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Hackathon at Stackoverflow Offices
During the GraphConnect 2018, we took part in a hackathon all around Neo4j at the offices of Stack Overflow and helped to build a Manhattan-based geospatial data visualization.
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Case Study: JetBrains
As codebases grow larger, it becomes more and more important to keep an overview - especially for large software companies that work with big development teams on their software. Automatic UML and class diagrams can help with getting this overview. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) are an essential tool for professional software developers. They bring together various development tools and integrate them seamlessly into one integrated application to maximize the efficiency of developers around the world. At the forefront of IDEs for almost any coding language: JetBrains. Since 2000 they are dedicated to make professional software a more productive and enjoyable experience. They achieve this by maximizing the efficiency of the workflows of their customers by integrating many aspects of a developer’s workflow into one single platform.Throughout the last decades, more and more people are coding for a living and software keeps expanding and evolving. Part of that is the increasing size and complexity of their codebases. Adding new developers to the team and refactoring existing code becomes more challenging every day. To help developers understand and explore the structure of code, they can use UML-Diagrams (Unified Modeling Language). Although UML diagrams are not meant to be used as a single source of analysis, these diagrams can enable developers to see connections between classes of their codebase and quickly understand the interactions. The UML standard can be used with all the major objective and component software development approaches, making it very use-case independent. Class diagrams are one common example of the many different UML structure diagram types. They are suitable for overlooking the structure of classes and show their properties, constraints, and relationships. "UML Editor" DemoJetBrains uses UML diagrams in their IDEs to visualize codebases for their users. See for yourself, how UML Editors can visualize your information!Back in the early 2000s, JetBrains recognized the value of UML class diagrams for the workflow of developers. Every IDE started incorporating diagrams into their platform, so they, too, evaluated their options for an implementation. The free visualization libraries did not offer satisfying solutions and developing an intern solution was not cost-effective. JetBrains was looking for a professional solution that required as little work as possible. They decided to use yFiles, the diagramming SDK, and integrated it in their IntelliJ platform.Class diagrams in the editor. Source: JetBrainsUsing yFiles as their visualization library provided them access to the most sophisticated and complete automatic layout and visualization technology on the market. JetBrains decided to fully integrate the yFiles API into their IntelliJ API to make sure plugin developers could make use of the new diagramming capabilities, too. Now, they have a framework based on yFiles for creating diagrams for almost any purpose and do not have to invest much effort in diagramming nowadays. yFiles takes care of any type of diagram JetBrains needs and they can concentrate on what they do best: Improving the workflow of developers."yFiles meets the highest standards we maintain in all JetBrains products. We can offer our customers effective, great-looking diagrams with minimum effort spent on programming them."Konstantin Bulenkov, Project Manager JetBrainsThe automatic layouts of yFiles automatically generate clearly structured diagrams from the source code projects without users having to manually untangle or rearrange the diagrams. This allows developers to quickly gain an overview and understand complex relationships in their projects. When they update the code, the diagrams automatically adjust. Developer's don't need to worry about diagrams becoming outdated. The customizability of yFiles allowed JetBrains to seamlessly integrate it into their applications: By adding custom shapes, logos, and colors, many different types of diagrams could be integrated into their IDEs. With the help of yFiles, e.g., the integration of keyboard shortcuts was a walk in the park and allows power users to keep their efficient workflow even while interacting with the diagrams.Implementing yFiles into your own application can be as easy as this: Add the UML-style into the project, then create the corresponding drag and drop palette for the user to choose the elements from. Connect the UI and add the UML-layout configuration from one of the many source code demos that come with the yFiles library and the most difficult part of the work is done. When questions arise, the yWorks support team can guide developers along their way. This enabled JetBrains to implement the diagramming functionality into their products exactly how they had envisioned it.Since 2008, JetBrains has been using yFiles as the visualization solution in their products. yWorks is happy about the smooth cooperation with one of the finest IDE makers of the last decades: "We're looking forward to the next decades!"Getting started with yFilesLearn more about yFiles, the diagramming SDK, and it's powerful and flexible features for HTML, Java, .NET, and WPF here!JetBrainsSince 2000, JetBrains strives to make the strongest, most effective developer tools and speed up the workflow for developers around the world.Their mission is to make professional software development a more productive and enjoyable experience. JetBrains won over 80 industry awards and more than 8 million customers trust their tools.https://jetbrains.com
Case Study: Connect Our Kids
