Ayende @ Rahien

It's a girl

Making diagrams for dummies

image I have been getting a lot of questions about how I make the diagrams for the blog.

I got some very strange suggestions from people, from having a full blown art department dedicated to producing those to drawing the diagrams on physical paper and then taking pictures of that on a wooden table.

The truth is far more boring, I am afraid.

I generally use the following tools to produce the diagrams:

  • Google Image Search
  • Power Point
  • MS Paint
  • Visual Studio

I use visual studio's class diagram designer to create the class diagrams, usually from empty projects, not the real ones. Then I copy the image to power point, where I do some mixing & matching.

Power Point is really nice in this regard, because it offers a rich set of effects that even a graphical dummy like me can use effectively.

I use Google Image Search to find relevant images, and then drag them into Power Point as well, making the same style of effects there. Then, if needed, I move it to MS Paint for final processing, and from there, to the blog.

This approach works well for someone that needs three tries to draw a straight line using a ruler, it is also something that doesn't take very long, which is also important.


Ken Egozi
12/20/2007 07:38 AM by
Ken Egozi

What about licensing issues with the images you find on Google Images (or any other way to download images from the internet?)

Ayende Rahien
12/20/2007 07:41 AM by
Ayende Rahien

I generally try to find things that are in the public domain, CC or just plain uninteresting to sue me for.

Muhammad Zahalqa
12/20/2007 08:34 AM by
Muhammad Zahalqa

הנה אתה בתחילתו של עוד מסע סביב השמש

וכל מה שהבאתי לך

זה חולצה של SQL.

עוד מעט תלך לדרכך

תחשוב: אבל מוחמד, הייתי מעדיף ספר DSL

ואני אומר: תכתוב אחד בעצמך.

מי ייתן וקוד מקצות אצבעותיך ימשיך לזרום.

משמות משתנים ארוכים תגמל

ובצבעים על עצמים ו- AST תחלום

וכל מה של- self תאחל.

given time: when: = now

ensure: yield success

Peter w
12/20/2007 02:09 PM by
Peter w

I recommend Paint.NET if you havent tried it yet. Its free, lightweight, written in .NET, and matches most of the adobe photoshop features. It may not be professional grade, but it sure is nice for us software jockeys in need of a quick diagram

12/20/2007 03:53 PM by

Sorry, I'm still giggling at "then, if needed, I move it to MS Paint for final processing". I mean, MS Paint for final processing? I use mspaint to save my printscreen clipboard contents to a file, and it does a poor job at that.

Also relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxx2KcPWWZg

12/20/2007 04:02 PM by

I was wondering about that, but just chalked it up the my theory (i'll start a rumor that its a fact before long) that you don't sleep: Oren - the vampire coder.

so yeah, at least use paint.net instead of paint. try gimp too, but stick with paint.net.

Adam D.
12/20/2007 08:21 PM by
Adam D.

You're giving away all the secrets....

12/21/2007 08:51 PM by

I also gotta suggest paint.net, I use that to chop up my designers mock-ups and it is very good at that. The best part about it is saving off decent looking gifs.

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