Thoughts from the Wobbly Edge

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Diagram your websites!

I've added a plugin architecture to DiagramCreator, and now you can download a plugin to automatically diagram a website. One of the cool aspects of this is you can edit the diagram after it is auto-generated by the Website Diagrammer plugin. Here's how it works:

(1) DiagramCreator launches the (2) Website Diagrammer plugin. (3) The user enters a valid URL for the Website Diagrammer Plugin to begin mapping. (4) The plugin downloads the HTML of the main page and then (5) searches for links within the HTML code. (6) This process repeats for the number of iterations specified by the user. (7) When done, the plugin converts the data to DiagramCreator XML code and passes it on to DiagramCreator, which then, (8) renders the chart. At this point you can edit the diagram just like any other diagram, and save the source as well.

Getting the Website Diagrammer Plugin
You can download the Website Diagrammer Plugin here:

In order to install the plugin you need to first locate where your DiagramCreator folder is. There you will find a file called InstantDiagrams.rev. You should create a folder there called dc_plugs and put the downloaded file in it: WebDiagram.rev

Launching the PluginAfter you've successfully installed the Website Diagrammer Plugin, you will now find it available in the File menu. Just click it to launch it.
Using Website Diagrammer
Here's a quick How-To to get you started:
(1) Instructions- always a good idea to check out. (2) Remember, this is beta software! Check for Updates often. (3) Here's where you put the URL- don't forget http:// (4) After you enter the URL, press the Crawl Web button to start the process. It can take several minutes! (5) At any time you can press the STOP button and the plugin will generate the data already captured. (6) The number of levels for the plugin to search through the website. The more levels, the longer it takes and the bigger your final diagram. (7) Typically, you will want to limit the level iterations to only your website domain. It's best to leave this checked. (8) After completion, the DiagramCreator XML file code is generated and passed to DiagramCreator by pressing the (9) Generate Diagram button. (10) You will see the status of the process in this lower area and when finished it will tell you some relevant statistics.

Here are some pages which were generated using this plugin. I'll be creating more plugins as we go, and if you have RunRev, you can develop your own plugins for DiagramCreator. You can look at the source code of the Website Diagrammer plugin to learn how. Let me know if you find any problems.