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OmniGraphSketcher: first impressions

by Rob Friesel

Recently, I downloaded the OmniGraphSketcher public beta to give it a quick and dirty trial.  As you may have noticed, I can be a bit of a graph/visualization nerd.  The first screencast1 of OmniGraphSketcher made it look super easy to use and the output was (visually) very appealing.

In my first trial run, I decided that I wanted to re-create the graphs from my 2009 Q1 goals results.  I had some fun screwing around, drawing lines onto the graph stage, moving the axes around… generally following the lead of the gentleman in the screencast.  I played some trial-and-error games with the tools (which weren’t always intuitive to me) and then some more games with the controls in the palettes (which were2).  I let myself go a little crazy.

Then I reeled myself back in.  Accuracy! I want these data represented with some high fidelity.  I don’t want approximations of how many times I went climbing from January to March — I want to know exactly.  Drawing my columns gave me a lot of scientific precision as OmniGraphSketcher guessed what I meant from those drawings.  Then I tapped into the palettes to round off those floats to the integers that they rightfully are.  But this was tedious.  And for as much as a pain in the ass as Excel can be sometimes, I’d at least gotten the rhythm down.

So I decided to put it back on the shelf for a bit.  Verdict:  “Some cool output, and a lot of potential but not quite there yet.”

Of course, then I see the second screencast3 about getting data in to OmniGraphSketcher and I’m eager to give it another chance.  (Now for a project…)

  1. 22MB HD video link. []
  2. But the palettes made a bit more sense to me because they follow the same pattern as those from OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner.  So (you know) in a way, they’re familiar. []
  3. 20MB HD video link. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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