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hierarchy chart (flowchart) software suggestions

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I want to create a hierarchy chart, or flowchart, of my software project's functions and units. I have limited knowledge of flowchart software, and those I know of are too complex and outrageously priced for my very simple need. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. (If no suitable software comes along, then suggestions for 'manual' construction of my hierarchy chart will be appreciated!) ... BTW, I have downloaded and tried SmartDraw's Organization Chart Software. (SmartDraw creates some of the most popular charting software packages in Google.) Org. Chart Software was $148 USD (or $198 on and after March 8th), which is unfortunately out of my range at the moment.

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If you must document your designs using a CASE tool, I highly recommend Enterprise Architect by Sparx Systems. http://www.sparxsystems.com.au/ea.htm. I think you can get a copy for $75.

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Clash, thanks for your suggestion, r++. I will test out Enterprise Architect. Since I am on shared modem Internet, I will have to wait until overnight to download the trial version. :(

I wasn't sure what you meant by "CASE" when you mentioned "CASE tool", but I see that it means Computer-Aided Software Engineering. So, I'm not sure if I need a CASE tool as elaborate as the link I gave explains. Unless I do and just do not know it. Right now, I would like the structure of my project displayed in a simple hierachial chart. It will help clarify all the complexities of my program. It will also allow me to easily understand how to properly grow or improve the structure, when need be.

I will post my findings of this and other hierarchial chart software I test.

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Hi,

Just a thought but maybe you should run your project through Doxygen and check out the graphs it produces. Consider downloading GraphViz' dot tool along with it to produce even more graphs.

Doxygen has helped me more than once to gain insight in a project I was new to.

BTW It's free [wink]

hth,
CipherCraft

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For manual contruction of flow charts and hierarchy charts, I would try something like Inkscape, which is open source (read "Free!").

I've only used it briefly myself, but it's kind of like Microsoft Visio. It won't organize your ideas for you, but it will probably make them look organized.

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CipherCraft, thanks for the suggestion, r++.

I am looking at Doxygen now, and I am interested in the dependency graphs and inheritance diagrams. Can you help me find an example of these? I am looking at the real-life projects using doxygen, particulary mozilla, and I cannot figure out how to see the inheritenace diagrams.

...

kingnosis, thanks for the Inkscape suggestion, r++. It sounds like almost everything I want. Do the lines connecting the boxes stay connected when you move the boxes around? (Apologies for my slow Internet. I cannot download and test programs quickly. I have to wait until overnight to download them.)

...

I am also busy checking out Dia, which is supposedly similar to the Microsoft's Visio. I have not checked it out, but Visio Standard 2003, the cheapest version, is $199 US.

(I will post more on other software later.)

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Hi,

I think the doxygen site has a list of projects using doxygen somewhere. Sec... Here: clicky. It is conveniently hidden as Doxygen users. [wink]

hth,
CipherCraft

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acraig, thanks. That's exactly what I wanted to see. R++.

Now I realize this is a class hierarchy diagram, which is not what I want. I want a hierarchy diagram of my units and functions, not classes. I think I will do this manually. Overnight, I will download nearly all the programs mentions thus far, and test them out tomorrow.

[Edited by - Matthew Doucette on March 8, 2005 1:44:18 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by kingnosis
For manual contruction of flow charts and hierarchy charts, I would try something like Inkscape, which is open source (read "Free!").

I just download and installed Inkscape. It gives me the same error everytime I run it:
Quote:
One or more extensions failed to load

The failed extensions have been skipped. Inkscape will continue to run normally but those extensions will be unavailable. For details to troubleshoot this problem, please refer to the error log located at: C:\Documents and Settings\MyUserName\Application Data\Inkscape\extension-errors.log


And "extension-errors.log" contains all this:
Quote:
Extension "AI Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: absolute
string: /usr/bin/perl

Extension "AI Output" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: pstoedit

Extension "Dia Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: dia
description: In order to import Dia files, Dia itself must be installed. You can get Dia at http://somesite.com

Extension "EPSI Output" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: ps2epsi

Extension "EPS Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: gs

Extension "GIMP Gradients" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: plugin
location: path
string: gimpgrad

Extension "Grid" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: plugin
location: path
string: grid

Extension "Postscript Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: pstoedit

Extension "Sketch Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: skconvert

Extension "SVGZ Output" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: gzip

Extension "Text Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: absolute
string: /usr/bin/perl

Extension "Windows Metafile Input" failed to load because a dependency was not met.
Dependency::
type: executable
location: path
string: wmf2svg


I am not having very much luck with these programs. :(

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I have finally downloaded and tried Dia and it gave me this error (in a console window):
Quote:
I/O warning : failed to load external entity "NULL"
I ran it again, and the error no longer shows up. I wonder what that meant?

