It’s the new year and I’ve been thinking about some ideas for my upcoming posts. So I figured that I should start 2018 with a top 10, why not. Many people like those. So these are 10 reasons which I think you should seriously keep in mind when it comes to determining if Visual Paradigm could be useful to you.
Just for the record: these are merely my personal top 10 reasons. And who am I? Well, I’m simply an enthusiastic customer and a bit of a fan. I’ve been using Visual Paradigm since the time of NetBeans 4.1, in the days where the IDE integration part was actually a separate product (a long, long time ago).
So without further ado…
#10 - Supports & follows official specifications
What do UML (“Unified Modeling Language”), BPMN (“Business Process Model and Notation”), SysML (“Systems Modeling Language”) and ArchiMate all have in common?
They are all pre-defined standards developed and supported by either the Object Management Group (“OMG”) or the Open Group (this applies to ArchiMate).
Visual Paradigm always tries to ensure that the diagrams you’re creating follow these official standards, so that there can be no confusion about what you’re trying to visualize. Of course, in the end you’re still in full control, but I’ll address that in more detail at #6.
#9 - It’s an all-in-one product
Visual Paradigm is first and foremost a modeling tool. But it can be used for a lot more purposes: from project management, brain storming and database design right down to information management / processing. And all that while using the same product, the same interface and thus the same workflow.
So basically: once you’ve become familiar with the way Visual Paradigm works then it doesn’t really matter too much what kind of project you’re working on (software design, project management, etc.) because your overall workflow will generally be the same. And that can make things not only a lot more accessible, it will also allow you to easily interact between projects.
For example: what about a use case diagram combined with a PERT chart which roughly shows the planning on getting each function developed and integrated?
#8 - VPository
VPository, click the image above to visit the main website, is Visual Paradigm’s online modeling portal which can provide a lot of extra enhanced functionality. From drawing diagrams online (as shown above) to Agile project management, team collaboration, right down to task management and providing an cloud based version control system for all your Visual Paradigm projects.
It doesn’t stop there of course. Several of this online functionality can be used directly from within Visual Paradigm as well. And if you can’t use an online repository because of specific company policies then you don’t have to worry because you can also easily set up a “local ‘VPository’” if you need to.
#7 - Customability
Last year version 12 of Visual Paradigm got released and it introduced us to the Sleek interface together with the resource catalog, as well as the option to further customize the interface to your liking. Does the sleek interface remind you too much of Microsoft Office and therefor you prefer not to use it? No problem: you can easily switch back to the old classic interface.
Or maybe you’d rather use a customized palette?
Are there any options shown which you don’t really care for and would rather see hidden? Also not a problem for Visual Paradigm.
Of course there are limitations. For example you can’t fully customize all the individual menus or toolbars in the program (but take a closer look at the dash menu). But despite that there’s still plenty of room left to change Visual Paradigm to your specific wishes.
And this even applies to my next item:
#6 - Workflow
When you start a new project then you’re pretty much in full control over how you want to approach it. You can fully determine the workflow yourself. Perhaps all you need is to create a few diagrams and then you’re done? Easy: simply continue creating diagrams and optionally you can check the project browser while only keeping the ‘diagrams’ tab open, so that all you get to see is an overview of all your diagrams but nothing more. No further distraction.
Or maybe you’re working on a bigger and more complex project where you actually have to study several stages of your development cycle. Also not a problem for Visual Paradigm: you can fully set up a complete project hierarchy which will ensure that there can be no doubt if the Use Case (for example) you’re looking at was build after the initial analysis stage or during (or after) the actual development process.
You can make a Visual Paradigm project as simple or as complex as you want. And better yet: it doesn’t force you into following a specific workflow. Which also implies that although VP will try to honor the predefined standards, you’re always free to deviate from that and add your own customization.
Instead of forcing you into a direction Visual Paradigm will simply keep track of things for you so that when your simple starting project suddenly grows into a more complex environment then you won’t suddenly have to find yourself lost in a jungle of items.
#5 - The Visual Paradigm community
This forum is the perfect way to communicate with the Visual Paradigm developer team as well as other Visual Paradigm users alike. But it doesn’t stop here… Visual Paradigm’s community circle is another perfect example where users help out their fellow users, in this case by providing example projects which others can then use as reference or starting points.
#4 - IDE integration
From Visual Studio and IntelliJ right down to Eclipse and NetBeans. Visual Paradigm allows you to embed itself right into your favorite IDE so that you can do everything from within the same environment as well as the same project.
Brainstorm your ideas before putting them into code. Or design your classes (and databases) from within Visual Paradigm, convert your diagrams into code which you can then compile right from within your IDE which you already had open.
#3 - Open API, also known as plugin support
To my knowledge Visual Paradigm is one of the very few modeling applications which allows you to extend on its functionality by developing your own plugins. All you need is a Java development environment (for example an IDE such as NetBeans or Eclipse), the Open API library which is included with every copy of Visual Paradigm, and of course a basic understanding of Java programming.
As a result you can take Visual Paradigm into directions which would otherwise most likely be completely impossible.
#2 - A wide variety of licenses
Most other modeling suites have one or maybe 2 fixed prices and that’s it. Visual Paradigm provides a very broad variety of licenses which, in my personal opinion, should be able to cater to just about everybody. From a somewhat limited but free to use community license to a more expensive but also very extensive Professional license.
And if you want to you can even rent Visual Paradigm (get a license on a subscription basis). For either one single month up to a whole year.
Click here for an overview of all available VP editions and their features.
Or click here for an overview of prices.
#1 - VP itself: a very devoted & dedicated company
Last but not least… Visual Paradigm, so this time referring to the company and not so much the software, has always been keen on developing and providing options which makes the modeling process a lot more accessible and easier to work with. While still ensuring that every diagram we make will be fully compliant with the official standards. That is, if we want to.
Options such as the textual analysis, the specific customer journey map, the sleek interface and what to think about the three stages of an ERD diagram?
Over the years Visual Paradigm have come up with some pretty specific features which, in my opinion obviously, really made them stand out from the rest in comparison.
Instead of merely following and complying to standards, Visual Paradigm has always tried to pick up on the standardization and apply it as broadly (but still strictly!) as possible. In other words: making it easier on us to make diagrams while still doing their best to ensure that whatever we produce remains compliant with the set up standards.
And there you have it…
10 reasons why I think you might very well end up taking a liking to Visual Paradigm.
Thanks for reading!