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September 8, 2004

ConceptDraw: The Data Model Tool that Couldn't

For a few months now (and arguably for several years) I've needed to create a diagram, particularly for table definitions and relationships that are being changed in our application.

Some would say Visio is the tool, but I was sure there must be an alternative I can use on my PowerBook (without having VirtualPC). Pete pointed me to ConceptDraw, which is used by Mac folks in his office who think it's better than Visio.

I downloaded the 30-day evaluation copy and started working. It's easy to get up and running, has a similar feel to Visio. In no time I had a diagram with the tables and relationships.

The stinky part about it is at 8 tables, with about as many relationship pointers, ConceptDraw slowed to a crawl. There's a two second wait to just select a table in the diagram, and typing text into the fields is extremely slow. When I type in "offering" the word doesn't appear until after I'm done typing and I'm waiting between 1-2 seconds for each letter to appear.

I'm on a PowerBook 867MHz G4 with 640 Mb ram, which isn't the latest, but it seems to perform well with any other application. Maybe there's something about ConceptDraw that I'm missing. I launched my process monitor to make sure all my CPU and memory was available to the program but no change after cleaning up running applications.

Next step is to try working on the same file in Visio. I used the online converter but guess something went wrong because 4 days seems like plenty of time to convert and get it back to me in email. Will have to try again.

Some other thoughts on ConceptDraw.

Posted by mike at September 8, 2004 7:37 AM