Modelling business processes often involves manipulation and visualization of directed graphs. In a recent project our Java client software needed such a visualization tool, yet we had no time delving deep into these topics. Plus, reinventing the wheel is never such a great idea. After some googling I came up with a tool called yEd.
You can design graphs with it and import existing graphs as XGML. In fact, the file formats that yEd supports include GraphML and other open formats. Its best feature yet are some powerful layout algorithms that allow for a complete lack of position information in the export. One just exports the structural information, hit a button and, bingo, the graph expands into a nice, clean structure. A beauty to the eyes. I tip my hat to the developers who implemented the layout algorithms. This is incredibly cool work you guys did!
yEd itself is written in Java. It’s a Swing application based on the propriatary yFiles library. While yEd can be downloaded and used freely it is not freeware slash open source. When it comes to incorporating the yFiles API into an existing application (big) bucks are required. Nonetheless, its a beautiful tool and it impressively demonstrates how powerful Swing is.
In short, for people who need to visualize graphs this might be a nice tool to check out. Well, sure, we’d be happier, if it were open source… :)
Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with yWorks.