Flowcharting has been around since their has been programming languages. In college, I used a plastic IBM template with special flow chart paper. Now instead of having to be an expert "draftsman" - almost anyone can create good looking flowcharts.
Several companies have flowcharting software that should he quite useful for multimedia project. In a few months, at the end of this series of articles, I'll have more detailed reviews of some of these products.
Kaetron's has two versions of their TopDown Flowcharter 4 software. One version is for the PC Windows environment and the other is for the Macintosh. Both versions are "retail priced" at $345 with street prices under $200. It features low level drawing (charts within charts), cross-platform file sharing (very useful in a mixed PC-Mac environment) , automatically connecting symbols (improves charting speed and allows for fast corrections) ) notecard attachment (allows for lots of explanation without cluttering up the chart), custom symbols (let's you do your own thing and break through the limitations of conventional flowcharting symbols) and import/export capabilities.
Patton & Patton's Flow Charting 4 lets you create flowcharts and data flow diagrams along With organization charts. It features sensible shapes (prevents resizing distortion) and sensible lines (allows you to keep a line connected to the attached shape and move when the shape moves). MDI (Multiple Document interface) allows you to open as many as nine charts at the same time and chart linking allows you to link two charts together so you can jump from an object on one chart to a specific page on another chart.
With these packages and others such as Micrografx ABC Flowcharter, your drafting ability won't impede your next multimedia project!
As an aside - I wrote this article (into a pen computer) without typing it. I penned it in with a pen computer. I have been using it for a little over a month and I have been quite pleased!
© 1995 Rick Smith All rights reserved.