Feature Poll for Version 22

Thanks to everyone who voted in our feature poll for Version 22! This feedback is essential ensuring that you get the software you want. Here are the results.

Being able to save diagrams was the most popular feature, narrowly edging out AI integration. Adding a chat feature generated the least interest.

We also got a lot of comments from respondents. Thanks for those! I really appreciate all this detailed feedback. Several of the comments requested features that PlantText already has. So clearly we’re in need of better help documentation! Actually, that was another request, lol. I’m hoping to add a series of help videos soon, but that’s been slow going. Some of these already present features include:

  • Swim lane diagrams
  • VIM-like key bindings – just open Settings and turn it on
  • Auto update on the fly – Auto refresh is coming in version 21 (next week)
  • Auto save diagrams – Auto save is coming in version 21 (next week)
  • Smart suggestions / Auto complete – This is addressed with the Snippets feature that was recently introduced. Log in and turn it on! If you need more for a particular diagram type, just let me know.

Below are the actual comments that people left about what additional features they would like to see in PlantText. You can read the comments and my thoughts on them below as well…

Your CommentsOur Thoughts
Swimlane Cross Functional Flow ChartYes, you can already do swim lanes in multiple diagram types. We will add examples, and do a blog post on it.
Couldn’t care less about chat, and even less for AI integration. But had to select something.Thanks for the honesty!
Integrated docs. I’d like to hover keywords and see a short brief 🙂Wow, would like to hear more about this. I am not sure exacly what this means, but sounds like a great idea. Email me if you want to elaborate.
Support local path to my plantuml preset (library actors for c4 model as example)Would like to hear more about this too. I am not sure exacly what this means, but sounds like a great idea. Email me if you want to elaborate.
The ability to export all files at onceGreat idea. I will add it to the list of features.
Vim-like key bindingsWe have VIM-like binding. Go to settings and turn it on!!
It would be nice to have diagram 1) auto-update on the fly 2) if there are errors show them near the previous valid diagram version.1) This will be coming in version 21 2) I’d like to hear more about that
Love the vi editor, auto complete?Thanks for the feedback. Tell the other guy above 🙂
No. I actually quite like plant text a lot. it is quite helpful so thank you very much 🙂You’re welcome!
Google says this means “No”, so good to hear you are all good. 🙂
Multiple type of exports –> like not only .uml files and image files also should be like .mdj files etcOh, well I will look into this. Maybe I can use OpenAI to do this as well without much development.
Would be nice to make formatting a diagram a little easier, especially for beginners, even if its in the help section where the commands are listedOk, this gives me an idea. Many of you asked about adding a copy paste snippet list off to the side of the editor. Let me think about this one.
Save automatically, so when you accidentally close the browser or tab, the diagram isnt lostDone in version 21 just released.
Venn diagramI found this. But, it doesn’t seem like PlantUML supports it. https://github.com/plantuml/backlog/issues/22
Integrated contextual documentationI started adding hover over help messages in Version 21. Will make sure it is complete in the next release.
Vim-like keybindingsHey someone else said that too. We have VIM-like binding. Go to settings and turn it on!
As an extension to option B. Lightweight version control. E.g. enable storing last N versions with a retention of X days, and being able to revert to previous versions.Wow, I have been thinking about that too. Maybe using AWS S3 with versioning or GIT, or something. Looking into this right now. This would need to be a paid feature for sure…lots of time and effort.
Circular layout (as circo in graphviz)Darn, wish I understaood what this one was about. Email me if you want to elaborate.
1. Either live updates or just correct shortcut on macOS – cmd+Enter
2. Zoom in/out a diagram
3. Smart suggestions (complete already exists name of an entity or function from a drop-down list)
1. Done in version 21 just released.
2. Interesting Idea. I will add it to the feature list.
3. You should try Snippets!! Just log in and you have this feature!
1) AutoComplete 2) Navigate to code section when a portion of the image is clicked.1. Done in version 21 just released.
2. This is an interesting idea. But, I don’t know how it could be done actually. Sorry.
Scaling of diagram so it can stay on the right even on smaller screens (laptop)Thanks for the suggestion! It is done in version 21 just released.
Improve documentation on the available featuresWill do. I am thinking about a YouTube video. Would that help?
The website does everything it is asked for no need to aim too high only thing that i think could be added is same kind of syntax list like for example you can see on the site https://sqliteonline.com/ on the right there is room for it but if you could also hide it that would be perfect for us forgetful peopleThis really got me thinking. I have some good ideas on how to do it. I looked at teh website you sent. I will do something similar. 🙂
Create diagrams from C# classesWe used to do this but keeping up with the code was a pain in the butt. I am going to start doing this again, but with AI this time.
Examples showing Full support for a specific version of UML, e.g 2.5, with all diagrams listedGood idea. Will think more about it.
YesDarn. Wish you had said more than just “yes”. Email me if you want to elaborate.
Accept donation from more countries. I wanted to but currently my country is not accepted.Oh, wow. Good idea. I wonder what country you are talking about. Email me if you want to elaborate.
Choose the color of the text (mulit coloured)Hummmm, not sure if you mean the text in the editor or the diagram image. You can change the Editor Theme and the Diagram Theme in Settings. You can also change the color text displays in the diagram image. I’ll add samples. 🙂
Add support for libraries like plantuml-stdlib’s, awslabs’, tupadr3’s, ideally with some dialog(s) helping to visually select assetsOh, let me look into that. I have no idea what that is right now.
Offline app/standalone outside of browser, or some integration with an extensionUgggg, too much work. You do that.
I’d love to have a draw.io like system where i could drag and drop elements that are essentially just snippets.
Another nice feature i believe would be a general make-over of the front end. I really love this service, but i noticed it’s a bit of a tough sell to new people sometimes because the front-end is experienced sometimes as bit dull/dry. However, once they see the essence pretty much everyone loves it. Love your work! Plenty more ideas, but these a few nice ones i feel.
You’ve given me a lot to think about here. I have some thoughts about how to make the existing Snippets feature easier to use. I still need to add a lot of snippets but it works great. If you haven’t tried Snippets yet, just log in to use it.
No, but GPT would be very welcome as listed aboveYES, I am excited about this as well!!
Some kind of history of changes so I can step through what was added to the file, supporting a git repo ?Versioning….yeah, thinking about it now. Git support might be a good way to go.
I would like to have a working gui where I can draw something and get plantUML code. This would be very helpful and will increase the publicity of PlantUML very much I thinkDarn. I wish I understood this idea better. I am not really following. Email me if you want to elaborate.

