It’s a figurative hundred degrees out here (over 30 degrees Celsius (= 87 degrees Fahrenheit)) and the Netherlands have officially announced a heatwave. This isn’t really doing much good for my time spend behind the PC (nor my concentration for that matter), but I still wanted to write something up so… if some hiccups did manage to slip in then you know what caused it.
How to use Visual Paradigm fully offline
As you might know Visual Paradigm has started to rely a little more on the online counterpart called Visual Paradigm Online. Here you can draw diagrams online, collaborate with other people and even perform project and task management.
It also provides us with an online virtual repository (“VPository”) where we can store our projects and by doing so also keep track of its history: by saving our changes online (“commiting”) you can build up a history where you can always go back to a certain point in time. Or what to think about sharing parts of the project with other people, who can then also comment on those parts (using PostMania, which is explained here)?
Personally I’ve been a strong advocate for Visual Paradigm online ever since it started. There are many reasons, but the most compelling for me is backup purposes. If my computer were to explode due to the heat right now (let’s hope not!) then I won’t be losing any of my hard work with Visual Paradigm because all the projects I care for are also stored on VPository a.k.a. VP Online.
Caveats with online services
But what if you can’t or don’t want to use this? For example, not every company has a lenient Internet policy which allows access to every part of the Web. And of course not every company would want to store (maybe sensitive?) company data onto a cloud service hosted by a 3rd party.
Fortunately there’s a very fitting solution for both individuals and teams alike. Keep in mind though that my post mostly focuses on individuals.
Off the grid
When you start Visual Paradigm while being offline you may notice some of the start page items only showing text without any pictures, an example can be seen above. Of course this heavily depends on the edition you’re using. Customer Journey Mapping for example is only available for the Visual Paradigm Professional edition and up.
When you see something as shown above then it is a good indication that this particular feature doesn’t work right now; some specific features rely on VP Online. These are most notably: Customer Journey Mapping and the team features such as Agile, PostMania and Tasifier. When you try to use any of these features then you will get a warning:
So now what? Simple really: just set up your own private repository!
This is a good example as to why I’m so enthusiastic about the software. If you can’t use VP Online then simply set up your own local counterpart.
To do this select the Team tab and then click the option “Select repository” as shown above. Set up your local workspace and VP will get right to work.
Depending on your PC this may take a little while but eventually the team tab should be back to normal again. At this point you can make (nearly) full use of all the online features again. You can work on customer journey mappings, you can perform project management through Agile and you can also commit your project(s) onto your local workspace.
Every specific feature which relies on use of a repository will now be available to you once more, things like the project backlog, refactoring diagrams and so on.
You can even administrate your local server if you want!
As you can see I’ve experimented with this before last year. Truth be told I had already forgotten all about this test project ever being there
But as you can see you can easily administrate your projects and also finetune any specific features which you want or don’t want to use in your local workspace. Accessing this section is really easy: use your teamview client. Open the teamwork client by selecting it from the Utilities menu in the team tab:
(I logged onto VPository in this screenshot which is why I hid my projects, but this is also how you can access your local workspace).
You will see an overview of your projects and can then click on the admin button (as shown in the screenshot) or you can select the option from the Project submenu.
What about (local) collaboration?
Yeah, there’s a good reason why my local project shown above only had ‘Task’ (‘Tassifier’) and ‘Agile’ mentioned behind it while ‘PostMania’ is never shown throughout the entire server. That’s because this is a local, private, repository which cannot be shared with others. Don’t forget that you’re using this under your own personal license.
So if you want to use collaboration features such as working on a project together or sharing your diagrams with others so they can comment on them then you’ll either need Visual Paradigm Online or your own Teamwork server. The latter can also be used on-site within your local network.
And there you have it…
Visual Paradigm is perfectly usable even if you are fully offline. However, some features will not work because they rely on an online workspace. But fortunately you can set up your own local workspace to fill in that gap.
I hope this can be useful for some of you. (and I also hope we’ll soon be getting normal temperatures again ).