2009

Free tools I use - WebSequenceDiagrams

I find it hard to talk to fellow engineers without a marker in my hand and a whiteboard around me. Many of the diagrams I draw as a Software Architect are either block diagrams or sequence diagrams (aka Message Sequence Chart or MSC). When I have to transfer all these whiteboard drawings into a document, I usually use Visio or SmartDraw, but for many of the simple diagrams the overhead of these drawing tools is too big.

For these I use the free service of WebSequenceDiagrams - a website that helps create sequence diagrams quickly without using a drawing board. Instead of using the mouse to draw, you write in your own words the sequence as plain text, type -> to mark an arrow, click the “Draw” button and Hey presto! you get a neat sequence diagram. You can even pick between a few themes, so it’d look like UML, Rational rose etc. Right click and save it locally on your computer as a PNG file. I recommend saving the text file on your computer as well.
It has several benefits: you don’t have to touch the graphics to add or modify a given diagram (as long as you keep the text). No more line alignment, box coloring or arrow stretching.


udijw said...

OMG. This is too cool. Love the napkin style.
Glad to see the blog operating again.

Tomer Daniel said...

Thanks Udi!
The napkin style looks too similar to whatever's on my whiteboard...

ilan said...

Ha! I ma using the same tool! save me lot of "drawing time"..

Tomer Daniel said...

Indeed Ilan!
This is precisely why I shared it here :)