Say hello to our versatile 3D objects!

As promised in our last post, where we unveiled Creately’s forward thinking Text capabilities, we are now thrilled to offer a fresh new perspective, in this post, on our intuitive KObjects, namely 3D versions of the CubeCylinder and Cone. So why is this such BIG news? We’ve listed ‘em out for you below.

1. Cool Features

   

What we actually did was to create 3D objects that have a list of features associated with it. As you can see below, you can change the Position & Size of these objects along with the 3D Angle andCube Depth as well.

    

2. Such versatile Fun!

Click and drag either one of the 3D objects onto the editor and you are sure to have oodles of fun, creating and designing diagrams, like a rocket blasting off into space, a pencil and even the Tower of Hanoi below.

We’ve already established that creating complex diagrams, such as UML diagramswireframes andmockups are easy. But Creately has also quite a bit of a fun side to it, as seen by the screen shots above.

 

3. Better usability = Simple but Beautiful Diagrams

What better way to highlight this sentiment than to draw a system architecture diagram. Having a 3D look and feel to the whole diagram is certainly something that makes it look better, more interesting and beautiful.


That wraps up this post, in the meanwhile, do spread the word to your friends and peers and other aficionados of diagramming. For more interesting announcements and tips and trends on diagramming, stay tuned to this space.

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Creately offers forward thinking Text capabilities!

We break our usual slew of knowledge-based posts with a very exciting announcement today. With the latest Creately release, we’ve added on some really smart features that is sure to make your diagramming experience easier and rewarding. While we do have two awesome features to talk about, we’ll concentrate on just one in this post, with the next feature described in a subsequent post later on, during this week. So without further ado, discover Creately’s multiple text feature on lines! To help you understand the potential this gives you, scour through the benefits illustrated below.

    

1. Add multiple text to lines

To make the whole process of plugging in extra text has been made easier. So easy, in fact, all you need to do is double click on the relevant line to create text. Even cooler is that you can create any amount of text on the line by double clicking at any point. Plus, editing text is also an easy endeavor; all it requires is double-clicking on the text you want to edit. Observe this super-intuitive convenience in action below.

2. Easy drag functionality

So, now you can create any amount of multiple text on lines. But we’ve also taken pains to ensure that there is unhindered usability afforded with this feature as well. With most diagrams precision is key, which is why clicking and dragging text anywhere on the line to position and place your text makes the art of diagramming so much easier with Creately.

3. Experience multiplicity with UML associate connector type

While multiple text can be added onto any type of line in a variety of diagrams, we’ve also ensured that there is multiplicity with regard to associate connector type in UML Class Diagrams. So, now there is no need to plug in awkward and mismatched textboxes when all you need to do is plug in multiplicity with just a click or two. Simply change the type of connector when connecting two Class objects to “Associate” and the multiplicity options will be available.

There you have it. A simple feature that is packed with a level of potency that is sure to make diagramming faster, easier, more intuitive and versatile. Remember to spread the good news!

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Beyond the Basics of Sequence Diagrams - Part 2

We wrap up the week with where we left off with Sequence Diagrams and a look into more advanced elements. Today we will concentrate on the use of Gates in Sequence Diagrams.

Gates

The previous post illustrated how to reference another sequence diagram via sending across data through parameters and also return values. Yet, there’s another way to send across data between two sequence diagrams. Gates could be regarded as being a simple way to model the passing of data between a sequence diagram and its context. A gate is a message that is highlighted with one end connected to the sequence diagram’s frame’s edge and the other end connected to a lifeline. A reworking of Figure 1  (from Part 1 of this series) using gates can be seen in the following diagram.

 

Figure 2 (from Part 1 of this series) with the utilization of gates would look like what is shown below.

 

Figure 2 has an entry gate called getBalance that takes the parameter of accountNumber. The getBalance message is an entry gate, because it is the arrowed line that is linked to the diagram’s frame with the arrowhead linked to a lifeline. The sequence diagram has an exit gate, which returns the balance variable. The exit gate is known, because it’s a return message that is connected from a lifeline to the diagram’s frame with the arrowhead connected to the frame.

The real purpose behind these recent posts on Sequence Diagrams have been to offer anyone, irrespective of their experience in UML, with an effective  ”crash course” in understanding this area. We think this aim has been achieved. After this series is over (stay tuned for Part 3 next week!), we hope to bring more interesting insights into UML during the coming weeks and months. Till then, Happy Diagramming!

 

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All kinds of UML Diagram Templates from Creately!

