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Online Diagram Tools Using Flash

Posted by Sravan | November 11, 2008 .

Gliffy is a nifty little Flash app that allows users to create and share flowcharts and design diagrams. It is easy to use, and has a number of templates and clips to choose from. It also allows online collaborations, though not in real-time. The initial reviews expected it to replace Visio, and it definitely is a cost-effective alternative. After a long time in beta, it started offering Basic and Premium versions of the app early this year. Watch the Gliffy demo movie below.

Best4c (short for “Best for chart”) is another Flash app that can be used to create and share flowcharts and diagrams. The look and feel is as close to Microsoft Office as it can get, unlike Gliffy’s which I felt is anti-Microsoft. Calling itself “the best online diagram tool on earth”, Best4c is at first glance not as appealing as Gliffy. That is because of the default category, but Best4c has a huge (and seemingly growing) library that should be able to solve most requirements of users. Moreover, it is completely free and initial trials (without exports or saves) do not need registration. Watch the Best4c flow diagram demo below.

Draw Anywhere. Another Flash app that does exactly what the above two tools do. I’m plucking my hair now. It is especially similar to Best4c, and is also free on registration, though I had a feeling that its library may be a little smaller. Or is it the other way round? I’m sorry, all I see is polygons floating around my head. You check out this drawing anywhere anytime demo and let me know.

I think any tool should suffice for an average user. Gliffy might be better for organizations because it provides unlimited storage and, IMO, has a better look and documentation. Also, it provides revision control, which can be especially useful for design diagrams.

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13 Comments so far
  1. Arnaud  November 11, 2008 12:43 pm

    Gliffy has also a plug-in for Confluence (by Atlassian). That’s a great help for users of this wiki.

    I think LovelyCharts (http://www.lovelycharts.com/) is also another great tool.

  2. Sravan  November 12, 2008 7:08 am

    I missed the plug-in part. Thank you, Arnaud, especially for the LovelyCharts.

  3. Debi K  November 18, 2008 6:48 pm

    Thanks for the compliments and description of Gliffy. Let us know if you have suggestions for us as we develop our product!
    debik at gliffy dot com

  4. Garthner  November 19, 2008 9:24 am

    For my work I tried a flash component called Origramy from here: . It also can be used as the online tool for diagram building. Maybe it has not as many options as Gliffy does, but its advantage is that it’s easy to use and helps load your data fast and update dynamically with the help of XML.

  5. Max  February 25, 2009 3:27 am
  6. Sravan  February 26, 2009 6:48 am

    Perfect forms seems interesting, Max.

  7. Jacob  April 10, 2009 1:12 am

    Of all these i would pick drawAnywhere.com or gliffy. DrawAnywhere can export as a pdf file, and it has easy integration with external webpages.

  8. Charan  April 15, 2009 3:18 am

    Hi Sravan,

    We’re just put out a beta of Creately - Online Diagramming and Design. At first glance it seem similar to the apps mentioned here, but our focus is on ease of use and sharing/collaborating/publishing. We would be interested to hear what you and your readers think. Check it out here - http://creately.com

  9. Eli  July 12, 2009 8:48 pm

    Are there any open source Flash or AJAX diagramming apps that you\’re aware of?

  10. Sravan  July 13, 2009 9:17 am

    Open source? I will have to ask around. Will let you know if I come across something, Eli.

  11. Daniel McQuillen  December 9, 2010 5:05 pm

    If you’re looking for something really simple you could always try http://www.simplediagrams.com Not as feature rich as the other apps you list here, but might help some of your readers express their ideas quickly.

  12. David  March 19, 2011 2:21 pm

    http://www.diagram.ly is entire JavaScript on the client, not AJAX, but who needs comms with the server if you can do it all on the client…

  13. Dave  March 21, 2011 2:06 pm

    Sravan, I’d also you encourage you to try http://www.lucidchart.com. It’s built in HTML5 and Javascript, supports real-time collaboration making it easy to work together, and is currently beta testing Visio import to those users who are switching from MS Visio.

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