Toad World® Forums

Straight Line Option Missing from Workspace Format


#1

I don’t have the option to format the relationship lines to straight (like I did in the previous version).

Is the option located somewhere else?

v 5.2.4.25

Thanks. Jake.


#2

As was annonuced in the release notes, read me and in posts here - the new version has dropped straight lines.


#3

Hi Jake - with the redesign of the relationship lines system it was not possible to retain the straight lines. The new system has quite a few enhancements that will hopefully make up for that. Thanks!


#4

I’ve just “upgraded” to 5.2 and was looking like crazy to get rid of these *** ugly squared lines when I’ve seen this post.

This must be a joke, right?

Why not an option?

If this is the final decision, i will “upgrade” back to the 5.1 and this will make it easier for me when it comes at reasoning why shall I (and my customers) pay my yearly maintenance fee.

Bad decision “optimizing” where it is not required.


#5

Before reverting down to 5.1, please try test driving 5.2 for a week or two. I was originally a huge skeptic of the loss of straight lines - and gave the dev team a very hard time. But once I used 5.2 for a short while I found the loss a non issue. My goals when modeling are to have clean looking models with easy to read/decipher relationships. I originally thought that meant straight lines were a must have. But models ca be clean and pretty without them. And honestly 5.2 makes so many other things so much easier/better that I discovered my initial over-reaction and negative feedback to the dev team was unfounded. I cannot now go back to pre 5.2 versions - as user movable relationship anchor points and the much smarter line drawing makes working the old way unthinkable. What I mean is in pre-5.2 I used striaght line to make up for other problems. Now that the other problems are all gone I don’t need my crutch (straight lines) to quickly and easily create clean models.


#6

Thank you for your answer.

I have 2 issues with the new decision to remove the lines.

  1. I really don’t like them and make the models hard to read an follow (for me at least).

Try to model/visualise 6th NF, Anchor Model or Data Vault with current lines.

Even a Star schema with a lot of dimensions with multiple role-playing dimensions is hard to follow.

  1. What to do with the existing models?. I am a consultant and have a lot of models from different projects from different customers. These models can involve hundreds of tables / model with many workspaces formated and included in the official documentations.

I cannot afford to “re-draw” all the existing models!! I have tried to open them in 5.2 and it is awful!.

For me is very embarrassing, as I was recommending since years to my customers, to buy Toad DM. I have dared to deploy 5.2 to an existing customer and guess what was the first question when we first open the model?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the new speed, features and the general direction towards Toad DM is going. I am using 5.2 since 2 weeks and as I am already thinking to alternatives. But I can’t stand to get features removed and then promote this as “innovation”.

We are talking about an “Enterprise” wannabe product. How about back compatibility?

I very well know that my rant will not change nothing but I was expecting to hear than on a future/next release this option will be back. In the meantime I’m testing alternatives.


#7

No one considers an honest discussion as a “rant”. You have expressed an honest opinion that myself and others are sure to feel at some point. In my case I was able to embrace all the new stuff in exchange for this one loss - you cannot make that concession. I get it - and I don’t dispute or disagree with you. I merely asked that you test drive it for a few weeks and you have confirmed that you did and still feel the loss. This thread has been heard and will be the topic of discussion between the product manager, dev team and myself. I cannot make any promises - other than heard you, get it, and we’ll talk about it. You might post it on the idea pond (area for user suggestions and votes) so that others can ring in and support your viewpoint - and thus communicate even better the users thoughts :slight_smile:


#8

Hello Jack,

thank you very much for your feedback. I have been a member of Toad Data Modeler team for more than 11 years and have heard and recorded a lot of user requests and suggestions. One of the most frequently required features was “movable anchor points” for “column to column” line arrangement. Development of that feature was not easy and version 5.2 introduced the first version of the new system. Of course, it might have imperfections, but the current state is not final. We are very interested in making the relationship lines system as good as possible and I am sure it will be improved.

It would be great if you could publish here screenshots of a model opened in version 5.1 compared to the same model opened in version 5.2 and highlight what you would like to get improved or shortly describe your expectations. Thank you in advance.

BTW: today I published new article that quickly shows benefits of the new relationship lines system. Please see details here:

www.toadworld.com/…/relationship-lines-in-toad-data-modeler.aspx

Thank you,

Vaclav


#9

Moveable anchor points fill a big gap, but why take a way simple straight lines. Now, every time I move any object I need to fiddle with the lines. My star schemas don’t look like stars any more. I have spent a lot of time organizing my models into worksheets that I think are clear and now they are a mess.


#10

Hi Bob,

can you send me models or screenshots of the star schemas to modeling@quest.com, please?

It would be very useful to see paths of the relationship lines in your models. We tried to optimize the conversion to right angled mode, but there still can be area for improvements.

The straight lines mode was removed because it was technically in conflict with the new relationship management system. You can vote for the straight lines mode in our idea pond. See: www.toadworld.com/…/default.aspx

Regards,

Vaclav


#11

Hello Vaclav,

For me it is a matter of esthetics and readability. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line so it is simpler for the eye to follow. I am including two pairs of before and after pictures below. In each pair, the straight line version is first and then the version that appeared after my TDM update.

Consider creating dozens of models having maybe 150 carefully layed out worksheets, then finding that every one has been changed. Individually, it is not so much a big deal but when years of work has been suddenly reformatted, it can be very discouraging.

The first pair below is a simple hierarchy done in Toad with straight lines and then without straight lines after the update. The second pair shows the effect on a more star-like schema (althought not strictly a star).