And here’s a graph of the raw survey data if you are interested. It can be a little confusing at first glance. The blue bars indicate responents’ #1 feature choice. The highest blue bar is “Save diagrams to the server.” The red bar signifies their #2 choice. The orange bar signifies their last place choice. Save diagrams and AI Integration were pretty closely tied – they got the most #1 and #2 rankings. The chat feature clearly generated the least interest.

So again, thanks for your feedback. We’ll keep working to make PlantText the best online Plant UML Editor tool out there.

PlantText Release Version 20

Version 20 is Released!

Version 20 of PlantText is here! We are really pumped about it and hope you enjoy using it.

Most exciting are the new features for registered, logged in users. Remember, it’s free to register on PlantText. Version 20 also offers many new features for everyone else too. Let’s go through them one at a time…

Code snippets

The new code snippets feature allows us to add blocks of code that can be quickly added to a diagram with just a few key-strokes. First, log in and open the Settings windows. Make sure “Snippets” is checked, then select the diagram type you want. Now code snippets are activated for that diagram type only. Just type the first three letters of a diagram type name (like “act” for Activity or “cla” for Class Diagrams) and pop-up options will appear. If you have the “Live Autocompletion” setting checked, the options will just appear automatically. If “Live Autocompletion” is not checked, press CTRL+SPACE to make the code snippets appear. If you can’t remember the full name of the snippet you want, just remember the three letter prefix in front of it so they all pop up like you see in the image below…

