Re: Visio and Frame for Flow Charting

Subject: Re: Visio and Frame for Flow Charting
From: David Jones <dvjones -at- KSBE -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 1996 10:26:54 +0000

On 11 Oct 96 at 8:51, THOMAS A. JOHNSON wrote:
> One person suggested allCLEAR. We are evaluating a copy of that software
> in our office and it really takes a programming thought process to make
> the program work well. With Visio, if you can sketch what you want the
> flow chart to look like, you can use Visio to create it. In my opinion,
> allCLEAR forces you to verbalize how you want the image to look which
> really seems like an unnecessary step. If you want to draw a picture of a
> tree, does it make sense to describe, in words, the trunk and each branch,
> or would you rather sketch it out and be done with it.

That's the opposite of my experience with AllCLEAR. With AllCLEAR, if
you can note down the steps of the chart using its simple language,
the program draws it for you.

The point of using AllCLEAR's text language is you don't have to
think about how it looks -- you're doing content creation. You can
tackle how it looks after you get the content straight.

The main problem I have with Visio (and other graphic-driven
flowcharters) is that changing page sizes, orientations, and such, is
very tedious, IMHO. With them, you change the page, then have to lay
everything out all over again.

With AllCLEAR, I can write up one process flow, and have the program
lay it out nicely for me on a standard portrait page for the book.
Then I can take the same text language, change the "stylesheet" (I
think that's what it's called) and have the program lay it out
nicely for a landscape presentation slide.

Another point about AllCLEAR's use of a text language ... It opens
the door for programmatically generating flowcharts: Generate the
text using one program (AllCLEAR's language is really very simple,
doesn't require a "programming mind set" at all), feed it to
AllCLEAR, and output a finished flowchart ... I used to do a similar
trick with Ventura Publisher -- pull data from a UNIX database
application, massage it with a series of WP macros, then feed it to
VP for final printing. It turned a task that took two days and
familiarity with each application into one that took 15 minutes
(mostly printing time), and only enough familiarity with Windows to
click the mouse twice.

JFOA, YMMV.

David Jones, Technical Writer
dvjones -at- ksbe -dot- edu

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