Easy to use pre-made web sitemap templates from Creately!

Explore the standard Flowchart symbols and their usage

Flowchart Symbols   Flowchart Symbols and their usage

This is an overview of all the flowchart symbols that you will use when drawing flowcharts and process flow. All these objects are available in Creately and you can try out a demo or take a look at some sample flowcharts for more context.

Terminal / Terminator

The terminator is used to show where your flow begins or ends. Ideally, you would use words like ‘Start’, ‘Begin’, ‘End’ inside the terminator object to make things more obvious.

Process / Rectangle

Flowchart Process object is used to illustrate a process, action or an operation. These are represented by rectangles; and the text in the rectangle mostly includes a verb. Examples include ‘Edit video’, ‘Try Again’, ‘Choose your Plan’.

Data (I/O)

The Data object, often referred to as the I/O Shape shows the Inputs to and Outputs from a process. This takes the shape of a parallelogram.

Decision / Conditional

Decision object is represented as a Diamond. This object is always used in a process flow to as a question. And, the answer to the question determines the arrows coming out of the Diamond. This shape is quite unique with two arrows coming out of it. One from the bottom point corresponding to Yes or True and one from either the right/left point corresponding to No or False. The arrows should be always labelled to avoid confusion in the process flow.

Document

Document object is a rectangle with a wave-like base. This shape is used to represent a Document or Report in a process flow.

Stored Data

This is a general data storage object used in the process flow as opposed to data which could be also stored on a hard drive, magnetic tape, memory card, of any other storage device.

Direct Data

Direct Data object in a process flow represents information stored which can be accessed directly. This object represents a computer’s hard drive.

Internal Storage

This is an object which is commonly found in programming flowcharts to illustrate the information stored in memory, as opposed to on a file. This shape is often referred to as the magnetic core memory of early computers; or the random access memory (RAM) as we call it today.

Sequential Access

This object takes the shape of a reel of tape. It represents information stored in a sequence, such as data on a magnetic tape.

Manual Input

This object is represented by rectangle with the top sloping up from left to right. The Manual Input object signifies an action where the user is prompted for information that must be manually input into a system.

Subroutine / Predefined Process

This shape takes two names - ‘Subroutine’ or ‘Predefined Process’. Its called a subroutine if you use this object in flowcharting a software program. This allows you to write one subroutine and call it as often as you like from anywhere in the code.

The same object is also called a Predefined Process. This means the flowchart for the predefined process has to be already drawn, and you should reference the flowchart for more information.

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Discover a rich Variety of Mind Map Templates!

Choosing Color to Improve Diagrams

It is a well known axiom that color is one of the most important components of diagramming. Whatever diagram type you do use, the utilization of a color scheme can make it either excellent or mediocre. This post will offer you a few simple but potent ways in which you could use color to great effect.

        

1. Color can be Used as a Differentiator

One of the main ways in which a color code can be utilized is for the purpose of differentiation. Consider an org chart, where (as an HR Manager) you want a split of the two sexes. Yourorganogram would look something like the example shown below.

As you can see, this is just a simple example. But colour can also be used to differentiate various things like office locations and hierarchy on an org chart, too. The use of color may be extended to various diagram types as well. For instance, consider using different colors to show what is a process and what is a decision in a flowchart.

      

2. Use Color to show Intensity

Color may also be used as an excellent barometer to show the difficulty or intensity that is present in certain tasks. For instance, if you are Project Manager who is tracking down a flowchart, you could use various colors to generate the difficulty of certain processes. A basic example is shown below.

      

3. Make it a Point to Utilize Color in the right Context

One of the main things that we need to be mindful of is using color that is relevant to whatever it is we are drawing. For instance, if you take a topographic map, certain colors would have meaning i.e. brown would be indicative of land, green would be indicative of vegetation and blue would mean sea. Another example would be the color utilization to show an increase in temperature. You would have the color increasing in intensity from light orange to dark orange and subsequently red.

4. Use Color to ensure Readability

One of the main benefits of using color is that you get to ensure absolute clarity. Usually, you need to pay attention to readability. Avoid designs that have color contrasts that cannot be easily read like dark brown text on a dark brown background. An ideal example is shown below, where proper utilization of color to ensure readability is encircled in red.

5. Use Colors from the same Palette

While we are all for the proper use of color, remember that you can seriously draw diagrams quick and easy with Creately’s one-click styles. Each row has complementary colors, and you can go up or down to show intensity within a color. Why not try this smart app for free and see for yourself!

