Thursday, January 9, 2014

Pencil Project as an alternative to Visio for IT professionals

Pencil Project advertises itself as an open source Graphical User Interface (GUI) prototyping tool.  The project stresses it's available for "All" platforms.  "All" platforms includes Windows, Mac, and Linux (Fedora package).


(Installed version | Portable Version)


As my career has progress in roles such as developer, database administrator, project manager, or analyst, I have always used the software Microsoft Visio.  My first experience with it was in college when Visio was made by a separate company, before being acquired by Microsoft.  I have always carried it with me, buying my own license when working for small companies, and using an enterprise license more recently. 


As much as Microsoft Visio has been help, it does have limitations.  The software is not always 'with you', or may be unattainable or inaccessible to other team members due to licensing issues.


Pencil Project in a portable version can be carried on your portable drive or cloud drive.


Business Analysis

Pencil Project has a basic, but complete Flowcharting shapes available.  Connectors allow basic connections between shapes and stay connected as the diagram is arranged.



There are three simple connector choices:



Pencil Project contains no templates or Shapes for representing Data or Database objects.  Another diagramming tool is necessary.


UI prototyping

Extensive templates and shapes for popular Uis.