Creating Software with Modern Diagramming Techniques (PragProg)

Communicate more clearly, refactor more effectively, and save time with attractive diagrams that only take minutes to make with open source, text-based tools.


Ashley Peacock @ashleypeacock

edited by Michael Swaine @michaelswaine

Diagrams communicate relationships more directly and clearly than words ever can. Using only text-based markup, create meaningful and attractive diagrams to document your domain, visualize user flows, reveal system architecture at any desired level, or refactor your code. With the tools and techniques this book will give you, you’ll create a wide variety of diagrams in minutes, share them with others, and revise and update them immediately on the basis of feedback. Adding diagrams to your professional vocabulary will enable you to work through your ideas quickly when working on your own code or discussing a proposal with colleagues.

Expand your professional vocabulary by learning to communicate with diagrams as easily and naturally as speaking or writing. This book will provide you with the skills and tools to turn ideas into clear, meaningful, and attractive diagrams in mere minutes, using nothing more complicated than text-based markup. You’ll learn what kinds of diagrams are suited to each of a variety of use cases, from documenting your domain to understanding how complex code pieces together. Model your software’s architecture, creating diagrams focused broadly or narrowly, depending on the audience. Visualize application and user flows, design database schemas, and use diagrams iteratively to design and refactor your application.

You’ll be able to use technical diagramming to improve your day-to-day workflow. You will better understand the codebase you work in, communicate ideas more effectively and immediately with others, and more clearly document the architecture with C4 diagrams. Manually creating diagrams is cumbersome and time-consuming. You’ll learn how to use text-based tools like Mermaid to rapidly turn ideas into diagrams. And you’ll learn how to keep your diagrams up to date and seamlessly integrated into your engineering workflow. You’ll be better at visualizing and communicating when you add diagrams to your standard vocabulary.

Ashley Peacock is a staff engineer and architect working in the UK tech industry with over 10 years of experience. He’s an avid user of diagrams, and a huge advocate for their power in conveying ideas, documenting architectures, and whiteboarding problems.

He has experience across the tech stack, with particular focus on backend technologies, having worked with C#, Ruby and PHP. He also has significant experience working with APIs and asychronous architectures, in particular working with Apache Kafka.

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I’m so excited to see this book out in beta. I read an article last year by the author, @ashleypeacock, who I encouraged to submit a book proposal. Here’s the result!