We do agree that colour per se and color combinations are inherently subjective, yet you cannot deny the fact that it is certainly something that is important and can be widely used to offer a glut of benefits from easy assimilation of information to making diagrams look real beautiful. As always, we’d be thrilled with whatever response that you may have and would encourage you to make comments on this post and/or to get in touch with us if you got any queries.

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A simple video tutorial ~ How-to draw Org Charts with Creately!

We have a series of tutorial videos, but with the continuous developments and feature upgrades to Creately these tutorials look a tad bit outdated. So we thought of coming up with new tutorial videos to highlight some of the predominant updated features. Starting from this week, you can expect a series of video tutorials demonstrating how-to draw different kinds of diagrams with Creately.

Today, lets take a look at a simple 2-min how-to video on drawing professional Org Charts with Creately. With this, you will agree that creating Org Charts is seriously a simple affair.

We did this to help you understand some of the basic features. You can hit us back if you got any queries. We’re listening to you as always!

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Guidelines for UML Class Diagrams - Part 2

Today, we continue from where we left off on the topic Guidelines for UML class diagrams ~ part 1. We spoke about the relevant guidelines for General issues, Classes and Interfaces; in this post we will discuss the remaining 3.

4. Aggregation and Composition Guidelines

As it is known an object is made up of other objects. If you were to consider as examples where an airplane consists of wings, a fuselage, engines, flaps, landing gear and so on. A delivery shipment would contain one or more packages and a team consists of two or more employees. These are all examples of the concept of aggregation that illustrates “is part of” relationships. An engine is part of a plane, a package is part of a shipment, and an employee is part of a team. Aggregation is a specialization of association, highlighting an entire-part relationship that exists between two objects. Composition is a much potent form of aggregation where the whole and parts have coincident lifetimes, and it is very common for the whole to manage the lifecycle of its parts. If you were to consider a stylistic point of view, aggregation and composition are both specializations of association where the guidelines for associations do apply.

1. You should be interested in both the whole and the part

2. Depict the whole to the left of the part

3. Apply composition to aggregates of physical items

5. Inheritance Guidelines

Inheritance models “is a” and “is like” relationships, enabling you to rather conveniently reuse data and code that already exist. When “A” inherits from “B” we say that “A” is the subclass of “B” and that “B” is the superclass of “A.” In addition to this, we have “pure inheritance” when “A” inherits all of the attributes and methods of “B”. The UML modeling notation for inheritance is usually depicted as a line that has a closed arrowhead, which points from the subclass right down to the superclass.

1. Plus in the sentence rule for inheritance

2. Put subclasses below superclasses

3. Ensure that you are aware of data-based inheritance

4. A subclass must inherit everything

6. Relationship Guidelines

At this particular juncture, the term “relationships” will encompass all UML concepts such as aggregation, associations, dependencies, composition, realizations, and inheritance. In other words, if it’s a line on a UML class diagram, it can be considered as a relationship. The following guidelines could be considered as “best practices” and and effort should be made to adhere to them at all times. Figure A Figure B Figure C 1. Ensure that you model relationships horizontally 2. Collaboration means a need for a relationship 3. Model a dependency when a relationship is in transition 4. Depict similar relationships involving a common class as a tree.  In Figure A you see that both Delivery and Order have a dependency on OIDGenerator.  Note how the two dependencies are drawn in combination in “tree configuration”, instead of as two separate lines, to reduce clutter in the diagram. 5. As a rule it is best to always indicate the multiplicity 6. Avoid a multiplicity of “*” to avoid confusion 7. Replace relationships by indicating attribute types.  In Figure C you see that the customer has a shippingAddress attribute of type Address – part of the scaffolding code to maintain the association between customer objects and address objects. 8. Never model implied relationships 9. Never model every single dependency 10. Center names on associations 11. Write concise association names in active voice 12. Indicate directionality to clarify an association name 13. Name unidirectional associations in the same direction 14. Word association names left-to-right 15. Indicate role names when multiple associations between two classes exist 16. Indicate role names on recursive associations 17. Make associations bi-directional only when collaboration occurs in both directions. The lives atassociation of Figure B is uni-directional. 18. Redraw inherited associations only when something changes 19. Question multiplicities involving minimums and maximums So while we have made a dent in the interesting subject that is  UML design, you can surely expect more blog posts that are both interesting and compelling on the same subject. We do offer a great deal of information on UML design and would love to field in any questions or doubts that you may have.

 

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