My day-time is job is a System Consultant at one of the largest System Integrators/Outsourcing companies in Europe. I design and plan a lot of technical Infrastructure solutions for other companies. One of the most powerful tools I use everyday is Microsoft Visio to make blueprints, drawings, flowcharts, network diagrams etc. Could this application be the online web 2.0 appliecaion to replace my locally installed one?
So far I haven’t found any replacement on the Open Source market – but now there might be a solution on the web called Gliffy.

At first you notice the nice interface with true drag’n’drop features – just like any other locally installed applications. You can edit text on the fly, change colors, change size etc. The connector tools works nice when connecting objects.

There are somewhat 100 objects (symbols) already available: basic shapes, floorplan, user interface, network, UML and flow chart. This is a little limited if you want to do large drawings but works well for basic ones.

You cannot, as far as I know, import your own symbols. It would be nice if you could import Visio stencils and use the objects in those drawings since then you have all the possibilites since that are thousands of examples already in Visio that you could export and also available on the Internet.

You can export to JPG, PNG and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) but you can also store to your personal online storage which also includes an revision history of the file. You can also collaborate and publish drawings to the Internet.

Gliffy is still pretty basic but the interface have potential. With some more functions and the ability to get more objects, this could, in reality, really replace my Visio installation.

If you’re interested, check out these screenshots and example drawings and also a screencast so you could experience the interface.

Gliffy interface Gliffy example Gliffy example

Gliffy example Gliffy example Gliffy example