Compare Hierarchy.jpeg

Compare Star.jpeg

It is a matter of opinion, but I believe the images on the left are easier to read. Also, if I move any of the entities around, the straight lines stay straight and don’t require additional attention.


#12

I agree with Bob. While the new feature to move the lines is awesome, removing the option to have straight lines was not such a good idea.


#13

Hi Bob and a_valued_customer,

thank you for your feedback. We will certainly discuss is again.

BTW: One of key differences is that positions of anchor points (the points on entity boxes) are not only movable, but also preserved. This would affect the necessity to work with lines in straight lines mode as well.
Example: If you moved an entity to a new position, anchor points would be preserved and the following might be the result:

lines-anchor-points.png

Agian, thank you for your feedback.

Vaclav


#14

Hi Vaclav,

I do agree with other users on this thread that sometimes straight lines are easier to read.

Regarding your example of the lines crossing each other, would not that happen also with the new angled lines functionality?

thank you,

Ken


#15

Hi Ken,

thank you for your contribution, we really appreciate your feedback.

Regarding the example: yes, of course, it works this way in the new right-angled-lines-only system. This is a side effect of the movable anchor points feature. (All positions of anchor points must be preserved - there is currently no indication of anchor points that were or were not manually repositioned).

Thanks,

Vaclav


#16

There are times that I have wanted to manually position the anchor points and to have more control over the relationship lines, but I wanted this on a case by case basis only. Not to be applied to the entire model.

If removing straight lines was a side affect of the movable anchor points, then this feature was rushed out and was not ready for deployment.

I have a model with hundreds of table with hundreds of relationships. I have spent years maintaining this model by carefully placing all of the tables for maximum continuity of line flow. Now, all the lines are stacked on top of each other as the lines are all taking the same paths.

I have no choice but to revert to version 5.1 until a newer TDM version restores the straight lines feature.


#17

I have returned to TOAD DM after a time, updated to 5.3.4.13 without thinking and found that all optimally placed DIAGONAL straight lines in multiple models are auto-rendered as RIGHT-ANGLED offset lines, DESTROYING the visual integrity of the model. The new STRAIGHT LINE function reverts to right-angles where the vertical offset between entities would be perfectly expressed with a diagonal. In a distressing number of instances, multiple right-angled offsets overlay each other, rendering the model extremely difficult to parse. So:

  1. Is there a “diagonal” switch I can’t find? If so, I appreciate a pointer.

  2. Are diagonals gone? If so, who made that decision? Anyone who has to maintain legacy documentation? Communicate with non-technical stakeholders? Re-format a 365-entity model to print over twenty pages? Spend wasted hours jiggering entities to force compromises with right-angled offsets which will not be tamed? Explain to a client why they can’t have their five-minute model change until next Tuesday?

C’Mon. Give us back diagonals. Meanwhile, 5.1 you say?


#18

Hello Means,

thanks for your feedback. Version 5.2 introduced new system for management of relationship lines that contains new functionality.

In short: one of the most frequently required feature was the possibility to move lines and anchor points freely. It was not possible to easily change line positions in versions 5.1 and it was not possible to change positions of anchor points at all.
Version 5.2+ allows you to freely change positions of anchor points, draw column-to-column lines and much more.

Key new features and benefits are described here:
http://www.toadworld.com/products/toad-data-modeler/b/weblog/archive/2014/04/17/relationship-lines-in-toad-data-modeler.aspx

Now let me answer your questions:

  1. There is no switch in version 5.3. Lines can be displayed in right-angled mode “only”.

  2. Yes, the diagonals are no longer available, but the reasons for removing the diagonals have nothing to do with maintenance of legacy documentation or communication with non-technical stakeholders. I have been a member of TDM team since 2000 and have heard a lot of feature requests. I am convinced the new movable anchor points feature is a great and very useful feature. Unfortunately, it was not possible to keep the old system and introduce the new system at the same time. It was more than obvious to me that the new system will not satisfy all of you - all our valuable users. That’s why we also worked on automatic arrangement of diagonal lines created in earlier versions.

We know the new system can be improved and the work on the improvements is in progress. For example: We plan to optimize automatic layout of relationship lines and introduce more items in Align pallete that will help our users to easily change line types, distribute anchor points proportionally, change “broken” lines to horizontally or vertically straight lines and more. We do listen what our users want and we try to work on better and better functionality.

Some technical info: Here you can see a sample model and draft of new “optimal line layout”.

Original

01-model1.png

Draft of new optimal lines-layout (still not final version):
In brackets you can see number of combinations - how lines (still in right-angled mode) can be drawn:

02-model2.png

Yes, there is 787 200 possible solutions how to automatically draw lines to shape number 0. And it is fairly simple model.

And to answer your question precisely: It was me who convinced other team members that it makes sense to add movable anchor points feature and pay the tax for that functionality by removing the diagonals. But I hope we will be able to improve the new system and satisfy more our existing as well as new users. And I hope you will be one of them. What I can offer you is the following: please send me your model and I will personally try to rearrange the diagram to a perfectly readable form.

Thank you again for your feedback and have a great weekend,

Vaclav


#19

Vaclav:

Tell you what: on the evident strength of your reply and a quick scan of the “key new feature” reference, I’ll give it fair shot. You are describing a mode I’m familiar with in flow-charting products so if I can’t manage your approach, what the hell am I doing with computers?

Really do appreciate the time you took in your reply. Above and beyond, it is.

Bruce Chitiea

Old Dog

SafeSectors, Inc.


#20

Thank you very much, Bruce. I would be grateful for your feedback.

Please feel free to contact me at vaclav_frolik@dell.com

Regards,

Vaclav