It appears Dia has the ability I am looking for. You can create two boxes and then connect them with a line. If you move either box, the link will also move as it is connected to both boxes. No need to move your hierarchy boxes around and then have to move all your 'connecting' lines afterwards. (Perhaps some of the other programs have this feature, but I was unable to quickly find it.)

The only problem I have with Dia is to keep the text within each box connected to the box, you have to 'group' them. This makes it impossible to edit the text without first ungrouping them. After you edit the text, you have to them regroup them.

Please, if anyone had created hierarchy-styled charts to describe their project's units and/or functions, please let me know how.

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Quote:
Original post by Matthew Doucette
It appears Dia has the ability I am looking for.

I spoke too quick. I pressed SHIFT-CTRL-B (send backward command) and it crashed and I lost my work.

This is my last post. I am completely open for suggestions on how to create my heirarchy charts.

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If you're looking for UML tools, try this listing:

UML tools

Ignore those "$2999 dollar" crap things and look for $0 or close to it. There's alot of them.

The (free) one I've been using is the "Community Edition" of Visual Paradigm, but there's lots of others there.

I think most of the stuff on that page is very object oriented design-ish, so maybe it's not what you need. Old style "flowcharting" software is hard to come by nowadays, so I'm told.

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Quote:
Original post by Tebriel
If you're looking for UML tools, try this listing:

UML tools

What does UML stand for?

Quote:
Original post by Tebriel
Ignore those "$2999 dollar" crap things and look for $0 or close to it. There's alot of them.

So I guess this would be a better link! :)

Quote:
Original post by Tebriel
The (free) one I've been using is the "Community Edition" of Visual Paradigm, but there's lots of others there.

I think most of the stuff on that page is very object oriented design-ish, so maybe it's not what you need. Old style "flowcharting" software is hard to come by nowadays, so I'm told.

My project is not object oriented, although there does exist OO in the design. Basically, I would like two things:

1) a flow chart
2) a hierarchy of my units (with details getting as low level as my individual functions)

It appears most software is built around showcasing the object oriented hierarchy, not the unit hiearchy.

BTW, thanks for the response. r++

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Yeah, that's a better link! :)

UML = Unified Modeling Language

Since you're not doing OOP those tools might not be ideal, but I was thinking you might be able to use one of them to come close to what you need.

You may want to look into (using UML terms):

Class Diagrams (as a hierarchy chart...you can specify functions in these)
and
Activity Diagrams (as a "flowchart")

You could probably use those to at least come close to what you want.
The community edition of Visual Paradigm is pretty nice for this stuff.

UML stuff, visual examples

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I tried umlpad and dia and chose dia for now. Not sure about its stability but the line drawing/config is much better in dia. I intend to use it in class and state diagrams but it has flowcharting symbols and others as well. Best part is the zooming as you have large area to work with. It uses gimp for windows toolkit like gimp does. Actually I think the author might have borrowed some gimp code which is cool by me.

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You have to update everything manually with dia don't? Or is there some-sort-of UML plug-in I haven't seen?

It probably uses gtk (gimp-tool-kit) which is a very popular widget kit for Linux and has been ported to Windows and other systems.

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Dia is just a diagram making tool. It has symbols for uml, flowcharts, electronic circuits I think, etc. It's not like rational rose or other sophysticated uml tools that take uml and produce code, etc. It's not a plug in to uml tools. It's like umlpad but better I think.

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Quote:
Original post by JD
Dia is just a diagram making tool.

A diagram making tool is all I need. If I can make boxes with text inside of them that link together, that's all I need. It's too bad Dia crashed on me (without saving my work) as it was the most appropriate application I tried so far.

Right now I am trying Visual Paradigm, but it is very complicated. Hopefully I can figure it out, as I think it does pretty much everything anyone would need!

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Quote:
Original post by Tebriel
You may want to look into (using UML terms):

Class Diagrams (as a hierarchy chart...you can specify functions in these)
and
Activity Diagrams (as a "flowchart")

I missed this part of your post until just now. This is where I am at in Visual Paradigm... right at the beginning trying to decide which diagram to start making. Thanks again!

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Today I made some state charts with Dia and had no crashes. One interesting thing is that the UML state chart symbols don't align to the grid properly. The universal symbols do however. But even with this problem Dia worked fine for my needs. I had to set my desktop font to true type font for it to not hickup all the time. Same problem with gimp for windows. I use dia ver. 0.94.

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