We will eventually have snippets for all the different PlantUML diagram types. We can add them over time on the back end. We want to get them right and make the best snippets possible, so we need to take our time. Here is an example of how it works right now. The snippet “act-ife” will write an activity diagram if-then-else block into the editor once you select it. You can then tab through and add text to the ${1}, ${2}, and ${3} tags. Once we have hundreds of snippets, your typing will be minimal. Here is an actual snippet in the database.

snippet act-ife
	if (${1:condition}) then (yes)
		:${2:this};
	else (no)
		:${3:that};
	endif

And here is another example but for class diagrams…

Syntax Highlighting

We also added syntax highlighting for a bunch of different languages besides PlantUML. You can choose one from a dropdown list in the settings window. But the cool thing is that the editor will now look for the PlantUML “@startuml, @startjson, or @startyaml” tags at the top of the editor and automatically switch the syntax highlighting for you to the appropriate language. So notice below that the Syntax Highlighting setting is JSON below because the @startjson tag is present…

Diagram Pop-out Window

The Diagram Pop-out Window is finally here! We have wanted to do this for a long time, and finally made it happen. You can now have the editor in full screen on one monitor and the diagram image at full screen on another monitor. Just toggle the checkbox for it in the settings window.

For users who are not logged in we also added a bunch of other great features too. I am most exited about the Live Auto-completion and Diagram Themes.

Live Auto-completion

Live Auto-completion of words in the editor is useful and works along side the snippets. Just start typing (or turn off Live Autocompletion and press CTRL+SPACE) to get a list. Press enter to select the item and it gets inserted into the editor for you.

Diagram Themes

Now you can choose a diagram theme from a dropdown on the main window. It is pretty sophisticated, as it will also parse the content in the editor and stay in sync with the dropdown menu. There’s a pretty decent variety of different color schemes to choose from. Give it a try!

Fixes

Lastly there are a few additional features / fixes. Here is a short list…

  • Added a warning message before file deletion. No more ooops! deleted files.
  • The local file list is now sorted in the open window. Small but helpful.
  • Accidental refreshes when scrolling has been fixed, mostly for mobile.

Looking ahead

Here are a few features that we are currently working on for the next few releases…

  • Save registered users diagrams to our server. Share them by email address?
  • Dark mode. The light hurts my eyes!
  • In-application community chat. Discuss your issues with other users? Real time and ephemeral?
  • ChatGPT or GPT-4 integration. Have the PlantUML generated automatically! 🙂

Anyway, again we have greatly accelerated the development of new features and putting in a lot of time. If you can spare a few bucks for a donation, that would be great. A monthly recurring donation of even $2 makes this a sustainable project! We want to keep PlantText free forever!

If you have any thought on these or other enhancements, please share your thoughts with us at admin@planttext.com

PlantText Release Version 19 and Beyond

Version 19 was released!

We pushed out Version 19 the other night and it got us excited about spending some real time making PlantText.com the best free PlantUML editor out there. Here’s what’s in Version 19:

  • Updated the server operating system to make it current
  • Updated the database. Lots of new features available
  • Upgraded to a very very high password encryption
  • Fixed a few small usability bugs
  • Added some Design Pattern and JSON diagrams in the “Samples” drop-down

So, this was a lot of effort behind the scenes, but perhaps not the most exciting release from a user perspective. It got us really motivated and excited to start a new wave of enhancements that we have been talking about doing for years.

Forum Headaches

The old forum was a nightmare because of constant spamming. So, we got rid of it! Most of the questions on it related to PlantUML, not PlantText anyway. So we added a link to the PlantUML Forum. Great. Done. We are planning to add an in-application chat window to PlantText so people can communicate in real time and help solve problems directly.

Moving Ahead Towards Version 20

Since the release of Version 19, we’ve added more JSON and Design Pattern examples to the “Samples” drop-down list. Yes, you can work with JSON in PlantText! It is really cool. Editing JSON in a text editor is kinda squirrelly. It’s great to be able to visualize it this way in PlantText. And it’s gotten us thinking more about JSON formatting and beautification features in the editor.

