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Automatic layout works poorly with orthogonal connectors Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

You have nailed the issues that have bothered me with auto-layout and orthogonal lines... for years.

Update after update, and the issues still persists. In recent months, I've actually had to start moving things around manually or use other software.

No reply from OminiGraffle regarding this?
If you haven't yet, do flag this up with the Ninjas through Help > Send Feedback. (This is really the only way to help help it bubble up through the layers of priority in their database of issues to address).

I think, however, that they are unlikely to fix this family of bugs (unintelligible connector overlaps, spurious asymmetries etc) until version 6. It's rooted in the choice of Graphviz (which can't currently compute orthogonal allocations of space) as a layout engine. A solution would require extending Graphviz, adding a post-processor, or going for a different layout engine. (The last one seems unlikely).

It looks very much like a fudged compromise between those two perennial components of software engineering and perhaps human life in general autonomous play and curiosity on the one hand (source of most creativity), and exchange of goods and services in a market on the other (source of most sustainability).

Graphviz has almost irresistible geek-cool, and plenty of scope for play and experimentation (I would have been tempted to choose it myself), but the market needed orthogonal trees, which Graphviz can't do. They clearly knew that orthogonal trees were important to customers a noticeable proportion of the templates are for 'orgcharts', and until recently orgcharts were strongly foregrounded in the marketing. The compromise was to dress up non-orthogonal layouts in orthogonal connectors ...

(Probably looked OK in a few early test cases, but once you start to work with it, it's hard not to notice that you're looking at diagrams in drag quite apart from the straightforward bugs ... )

I'll echo what jessem said above. This bug has been driving me nuts for a couple of years, and all along I thought there was some obscure feature I just hadn't found yet. I finally decided to get to the bottom of the issue today after much cursing and anguish, and eventually found your post. You've perfectly nailed the problem here, and it's actually quite discouraging to learn that it's unlikely to be fixed any time soon. I use OG exclusively for creating orthogonal diagrams with automatic layout, and this bug represents a colossal time suck for me since I have to make so many manual fixes.

The TreeTool script (available elsewhere in the forum) is moderately helpful, but it's hardly a fix.

Omni team: Realistically, when is this likely to be addressed?
Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
Omni team: Realistically, when is this likely to be addressed?
Well, they did de-emphasize in their marketing the (formerly rather focal and foregrounded) impression that OG could (like many packages, including MS Office) automatically generate standard orthogonal trees, with parent nodes centred over their child-ranges.

Beyond that, the only response more eloquent than the silence on this forum has been the standard email formula that "we have filed this somewhere and it may receive attention if it is ever foregrounded by due democratic process etc etc".

In short, I would really not be all that surprised to see this family of bugs (undecipherable overlapping links etc etc) reproduced in OG6.

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