Gliffy is the handiest cloud-based information systems design program to date. Much beloved by people who use cloud services, it combines several sets of design templates with a drag-and-drop format. Features include downloading, exporting, and the ever-popular ability to share with other users. It is this last element that sets Gliffy apart from desktop design programs, as typical design software requires send various drafts to and from designers, or hosting on a company server. Gliffy eliminates this troublesome step with their cloud-based service.
Formats available for drafting include UML, advanced UML, circuit designs, entity relationships, site maps, and other technical uses. Also included is a floor plan design set. Sets can be mixed and matched, which is also a benefit that other software lacks. New additions include a Venn diagram set and swimlanes, along with a blog/link feature. It should be noted that the printed schematics tend to be gigantic, sometimes spanning over 4 pages wide (the default is 5000px). Also available are plug-ins for users using JIRA, Confluence, and WordPress. All in all, Gliffy can make your data clear, organized, and even pretty – and publishable, sharable, and exportable. For a free service, this may very well be the best package going.
While many national and international companies use Gliffy for their design needs, the free service makes this resource available to everyone. Computer science, information systems, and engineering students may all benefit from having a software application in the cloud. Netbook users who may not want to run a processing-intensive program such as AutoCAD can benefit from the remote hosting as well, as it leaves both hard drive space and computing power for more immediate needs. The typical price for a single user as of September 2010 was $5/month, with pricing doing down with multiple users; the company offers a 50% academic discount for multiple users.
Gliffy’s founders have a solid idea of the technical community’s needs, and have risen to the occasion with an inventive and current solution. With over 1 million users, Gliffy is set to become a dominant player in the convergence of cloud applications and schematic design.