This week we’ve been working really hard on a number of new features for Version 20. These features are already built, and are in testing right now. They include the following…

PlantText Version 20 Planned Features

Auto-completion & Snippets

Live and manual auto completion. Type a few characters and press Ctrl+Space to get a list of keywords in the document. Press tab to autocomplete the word.

Snippets. PlantUML-specific snippets for all diagram types. We are still building the snippets out in the database but a couple characters will easily give you entire blocks of PlantUML code. We plan to build these out for all diagram types.

Diagram Pop-out Window

Send the generated diagram image into a separate browser window / monitor. If you have two monitors, you will be able to have a full screen PlantText editor on one monitor and the generated diagram on another. Sweet!

More Sample Diagrams

More YAML, JSON, AsciiMath, Creole, EBNF and Design Pattern diagrams. A little bit at a time these will just keep popping up in the “Samples” dropdown. We can push them out without a release of the software.

Beyond Version 20

Here are a few features that are on our roadmap for the next couple of versions (21 & 22)…

  • Save registered users diagrams to the server. Use diagrams from any computer / browser. Share diagrams by email address as well?
  • Add a toggle for a light and dark theme. The light hurts my eyes! Make it dark.
  • In-application community chat. Discuss your issues with other users? Real time and ephemeral?
  • Add menu options to format or beautify PlantUML, JSON, YAML, etc.

If you have any thoughts on these or other enhancements, please share them with us at admin@planttext.com. Seriously, we’d love to hear from you.

We plan to continue improving PlantText for years to come, and we hope to keep PlantText free forever. If you can spare a few bucks for a donation, you’re supporting the entire community of users worldwide who use PlantText. A monthly recurring donation of even $2 would make this a really sustainable project!

PlantText Release Version 18

PlantText is kicking off 2022 with a bevy of enhancements: Version 18 includes syntax highlighting, advanced editor settings, emailing diagrams, linking to diagrams, and more. This is going to be a big year for PlantText. I have more time set aside to add functionality and write blog posts. It’s gonna be fun.   

But let’s talk about the new release! Below is the new toolbar you will see once you have registered and logged in. You can see we changed to a more material design look. The button icons are also a bit more intuitive now. Most of the buttons on the right side only appear for you to play with once you log in. But let’s look at the bigger changes now…

 Syntax Highlighting in the Editor

  • Hell yes! The editor now supports syntax highlighting specific to the PlantUML language. Without a doubt, this is the new feature I personally am most excited about. Try a class diagram in a dark theme like Chaos, so the colors really pop.
  • This works well for most of the UML based diagram types. But you may get strange results for more obscure diagram types like Gant, Salt, JSON, YAML, etc. We may add syntax highlighting for other languages in the future, as that may be helpful. 
  • You can always turn syntax highlighting off with the checkbox in the Settings window.
PlantText releases new features for 2022: syntax highlighting

New Settings for the Editor

These new settings should give you enough control over the editor to work the way you like to. No one wants to work in a jacked up editor. Now you can…

  • Manage the syntax settings mentioned above
  • Turn on and off soft tabs and set tab size. Everyone’s got their own favorite tab size.
  • Show/ hide invisibles, indent guides and the print margin
  • Highlight the active line
  • Turn on or off the scratch window
  • Turn wrap mode on or off
PlantText releases new features for 2022: advanced editor settings

Authentication

  • Authentication using email/password. This actually rolled out in Version 17, but we mention it here since we had not previously written about it. 
  • You can create an account and delete it at any time. You can also delete all diagrams stored in your browser at any time.
  • It is worth mentioning here that diagrams are not stored on the PlantText servers. They are simply cached in local storage. We only store your username, password and name. 
  • Some new features require a login, for instance…
    • Link Maker
    • Pointing to a different PlantUML server. This is great for folks who are running their own PlantUML server and need to keep all of their content behind their corporate firewall. It probably needs its own blog post to cover it in detail– I’ll put that on my to do list.
    • Emailing yourself your diagram
    • Sending your diagram to a web hook

Send your diagrams in a variety of ways

PlantText now offers a bunch of different ways to save and share your awesome diagrams with other humans or machines.