Visualizations can be found in places where you would not expect them in the first place. In one of our latest partnerships, we team up with Connect Our Kids, a non-profit organization based in Virginia, USA. Their mission is to create freely available tools that help child welfare professionals quickly and efficiently connect children in foster care faster with permanent loving homes. In the USA, about one hundred thousand children are in need of a permanent so-called “forever family”, as this is a crucial factor for the well-being of children growing up. The Families First Act, a bipartisan reform that provides more resources and treatment for families in need, encourages the reunion and placement in extended families of the children.Typically, adoption social workers divide their working hours between their office, foster homes, interviewing prospective adoptive families and talking to people around the foster children (e.g. teachers, neighbours, and doctors). But tracking down suitable members of the extended family circle can be a very challenging and time-intensive task for social workers and only few children can receive this level of effort. The process of interviewing people around the children, gathering information about the extended family, and assessing which relatives are the best foster-family for a child is usually a very tedious and slow process. Information gathered has to be manually stored, edited, and connected, which made the paper-based process inefficient in its nature. Paper-based social work. Source: Connect Our KidsConnect Our Kids seeks to change that through technology. Their free tool Family Connections simplifies the process involved by enabling social workers to create and keep editing a support map for each child. A support map not only shows the connection tree for every child, it also serves as an automatic contact information discovery, and it helps social workers to easily document their contact with members of the network. Connections that are typically mapped can range from direct and extended family, over doctors and teachers, to any other important person in the child’s life.Searching for contact information is as easy as possible with their automatic search tool, that goes through information from over 300 publicly available sources. This helps social workers to quickly find physical addresses and other contact information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and even the social media pages. Furthermore, it also features example letters and example call scripts to simplify day-by-day tasks. But, the most crucial benefit is the ease of sharing the knowledge, by having a single online place for teams of social workers to visualize their work of discovering and engaging extended family members. Working collaboratively on one network is made possible by the great documentation of Family Connections: It allows social workers to share their notes directly in the support map, leaving a trail of knowledge for other workers involved. Hide DescriptionOpen in yEd LiveDownloadComputer-based social work. Source: Connect Our KidsFor the visualization component, Connect Our Kids chose to use a diagramming SDK, thereby reducing the time and cost of the development. SDKs are libraries full of pre-made code that allow programmers to take individual building blocks and integrate them into their own software, without having to program a part (in this case: the visualization) of their software entirely from scratch. The first prototype was built with a different SDK, GoJS. To generate the specific layouts needed and make the prototype market-ready, they made the switch to yFiles. The transition to yFiles was easy and, due to the similarity of the architecture, the data storage architecture and frontend framework did not have to be changed significantly."yFiles is tremendously flexible, allowing us to create the exact experience that our customers desired."Travis Collins, CTO Connect Our KidsThe "Zoom to Render" feature in Family Connections. Source: Connect Our KidsHowever, the greater flexibility of yFiles allowed the developers at Connect Our Kids to create specific network layouts and rendering features, crafting the exact experience that they desire. One of the most popular features now available with yFiles is the “zoom to see more information” feature, which allows social workers to see more information by zooming into the support map. The tool greatly cuts down the time spent tracking down individual connections and enables social workers to increase the time directly with the children, finding them permanent families.Demo "Level of Detail".Connect Our Kids makes perfect use of yFiles' "level of detail" style in their "zoom to render"-feature. See for yourself, how yFiles enables you to display your data interactively.For us, helping Connect Our Kids reach their goals is a matter of heart. They committed to the goal of helping social workers help children find forever-families. Their software is not for sale, they committed to sharing it freely with those working in the foster care system. We are looking forward to the future of our partnership. The tool will be made available nationwide in the US in 2020 and be perhaps one day even internationally available for social workers around the world.Connect Our KidsConnect Our Kids is a non-profit organization based in the US-state of Virginia. Their goal is to achieve an easy and fast connection between child welfare related professionals or CASA volunteers and possible reception facilities. Visit ConnectOurKids.org to see more information, request free access to their Family Connections tool, or support them.https://connectourkids.orgyFiles - the diagramming SDKLearn more about yFiles, the diagramming SDK, and it's powerful and flexible features for HTML, Java, .NET, and WPF here. Sources: Connect Our Kids; nacac.org; socialworkdegreeguide.org; The AFCARS Report No. 26
yWorks releases version 2.3 of yFiles for HTML!
