Ok, I am on a slight roll tonight. Might as well share another one of my secrets with my readers. Many of us in the industry have been plagued over the years by “What tools are there besides visio for me to do my diagrams?”
Well, honestly, there are a few, and more and more are coming to the cloud. I have used several of the cloud based ones, including Lucid Chart and Gliffy; At this point, I think I personally prefer Lucid Chart. The sharing is a bit more flexible than Gliffy’s, which can be a huge help when trying to share diagrams with clients.
At this time though, there is another one that I like quite a bit as well; yEd
Now what is so cool about yEd?
- Cross Platform
Now, to summarize, yEd is 100% free, and is cross platform! It does require java, but these days, that’s a simple thing to cover. Ok, so those ones are the easy, but what about powerful?
yEd has power covered too. It has one of the most fascinating features I have seen in any graphing tool. It has the ability to group items, which you know, that’s pretty basic. But how about the ability to roll groups up? Yep, you can actually minimize a group too! This feature comes in quite handy when you’re trying to show a re-arranging of servers and network devices from one set of configurations to a new service configuration/platform.
It does have a couple of quirks, at times the fact that it wants to create an item every time you click on the canvas… that can be quite frustrating, and you do have to clean it up. Overall though, I would say it is definitely a tool worth looking at if you want to be able to get diagrams and similar to your clients, but you don’t have the money to spend on one of the other alternatives.