Thursday, August 27, 2009


Mihai let the cat out of the bag recently about my little side project to let you create, embed, and collaborate on diagrams that are generated from simple sentences, and, he being the celebrity he is, it's gotten a lot of buzz (including Kent Beck(!), even if he doesn't know what it's for). :)

It's not as polished as I'd like (anybody know a pretty Java Linux font?), but that's launching early and often for you. It seems to be already useful, I've used it for a few things at work and found it way faster than wrestling with Visio or something.

The actual design is a little convoluted so that I could get a reliable data storage system with minimal changes from my current hosting environment. Ideally, the whole app would be on App Engine, but Java2D isn't available in the sandbox yet. You can see how it works here. I really, really wanted to avoid calling out to Dot, but after some time spent reading the paper, I realized how hopeless that was. :(

A shout out to some similar tools that just didn't quite do it for me:

Also a shout out to Alan Donovan, who built something similar inside of Google that I <3ed.