Case Study: Visualizing Digital Innovation
Appollo Digital Innovation Platform. Source: Appollo SystemsThe act of digitalizing a business can be very challenging and unclear, especially for enterprises not rooted in the IT world. Possibilities and challenges, as well as efforts and costs required, can be difficult to foresee for business owners and managers. How can a business approach the future of digitalization and Industry 4.0, optimally? To navigate through the uncertainty of the future, good consulting is key. A clear and intelligent understanding of the available data is the basis of every good counsel – a challenge in today’s era of big data. Appollo Systems is dedicated to accelerating digital innovation. The company was founded in 2015 by a father-and-son duo in Germany and they were determined to create a cloud-based, low-code development platform that eases business-IT alignment towards the digitalized future. It is the first company to offer a visual-based business analysis and optimization platform, providing their users with a seamless transition into agile, low-code application development. To facilitate the understanding of big amounts of data and their relationships to each other, a fast, fluid, and clear visualization is crucial. For the visualization, they chose yFiles – the powerful diagramming software library."The flexibility of yFiles made the integration of the visualizations quickly and seamlessly."Appollo SystemsAppollo Digital Innovation Platform – Heatmap-based Application Monitoring & Optimization. Source: Appollo SystemsTo create market-ready visualizations for the Appollo Digital Innovation Platform faster, they decided to take advantage of the two decades of experience yWorks has in this area. With the flexibility of yFiles and its powerful programming API Appollo was able to import their existing data model in no time and integrate the visualizations seamlessly into their existing platform. Many improvement suggestions for the API that the Appollo Team had during the implementation were implemented within the next yFiles update. Besides, additional source code was provided by the yWorks support team to ensure the successful and timely deployment of the implementation. With yFiles, Appollo Systems can easily visualize the models for business analysis low-code application development with the versatile layout and visualization algorithms. The extensive editing possibilities of yFiles allow users to interact with and modify their models in an intuitive, graphical manner. This integration can be seen in the more than 20 different types of models, which are visualized through the Appollo Digital Innovation Platform. It, therefore, enables none-IT professionals, citizen developers, and business analysts, to graphically develop prototypes, MVPs up to enterprise-grade applications by just ‘drag&drop’ and low-code even without any IT support. Appollo Digital Innovation Platform – Process Model with full support of BPMN Standard. Source: Appollo SystemsSince November of 2015 Appollo Systems is dedicated to improving the process of digitalization with several additions to the Appollo Digital Innovation Platform portfolio. Co-Founder, Dr. Eckhard Herdt, commenting on the support of yWorks provided to Appollo Systems: "We always received helpful support immediately, most of the time even on the same day."Dr. Eckhard Herdt, Co-FounderAppollo Digital Innovation Platform – Innovation Cycle. Source: Appollo SystemsDemo Business Process Diagrams (BPMN).Appollo Systems uses BPMN visualizations to analyze data. See for yourself, how yFiles enables you to edit and display your data in our BPMN-Demo.yFiles - the diagramming SDKLearn more about yFiles, the diagramming SDK, and it's powerful and flexible features for HTML, Java, .NET, and WPF here.Appollo Systems GmbHAppollo Systems GmbH was founded in 2015 and is located in Bürgstadt, Germany. It offers consulting services in the areas of business analysis and optimization, digitalization and industry 4.0. The innovative core product is the cloud-based Appollo Digital Innovation Platform, which covers all phases of the application life cycle. Highlights include low-code application development in conjunction with BPMN-based process automation, DMN-based rules engine, 20 model types, heatmap-based business analysis, and heatmap-based real-time application monitoring, as well as an integrated collaboration feature and issue management. The platform is used in all kinds of business areas like finance, telecommunication, industry, logistics, health care, and public sector. https://appollo-systems.comSources: Appollo Systems GmbH; Cloud computing concept online computing technology vector By Starder, freedesignfile.com
The Story behind the yWorks Logos
yWorks' first logoyWorks exists for almost 20 years now and has a long history of developing diagramming software. We started as a spin-off of the Eberhard-Karls-University in Tuebingen and grew over the last 20 years to a leading company in the diagramming world. After all these years of evolving our products, our corporate design had to evolve, too! The company used an iteration of the classic logo with a "y" in front of the blue circle for its entirety of existence - until 2019. We started with a blue ball with white lines and green shading, then transitioned away from the shading and lastly evolved it into a plain blue ball. Transiton from second to third logoSince yWorks started back in 2000, we focused solely on evolving our products. Now, we want to evolve the company as a whole. As a first step, we thought about our Corporate Identity and our core values and motivation: We want to enable everybody to use the power of beautiful graphs and diagrams. This message has to be incorporated in the new logo for the company as well as the product logos. We worked together with our marketing agency to create ideas and prototypes of how our new logos could look like. We went through a couple of iterations of logos, then, after we settled on one design, we had to make it pass the "yWorks challenge": Can we recreate it with our professional graph visualizing tool, yFiles? Yes we could! Our CTO, Sebastian, scripted an application with which our logos could be sketched out quickly and precisely. Our logo generated with the tool made with yFilesThe tool allowed us to manipulate the graph interactively, to find different styles and alterations. The “y”-graph was quickly made, but the size, shape, and thicknesses of the nodes and edges had to be adjusted until we found the perfect balance. The other product logos were made with the same tool by adjusting the number of nodes, changing their connectivity and placement,and finding different combinations to represent the products as best as possible. We are very happy to have found a set of wonderful logos and colors for our corporate design, which represent our core value: enabling everybody to use powerful and beautiful graphs and diagrams. And, as a bonus, our logos look great in different color combinations!