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On Not Buying ConceptDraw

Having spent a couple of days with ConceptDraw I am very reluctant to buy despite it being an able diagramming tool, with all the facilities to produce professional and attractive process maps and any other business diagram you could think of.

It looks and behaves like a proper native OSX application, although perhaps not one that was designed by a mac user. My colleagues on Windows, and most of them are, can have a version of their own. If they decide to switch to Apple, and quite few are thinking about it, they can still use the same license on the Mac as they used on Windows and still use all their files.

There are some great stencils and ‘templates’, and you can create your own or import Visio stencils. These library shapes can include custom data, allowing for some sophisticated data storage as well as visual appeal. Some of the common and most useful diagrams have a really slick timesaving ‘Rapid Draw’ function.

It has useful input and output options.

It is really competitively priced.

I can’t see any reason for anyone to buy Visio in preference to this product.

Why the reluctance then the reluctance, what is actually wrong with it?

The only substantial criticism I have is that the stencils (or libraries as they call them) are unpleasant to look at and tiring to work with. The whole application is a business-status blue and grey; the icons for all the shapes are a uniform button-shape in blue or grey with an grey or blue outlined white icon. They are not that easy to see.

And that’s about it for genuine negative feedback of the program itself. It isn’t a pleasure to use, but it does the job.

The company though, that’s the other side of being a purchaser: how does it feel to be a customer.

Getting pricing information out of sales has been like drawing teeth from a chicken. Here’s what I have gleaned so far…

There is an annual subscription for the solution centre. All the solutions are currently free, so you can keep the ones you have downloaded, but some of the solutions in the future will be paid for – though free if you purchase a solution park subscription at 85 euro; what will be developed and what will be free or charged for is undecided, perhaps nothing in the next year.

There is also an ‘Assurance P1’ thing that gives you maintenance. Meaning you don’t have to pay for the next upgrade.

This costs 104 GBP

The upgrade from the previous edition to the current edition is half price. The current edition costs 135 GBP. Half price is what, 67.5, somewhat less than buying the next upgrade (release date unknown) in advance.

The total cost will be 345 GBP if I buy the assurance that I can get an upgrade to the next version and buy a subscription for a year to access the things that I can access anyway without paying anything and perhaps some things that will be released with a charge.

Confused? I am. More to the point I feel distrustful. I assume that the next release will be more than the current one (else I would be paying a premium for giving my money away early) which implies that the company are planning a price spiral.

None of this information is available on the web site, other than the simple price of 135, which is around half the price of the expected cost.

I don’t want to deal with this company.

Export – vdx from ConceptDraw Import – vdx into OmniGraffle

Everything comes through – including all visible layers.

The results are not great. Connectors become disconnected. Text is no longer a property of the object, but rather a separate text box in group, and looking at the xml generated this appears to be an error in the file ConceptDraw produces rather than an error in the import to OmniGraffle. But with half an hour of fiddling my work is in OmniGraffle ready to give it a trial tomorrow.