Cacoo … cacoo. This web app has finally made its way into Mind-Mapping.Org.
Cacoo is a neat browser-based diagrammer and it’s free (for now). It has 13 stencil sets with useful images and shapes covering basic shapes, balloons, arrows, office equipment, sitemap symbols, network components, flowchart symbols, office layout, people, smileys, an intiguing freehand wireframe, regular wireframe and UML symbols. (Click image below for a full-sized view)
Three significant things that make this product particularly useful are:
- Diagrams produced can be embedded in web pages, and remain linked to the original at Cacoo.com, so your readers will see them updated whenever you or your collaborators make and save changes;
- diagrams can be worked on by several people simultaneously;
- each version made is retained, so you can go back through time and see the development of the diagram; You can also undo, right back to the beginning.
This is what it looks like when embedded in a page: Cacoo-embedded. I tried to embed it here in the post, but WordPress would not show it and deleted the HTML on each save. There’s probably a technique for embedding iframes in WordPress but I don’t know it.
It’s not immediately obvious how to generate the embedded code, so let me tell you what I found:
- After doing any work on the diagram, save it. If you don’t it will not be lost, but the link generated will point to an earlier version.
- Click Save again, ensure “Open diagram to public by URL” is checked. Click Copy button beside the URL given.
- Paste that URL to your browser’s address bar and press Enter.
- Click “Link” button (top right)
- Copy the code in the “HTML to embed the image and paste the site” box
Otherwise, this is easy to use, and though nowhere near as powerful as Visio and its ilk, while it remains free it’s one to keep in mind for collaborative work.