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howto create block schematic with ports

+4 votes

Is it possible to create a block schematic as shown below with yEd.

I would ideally want to specify:

  1. modules (blocks)  
  2. ports for each blocks,  
  3. connectibity between ports of the blocks.
  4. Formatting properties of the connective lines (line thickness, arrow direction).

I would like to have yEd

  1. layout the blocks sensibly,
  2. have an option to shuffle the ports so that connected pairs of ports face each other. 
  3. auto-route the connections.

I have been trying to create something like this but specifically have problems with:

  1. creating named ports.
  2. creating named signal lines between ports.

Is it actually possible to create this in yEd?  If so, could I trouble you for some hints and advice.

Thanks, RJ

Please right click and open image in separate window to see the whole thing.


in Help by (180 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
IMHO this is more or less possible but there are two problems that come into my mind.

1. There are no port visualizations in yEd. This is probably a minor problem since you can define separate "arrows" for each end of a link and solid dots and arrow heads are available.

2. There are no named ports in yEd. (In fact, there are no ports at all, at least not as separate objects.) As a workaround, it is possible to add an unlimited number of independent text labels to each link and the labels typically keep their relative location while moved. For your type of diagram, you can place the port labels at the end of the links inside the nodes and changes are good that interactive movements and the layout algorithms keep the appearance of "port labels". For the signal labels, you can use a white background to create the appearance of an interrupted line.

Overall, I suggest to experiment with a small example an see how much you can achieve. Good layout algorithms for your type of diagram are the (obvious) Orthogonal Layouts and the Hierarchical Layout. Make sure to turn of the setting for Edge Labeling if it is available for the algorithm you'll using.

Please let me know if there are any problems.
by [yWorks] (26.8k points)
After using Visio for years, I'm looking for an alternative tool to do exactly the same kind of diagrams as the OP. I've downloaded yEd to try michael's solution out, but I'm really struggling to get anything like the block diagrams I'm looking for. It could just be that I'm a noob and haven't figured out the tricks. If somebody has got this working could you please post an example I can play with?
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