Dia for Diagrams

As part of a programme of work requiring business analysis tools – I have been on the lookout for tools that facilitate developing graphical models or diagrams that support the process of analysis and documenting. This is likely to turn into a series of articles but the first entrant is DIA which you can get for Windows / Mac and Linux here. On e of the very first extra features is the ease of getting and downloading additional shapes – using the addon application DiaShapes.

I especially like the approach of an essentially unlimited canvas where each of the “a4” sheets will print if they have content allowing you to have very large diagrams without need access to plotters for example. The selection of objects can be a little confusing as can the location of text and linking but once mastered those issues soon fade as you get access to a great little tool for rapidly documenting and revising your UML and many other styles of documents including Chemistry and electrical circuits and jigsaws.

You get the feeling that the free app has somewhat of a CAD bearing without obviously being a cad package – just through the use of things like the tools menu and shortcuts to rapidly switch between lines and connector types. The export options are similarly extensive and offer a range of options for import into other applications.