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I'm currently the CTO for Hedgehog Technology a business dedicated to delivering Cloud based productivity solutions in Logistics

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Exciting news from the Visio team at MSIgnite 2016 in Atlanta - the Visio Roadmap

Today is an important day in the life of Visio Users. After a period of relatively small (but important) improvements to the product, the team shared their Roadmap for the very near and longer term future in a session at the Ignite conference in Atlanta.

Some very exciting features were announced and the goods news is that all are thing they are actively working on right now. We won't have to wait long either, pretty much every month improvements are being released into the wild!

Firstly of course it is important to highlight the news that's live RIGHT NOW, Visio On-line just deployed to Office 365 First Release customers is the new way of publishing, sharing and consuming Visio diagrams on the web. You read all about that right here. Suffice to say that the experience is a huge improvement over the existing Visio Services in SharePoint (that still is live on your SharePoint tenant as well) and also works in OneDrive and Dropbox.
The next great news is that there is now a native Visio viewer for iPad, it is still in preview too, so now besides the other office applications for iPad users can enjoy a very high fidelity and smooth viewing experience of Visio diagrams on those devices. You can go and register for this here.

Now for the highlights (for me) of the real news;

Visio is to get back a way to generate database diagrams through reverse engineering a schema, the intent is to allow for a range database types, this feature was there, had been depreciated and will now be brought back, and as I understand it in a sophisticated way.

Visio has had smart shapes for a fair while, the team is now adding what they call Smart Diagrams and the great news about that is that these types of diagrams support a very dynamic and 'live' way of populating and rendering shapes. This will allow for scenarios where the data source can determine what the diagram looks like in a very dynamic way! These capabilities will be available, as I understood it now, as templates, at first for Process diagrams, the Org Chart and Network diagrams. Developers and Power users will also be able to develop their own, or extend the out of the box templates.

A little further on the roadmap the team announced they are working on improving the creative and editing experience to allow for example drawing a diagram using ink in OneNote and create a structured diagram in Visio from that. We can also look forward to an editing experience in the browser as well some time down the road. Last I'd like to mention is a way to embed selected portions of Diagrams in programs like PowerPoint which will be very easy and 'live' so not a copy but a linked 'snippet' that is updated when the source is updated.

The above is just a highlight of some of the things that stood out to me, I will keep blogging more detail as it comes to light ;-) You can also keep an eye on the official Office roadmap as that will get updated with this information.