  1. You can email a diagram directly to yourself with a button click.
PlantText releases new features for 2022: send diagram to email

2. Send the active diagram to your own web hook– think Zapier or Webhook.io. Do what you want with it. Some examples could be saving diagrams to Google Drive, or pushing them to a documentation server. Yeah, you can do some real fancy shit with this one.

PlantText releases new features for 2022: send diagram to web hook

3. Use the link Link Maker to create a link and send to anyone you like.

PlantText new feature: link maker

PlantText Version 18, Just the Start of Good Things to Come

Yep, we’ve been busy around here lately. PlantText has been a passion project of mine for so many years, and it’s nice to finally have the time to put some work into it. We have a lot of plans for 2022, which I’d like to share with you soon. So keep an eye out for that. We welcome one-time and recurring donations. And I always love to hear feedback from the PlantText community: admin@planttext.com

Cheers,
Arwen

PlantText Updates

Check out the latest PlantText updates

We’ve made a few changes here at PlantText we thought you might like to know about. Here are the latest PlantText updates:

What’s new

  • We streamlined the look and feel of the website and got rid of the homepage, so that now when you come to www.planttext.com, you go straight to the editor.
  • We are now using SSL.
  • We added some new PlantUML samples to the “Select a sample” dropdown in the editor. Three new GraphViz diagrams and eight new XEarth diagrams.
  • We moved our blog over to this WordPress site.
  • We ditched the old Feedback form and set up a Forum. We ported all of the content over from Feedback, except that it all looks like it was posted by me. Please be sure to post any bugs you come across there, ideas for new features, questions or even random thoughts. We want to hear from you!

Here’s what hasn’t changed: PlantText is still free to use! We hope you enjoy the latest round of PlantText updates. Let us know what you think.

Cheers,
Arwen

New version available and future plans

It has been a while since I have done a post for PlantText, but I am trying to make up for it now. I have been very busy the last week or so working on the small feature changes that people have recommended on the Feedback page, as well as a few other small enhancements I have been thinking about for a while. There were a lot of good ideas and I think I have addressed most of them in the new version that I just pushed out today!

Here are some of the changes made…

  • Added a “TXT” link below the PlantUML diagram so you can convert the PlantUML diagram to ASCII art.
  • You can change the PlantUML Server setting to any URL now, so the diagrams do not need to be created by the default PlantUML server. You can download the PlantUML .war file, install it with a java servlet container like Tomcat 7, and have your own local PlantUML server running from PlantText.
  • Removed the “Dock & Drag” options from the editor page because they were buggy and unnecessary. People did not really use it and they were taking up a lot of space on the page.
  • Added informative pop-up messages in the bottom left corner of the editor page so you would know what the “Save”, “Refresh”, and other buttons are doing.
  • I added a “Load” button so you can load the PlantUML text that you have saved to the PlantText server using the “Save” button. This is useful if you want to reload the PlantUML and copy over what you were working on.
  • The PlantUML that you last saved is automatically loaded when ever you login, but this keeps you from having to log off and back on again in order to revert back to what you had saved.
  • I made a few cosmetic changes to give the editor page a cleaner look and a bit more usable space.
  • Also, I responded to all your posts on the Feedback page. I hope the answers helpful. Thank you for the ideas and the bug reports.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that I am working on adding functionality to help you convert PlantUML class diagrams to code stubs in a number of programming languages. In this case, PlantUML text would be sent to another web service in order to dynamically generate the code stubs. I am building this on top off the work done by Brian Folts at GitHub. He did all the hard work. I am just extending his effort and wrapping it in a web service so we can use it from PlantText. I will contribute most of these changes back to his repository as soon as I learn Git and GitHub.

I’ll keep you posted on additional changes and when they will be available!

Cheers,

Arwen