Diagrams in Confluence: Comparison between Creately and draw.io

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There are several solutions to implement diagramming functions in Confluence. Creately is one of them – compared to the matured draw.io, Creately is at a disadvantage. We have compared Creately and draw.io regarding central requirements. Here is a comparison of both diagramming tools, let’s take at a look at the five most important aspects.

Flash vs. native Browser technologies

Creately is based on Flash. This has been problematic, since Flash is well known for it’s security weaknesses and it’s vulnerability. Many enterprises (especially in Enterprise environments) do not allow Flash for standard computer installations and don’t allow users to install Flash at a later point. draw.io, on the other hand, is based on the market leading diagramming technology mxGraph – the only library that works in any browser without plugins and completely client based.

Startup times

Software has to be efficient and fast. Startup times of Creately applications slow down efficient work: It takes between 20 and 30 seconds for the application to start, even for simple diagrams. draw.io is mostly ready after one to two seconds.

Revision handling and autosaving

As opposed to draw.io, Creately does not offer revision handling or autosaving. If the browser collapses, which happens quite periodically in Flash, the unsaved work is lost for good. And there is no auditing for diagrams.

Real Confluence integration

There is no Confluence integration in the Creately application. It is simply an online application that was ported to Confluence. It is not possible to search for Confluence pages, that are linked, no diagrams can be created from existing Confluence diagrams – options that draw.io does offer.

Version release

Creately is barely being updated: In 2014 there has been one update by the end of November. draw.io has had over 30 releases in the same time span. This is a critical security factor. It appears, that Creately does not give much importance to the Confluence market.

Overview of the comparison

The following table offers a comprehensive overview of the requirements for enterprises and the possibilities, that Creately and draw.io offer.

Criteria draw.io Creately
Technology Open standards, HTML and SVG, no Plugins required Flash, known for weak security; users often require approval to install Flash on their computer
Startup time (Test on a modernen MacBook Pro with Chrome) 1-2 seconds 20-30 seconds
Updates (Year 2014 up until November 21.) 31 Updates 1 Update
Visio import ~60% Beta stage, quality uncertain 
Custom libraries no Only Visio imports
IE8 support yes yes, if Flash is installed
Use on mobile devices yes no
Automatic layout yes no
Extendability with Plugins yes no
Meta data yes no
Native revision handling yes no
PDF export yes, based on vector data and scaleable technically yes, but in form of raster images that are integrated in pdf documents, not scaleable
Draft management (Autosave) yes no
HTML keywords yes no
Functional Confluence integration yes no

Conclusion

Yes, you can create professional diagrams in Confluence with both Creately and draw.io. But that is not the crucial point, since a software, that is used in an enterprise environment needs to fulfill various other basic functions. An outdated technical foundation with weaknesses in security and stability, weak performance, stagnant development and reduced functionality don’t allow Creately to compete with a mature tool such as draw.io.

You are searching for a professional diagramming solution, that is integrated in your Atlassian tools? Would you like to make up your own mind? We gladly provide you with the opportunity to evaluate draw.io and Creately in a Confluence test system and to see strengths and weaknesses of both plugins for yourself. Just contact us!

Additional Infos

Professional diagrams in Confluence & JIRA with draw.io – Interview with David Benson
draw.io: Professional Diagrams in Confluence and JIRA
Drawing a rack diagram in Confluence with draw.io Plugin

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