Visio or ABCFlowCharter ? : summary

Subject: Visio or ABCFlowCharter ? : summary
From: WRONECKI Frederic DG <frederic -dot- wronecki -at- FRANCETELECOM -dot- FR>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 11:32:46 +0200

I got few replies, which is easy to understand since not many people have
had the opportunity to test both softwares. But for this same reason, these
replies are relevant, and the result shows that all responders favour Visio
4. Here are some of the most significant excerpts.
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Initial question :
Which, of Visio and ABCFlowCharter, would you rate the better when it comes
to drawing process
flowcharts ?
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Win Day (Technical Writer/Editor, winday -at- idirect -dot- com)
I can't compare them, because I've only ever used ABC FlowCharter.

Actually, I use the whole Micrografx ABC suite. I vastly prefer Designer
over CorelDraw for the technical drawings I create for my clients. One of
the best things about the suite is the Media Manager (ClipArt manager) that
comes with it. The manager allows easier importing and embedding of
graphics created by any application into Word.

Check file import filters for both Visio and FlowCharter (you might have to
visit each home page for a list of available filters). Whichever you
choose, make sure you can import or embed the graphics into your target
application (be it Word or Frame or something else) in their native formats.
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David Somers (David -dot- SOMERS -at- st -dot- com)
Personally I prefer ViSiO, its not perfect, but it gets the job done, and is
fairly intuitive to use.
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Joy Zigo (Curriculum Developer, HarperCollins Publishers,
joy -dot- zigo -at- harpercollins -dot- com)
This is a very timely question for me, as I just did a comparison of the two
and chose Visio. I am establishing some standards for the design of
flowcharts that my department will be using in many projects. I'd previously
used a "straight" drawing package to make flowcharts, but wanted to use a
more targeted package at this point.

Started with ABCFC first, and found:
* lacked template/layer features
* did not permit printing to a specific percentage of the drawing size
(only "fit to page")
* could not reliably change fonts or font sizes from the toolbar, had to
use Format menu
* could not easily select shapes ! Sometimes a simple line would resist
selection. If several shapes selected, could not easily de-select one of
them.
* lacked good range of sizes for arrowheads

In summary, while some people in my company had been able to use ABCFC for
"quick and dirty" flowcharts to make a sketch without precision, it did not
work well at all for the precise drawings I need to produce.

Visio, on the other hand, did have all the features mentioned above. I now
find that it also:
* permits precise placement of shapes, by specifying X and Y coordinates
* lets me specify the degree of "stickiness" of the shapes, with respect
to each other and also with respect to a grid
* provides effective tools on the toolbar for actions that I need to take
all the time.
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Joe Sokohl (Campbell Software, Inc., jsokohl -at- campbellsoft -dot- com)
Actually, I'd highly recommend allCLEAR by Clear Software (199 Wells Ave.,
Newton, MA 02159).
As a technical communicator, I find allCLEAR is more intuitive, especially
for process flow diagrams, than either Visio or abcFlowcharter. With
allCLEAR, you can create an outline that you can turn into a flow chart.

Of the two you've mentioned, though, I'd definitely go with Visio. It has a
lot of templates, neat features that allow you to do mock-ups of Windows
interfaces, and full OLE capabilities. I always found ABC Flowcharter to be
too, well, programmer-like.


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