Visio will launch the latest version of its enterprise diagramming software this week: Visio 2000.
Visio has completely rewritten the core Visio engine for the upgrade. Arnold van der Weide, European product marketing director, explained that the previous engine was based on software written in 1992 for Windows 3.1, and still contained 16-bit code.
He said the rewrite increased the speed of many of the software's operations, especially the automatic network detection and population feature.
Visio 2000 also adds support for new Microsoft products such as Windows 2000, Office 2000, Windows Installer and VBA 6.0. "Visio has always been integrated with Office and Windows," said van der Weide. "It now supports XML [eXtensible Markup Language] as well."
Integration with VB 6.0 allows developers to customise their workflow, using Vision to populate databases, or create diagrams using existing data.
XML integration includes support for VML (Vector Markup Language), the graphics subset of XML, which lets developers create, store and exchange drawings over the Internet. It enables users to pan, zoom and dynamically navigate through multiple page drawings, although this feature only works with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.0 Web browser. Users can also put hyperlinks in drawing to outside resources.
Visio 2000 employs new drawing and navigational enhancements, which will address some users' gripes that linking between drawings was not well implemented.
The update also addresses difficulties with Visio's routing feature. "Everybody hated the intelligent routing in version 5, because it doesn't work consistently and it screws up when you paste into Word. The most common question I get is how do you turn off this blinking routing," commented Lorenzo Wood, director of UK multimedia consultancy Oyster Partners and a Visio user.
Van der Weide admitted that the Visio development team had gone overboard with the routing feature in the previous version; the new software includes an option to turn this off.
Visio 2000 will come in four versions. The Standard edition, aimed at general business users, will cost £139 and be available mid-August.
The Technical edition, for the engineering, IT and networking community, will be available about a month later, and cost £279, the same as the Professional edition, aimed at software developers. Professional will be available at the end of October along with the Enterprise version, for database designers, which will cost £699.
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