Having decided to go forward using diagrams.net (formerly draw.io) as our online drawing platform (Read more about that here) for all new Azure Architecture and Concept diagrams. However, now our PowerPoint (PPT) slide decks of over 70 diagrams of Azure Architecture and Concepts have to be converted into the diagrams.net format. Can all of these PPT diagrams/slides be converted, or does each diagram have to be completely re-drawn?
The fast way to move everything from PPT would be to turn each PPT slide into an SVG image to be imported into diagrams.net and then saved to a new online repository, for export as needed. However, an SVG image of a PPT slide is a ‘solid’ image – the individual elements – icons, shapes, texts etc. are not able to be changed. We want fully customizable images that can be used and shared with others via Google Drive sharing features, or exported as a PDF, PNG or SVG to drop into a document or slide presentation.
There IS a conversion process of steps to be able to do this without having to completely redraw every diagram or concept from scratch. Diagrams.net will import Visio .vsdx files and the drawing elements will all be available to change as needed. At this point, its not an instant conversion, but a process of steps. To me, this is still better than starting all over with each diagram. I end up with a framework to add icons and text back into – but sizing & placement is already done!
Over the past few months we’ve reviewed 5 different online drawing platforms to determine which one would be best for us to begin using. Read more about all that here. Currently, we’ve been using locally installed PowerPoint as an alternative to Visio, to build up our repository of Azure Architecture and Concept diagrams for use with clients and for teaching presentations. Access those PPT drawings here.
We’ve decided to do all our Azure drawings with diagrams.net (formerly draw.io is now being moving to the new .net domain). In fact, over the next week or so, all of our Azure Architecture and Concept drawings will be converted over to the diagrams.net/draw.io platform. Read how that conversion happens, here.All our new Azure Architectural diagrams will be drawn in diagrams.net going forward.
CloudSkew is a new free online Cloud architecture drawing platform, that is still in pre-lease status:
The current and planned Features List outlines what to expect in features. Diagrams are auto-saved in CloudSkew cloud storage. Its all a good start. This will be the only online platform that focuses just on being a drawing platform for Cloud Architecture and Concepts.
I created a simple Azure concept diagram and discovered a number of ‘still to be added’ needs before I could draw a more complex Azure architecture diagram, such as Tim Warner’s IaaS class diagram. (see 2nd drawing below)
The first thing I do when starting an Azure architectural or concept drawing is to gather the most current Azure icons I’ll need for the project. This is a list of resources of Azure Icon Sets and Visio stencils to download. If you’re using an online draw program, you can search within these resources for any missing icons/symbols you need.
1. Microsoft Azure Cloud and AI Symbol / Icon Set – SVG:
- This is a free download from Microsoft which includes icons (SVG format only) icons for almost all Azure services and Microsoft cloud related technologies
- Microsoft no longer includes Visio stencils (since these are only in the subscription versions of Visio now) in the Azure Icon Set, so the Visio Stencils provided in resources #3-6 below are invaluable now!
2. Ben Coleman’s Azure Icon Collection:
- Ben Coleman provides a preview thumbnail gallery for all of these icon sets, with options to search, view on various light & dark backgrounds, download as SVG or PNG formats!
Cacoo.com offers another online drawing platform that promotes itself as ready for collaborative use for creating Azure architectural drawings. As in the other online drawing programs that we’ve been reviewing, Tim Warner’s Azure IaaS drawing was used as the vehicle to test the ease of use, the pre-loaded current Azure Icon Set and other features noted here.
Cacoo.com UI with completed drawing:
NOTE: Source of diagram: https://github.com/timothywarner/azure-class-diagrams
This is Tim Warner’s Visio drawing done in Cacoo online. Replicating a detailed drawing like this helps to discover the platform’s functionality, ease of use, as well as the other review details outlined here.