Tuesday more than 300 customers, partners and Visio community members gathered for Day 1 of Visio Conference 2008. Attendees were treated to an impressive array of partner solutions, product demonstrations and information-filled sessions. To top it all off, attendees got the first sneak peak at the next version of Microsoft Office Visio.
At this point Visio "vNext" is still in an early stage (pre-Alpha), but we wanted to give everyone a glimpse of the fantastic capabilities of the next version and outline our high-level investments. Keep in mind that plans can and do change as we respond to feedback and continue working toward completion. We are publicly showing just a few of the features planned. Here are the three areas where we are concentrating most of our efforts:
Visio "vNext" reinvents the core flowcharting experience in Visio. Flowchart creation is faster and easier than ever. Cross-functional flowcharts in particular are improved. Going beyond a simple drawing canvas, Visio understands the logical structure of the diagram far better. This leads to more advanced process diagramming capabilities that put the user firmly in control over the graphical representation of their processes.
Ease of Use
Visio "vNext" adopts the Office Fluent user interface that you see today in Office 2007 core applications. The Ribbon and Live Preview components in particular take the guesswork out of finding Visio commands and choosing between settings. At the same time Visio improves a wide range of existing features, bringing the results-oriented concepts behind the Fluent UI onto the diagramming surface itself. The Shapes window, layout and AutoConnect are significantly enhanced. Visio is even easier to use and significantly reduces the time needed to create and modify diagrams.
Visio "vNext" introduces server-rendered, data-refreshable diagrams for the first time. Visio Services allows data connected diagrams to be published from Visio to a server and viewed by users directly in their web browser. There are no client bits to install. An API is also provided for creating mashups of diagrams and additional data.
There is far more to talk about with Visio "vNext". In future posts we will begin to provide more details and present screen shots. However, there are also plenty of things to discuss about the current Visio 2007 product. We'll cover both in the coming months. Please stay tuned and be sure to give us your feedback.