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Re: [Orgmode] Business process diagrams in org-mode

From: Eric S Fraga
Subject: Re: [Orgmode] Business process diagrams in org-mode
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2010 11:25:12 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.2 (gnu/linux)

Bart Bunting <address@hidden> writes:

> Hi All,
> This is a little bit of a vague question but was hopeing that someone
> may have some pointers.
> I am trying to create some business processes with both textual
> descriptions of the process in a table format with step numbers and
> descriptions etc.  I was hopeing to be able to automagicaly convert the
> tabular format into a business process diagram.
> I was wondering if anyone has done this in the past using org-mode and
> bable some how?
> As I am blind I can't successfully create such diagrams using drawing
> software.  It occurred to me though that it should (could) be possible
> to create diagrams from sufficient information in a table structure.
> The diagrams are the usual flow chart style of thing with steps and descision
> points causing the flow to branch to another point.  I thought that if
> we had something like the following it may be possible to generate a
> diagram.
> | Step        | Description                                                   
>           | Next Steps       |
> |-------------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+------------------|
> | Begin       | Begin the process                                             
>           | Choice1          |
> | Choice1     | Decide if we are big or small.                                
>           | Big,Small        |
> | Big         | If we are big then do big things                              
>           | End              |
> | Small       | If we are small then figure out if we are really small or 
> possibly big. | ReallySmall, Big |
> | ReallySmall | Yes we are really small                                       
>           | End              |
> | End         | The end.                                                      
>           |                  |
> |-------------+-------------------------------------------------------------------------+------------------|
> This would represent a process where we start, make a choice if we are big or 
> small.  If we are big we do big things and end.  If we are small we make  a 
> choice if we are really small or actually big.  If we decide we are actualy 
> big then we go back to the big step.  If not we go on to the end.
> Anyway just thought I'd ask in case someone had a suggestion how this could 
> be done using org-mode.
> Cheers
> Bart
> _______________________________________________
> Emacs-orgmode mailing list
> Please use `Reply All' to send replies to the list.
> address@hidden
> http://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/emacs-orgmode


others have already pointed you to some code I wrote to convert tables
into GANTT charts using tikz in LaTeX.  For this problem, however, I
would suggest that converting a table to dot format (cf. graphviz [1])
might be more appropriate.  dot will generate quite nice graphs or
trees.  tikz can do it as well but you might find it easier with dot.

The one issue will be parsing your /Next Steps/ column.  You might find
it easier to have next steps be a variable number of columns, one for
each step for a particular step with empty entries for those that don't
have many next steps.  I hope that makes some sort of sense...

The table above would be converted to something like:

#+begin_src dot
digraph process {
  begin [label="Begin the process"];
  choice1 [label="Decide if we are big or small"];

  begin -> choice1;


I can't help with this at the moment (swamped at work) unfortunately but
have a look at my GANTT code and see if that can give you a start.  I'll
have more time in a couple of weeks hopefully.


[1]  http://www.graphviz.org/

: Eric S Fraga (GnuPG: 0xC89193D8FFFCF67D) in Emacs 23.2.1
: using Org-mode version 7.3 (release_7.3.78.ge04ba)

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