Is there a reason why there is no option to have manually movable entities? I understand there are users who like these standard display options, but it would be great to have a switch that provides the option to place (or group) the entities manually (freely) on the canvas. Thank you.
There’s another app that does that: it’s called Visio.
But seriously, the fact that Flying Logic handles all the layout is a big part of what makes it different from pretty much everything else out there, and what makes it better for many tasks.
The moment you can start nudging items a couple of pixels this way or that you lose all the benefits of automatic layout, and you’ve distracted yourself from what you really came to do: make a plan or solve a problem.
With Flying Logic, what you see is truly what you get: there are no “hidden semantics.” What do I mean by this? If A and B are both connected to C, am I implying an ordered relationship between A and B? For example, does A need to happen before B? The answer is no, because in a graph, siblings have no order. This is a good thing because if you could re-order A and B in a way that Flying Logic had to respect, viewers of your diagram would always have to question whether the order is meaningful. In other words, they’d have to guess at hidden semantics. There are several ways of expressing an ordered relationship between entities. One would be to connect A → B → C. Another would be to use edge notes to put “1” on A → C and “2” on B → C.
Or if you just want to move two entities closer together, or father apart, what are you implying? Do you think it just “looks better,” or are you trying to convey some meaning? And how does this nudging affect future layouts where things might change relationships or become more complex? If you want to associate two otherwise unconnected entities, then you can put them both into a group.
Finally, if you really want to take your finished product and have the resources to make it super pretty, then that is what freeform drawing tools are for. Flying Logic strives to provide reasonably attractive presentation while focusing on meaning.
I totally understand and agree with you, Wolf. So, first of all, my whole question was not about modifying order between entities. I totally understand the fact that logic and meaning are the fundamental principles and goals of your tool. And, because of that I admire its uniqueness and functionality. So, the first half of your answer had nothing to do with my question. This is why, for example, I don’t understand people who want to use it as a mind-mapping tool or as a flowchart. But, anyway.
My question (request) was about what you mentioned in the second part. You may call it the “looks better” aspect. I’m familiar with the grouping option and the “Layout” facility. And they are good. My only suggestion was not to change what it is (and it is sturdy and good) (and please, believe me, I love spartan), but my suggestion was for a “switch” that will give user the option to just move entities closer or farther apart (lower or higher), without changing anything about edges, or weights, annotations, etc. Just a bit of a more manual “play”. So, the user would have the option to keep the status quo or to have a bit more cosmetic freedom. Of course, if such an enhancement would entail a lot of rework, probably is not worth it.
We actually have a feature in the works that will allow the overall layout to be tighter or looser. But it really isn’t about “manual play” in any other sense that choosing the layout orientation is “manual play.” If that’s what you’re looking for, then it’s definitely on the way!
It would be great if we can sequence the entities according to our specs. I understand the need for auto arrangements.
See the explanation above. I had a conversation with a long-time Flying Logic user recently, who again asked me for this: “I have a big presentation coming up and Flying Logic was really great for developing our diagrams, but now I need them to be paginated for our presentation deck, and it would be great if everything could match our corporate look. Why can’t you just add that ability to Flying Logic?”
“Because then it would be Visio,” I said. “Look, does your company have an art department?”
“Yes…” he said.
“Is there any reason you can’t send your finished Flying Logic diagrams to your art department to make them all pretty and just the way you want them for your presentation? I mean, you used Flying Logic for its strength: helping you developing the diagrams. But Flying Logic was never intended to replace what a general-purpose drawing program can do… or an art department, for that matter.”
He paused for a long moment.
“You know, I never thought of that!” he said. “I’ve been thinking that Flying Logic needs to do everything, and it doesn’t!”
“And it really shouldn’t,” I added. “The purpose of Flying Logic is to help you iterate quickly in your thinking and communicate clearly about it with colleagues you’re developing it with, not to compete with general purpose drawing tools.”