Gliffy – Web based Visio

When I wrote about the making of Microsoft Office Killer, I was not able to list a competitive web based program for Visio. But now Microsoft is going to face threat even for Visio in the form of Gliffy.

Gliffy is a web based diagramming solution, similar to Visio on desktop. I was little skeptical when I first heard about it. But my opinion got changed on the very first look itself. It is pretty fast and very simple to use and has a ton of build in shapes and figures.

I was particularly amazed with its speed and it made me to wonder how it was implemented, particularly because none of the usual buzzwords like AJAX, Web 2.0 etc. were present. This is the problem being a web developer. You always look at a website from a developer perspective and never get to look at it from a user perspective. Within a couple of moments I found out that it was entirely designed with Flash OpenLaszlo. (Chirs, Co-Founder of Gliffy clarified that it was built using OpenLaszlo)
Well this may spark new discussion AJAX vs Flash but one thing is sure the guys behind Gliffy have really done lot of hard work and have done a wonderful job.

Here is the review about Gliffy from Lifehacker

Another great thing about Gliffy is that it keeps records of all your revisions, which makes collaboration a breeze – just add and remove collaborators who can access your document, and Gliffy takes care of the rest.

As with most web-based applications (so far), you may not want to move all of your projects online if you create diagrams a lot, but if you need to slap together a diagram every now and then but don’t want to pay the Microsoft premium for Visio, Gliffy looks like a solid choice

As clearly noted by them it may not (or may) fully replace Visio but Gliffy can be really handy when you have to just deal with a small diagram and you are left with just a browser and an internet connection. 😉

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7 Comments so far

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  • Thanks for the write up! Just to clarify, we built Gliffy using OpenLaszlo.


    Chris Kohlhardt
    Co-founder, Gliffy Inc.

  • Sudar says:

    Hi Chris

    Nice to know that Gliffy was built using OpenLaszlo. Will update the post with the change.


  • Rajiv Shankar says:

    The debate on Flash v/s AJAX has already started. In my opinion both these technologies should go hand in hand and a succesful marriage of the two is gonna produce one heck of UI. So if you ask me, both these are here to stay !!

    And as for OpenLaszlo, well it supports AJAX (DHTML) as much as it supports Flash – so that should not be a problem for UI developers.

  • Sudar says:

    “In my opinion both these technologies should go hand in hand and a succesful marriage of the two is gonna produce one heck of UI.”

    I totally agree with you on this. I have already seen some splendid UI’s. Check out


  • David says:

    I don’t agree, I think you ultimately need to write in JavaScript to produce the best software engineering. We’ve done this in diagramly, another free online diagramming tool, but one that doesn’t limit the number of drawing produced, put a watermark on exports and has Visio import.

  • J says:

    Tested Diagramly’s Visio import….doesn’t work.

  • Dennie says:

    I am a Mac user, so the only application i know similar to this is OmniGraffle but i have to rack out about more roughly $200 for it.
    This is interesting and i thinks this has a similar concept to google docs nowadays. This online app can help users with their project to create flow charts, diagrams and other business process models. Furthermore, its free to use.

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