The majority of app developers will be creating a flowchart of the app they want to build first before starting to coding. Not all developers do this, but creating a flowchart will be helpful especially if you work with a team and have to explain the concept of the app you want to build.
In the desktop environment, there is Microsoft Visio as the most popular tool to create flowchart and other type of diagrams in general. Or, if you are an open source fan, there is also Dia that you can use to create flowchart. Microsoft Visio and Dia are obviously great tools, but you need to install them first in your computer before being able to use. Especially for Microsoft Visio, you need to spend about $299 to get the software (or $589 for Visio Professional) since it is a proprietary software.
By the reason of flexibility, some people prefer to use online flowchart maker since they don’t have to install additional software to start working. As long as you have an internet connection and a web browser installed on the computer you are using, you can work from anywhere. Here is the list of online flowchart maker tools that you can use.
The first online flowchart maker you can use every time you need to create flowchart is draw.io. This tool is not specifically built as a flowchart maker. Instead, you can also use it to create other type of diagrams including UML. Draw.io features all shapes you need to create a flowchart from parallelogram that symbolized data, cylinder that symbolized database and so on. Best of all, draw.io can be used for free although paid version is also available for an advanced use.
As an online diagram maker, draw.io comes with all the features you probably expected. From integration with cloud storage to the ability to convert your works into portable formats like PNG or PDF. If you often work with Trello, you can also save your works directly to it. Additionally, you can also integrate draw.io with JIRA.
If you love to use an online tool with a fancy interface then Lucidchart probably is the tool you want. But, unless you use this tool for a basic need, you have to pay some dollars before being able to use Lucidchart. But still, it is much cheaper than Microsoft Visio. But I think free version is enough if you just want to create an app flowchart. Free version also allows you to download the flowchart you created in a portable format like PNG or PDF. Plus, you can also connect it with your Google Drive account account in case you want to save your works on the cloud.
Lucidchart is superior in terms of integration. You can integrate this tool with popular apps like Slack, JIRA, Google Docs and so on. However, some integrations require you to upgrade your account. Lucidchart is also a great tool for a teamwork since you are allowed to invite other members. But again, you will be prompted to upgrade your account first to do this. Lucidchart also makes it possible if you want to migrate from Visio since you can import the flowcharts you created with Visio.
3. SmartDraw Cloud
Unlike draw.io and Lucidchart which can be used for free, SmartDraw Cloud is fully paid tool. You have a 5-day period to try this tool out to find out how great it is. SmartDraw Cloud comes with a Microsoft-style interface. You won’t meet any serious problem in using this tool if you have been a Microsoft user. SmartDraw Cloud is also compatible with Visio. You can open flowchart files you created with Visio using this tool.
Gliffy is quite similar to SmartDraw Cloud in some ways. This tool also doesn’t offer a free version. You are given a 14-day trial period to give this tool a try. In general, features offered by Gliffy are not much different to SmartDraw Cloud and other tools above. This tool is also compatible with Visio. Before starting to work you can also set up the page like you are used to doing in Microsoft products. You can also take advantage of Gliffy as a collaboration tool since you are allowed to invite other members. All standard shapes you need to create a flowchart are provided by Gliffy. Furthermore, this tool also supports cloud storage.
If your intention of looking for an online flowchart maker is to replace Visio and you expect for free tool then Creately can be one of your best alternatives. Creately is also compatible with Visio so you can use this tool as a berth if you want to turn away from Visio. Creately itself is a freemium tool. Free version of this tool comes with a tight enough restrictions and is aimed at personal use. You will only be able to create 5 public flowcharts with free account. No matter the plan you choose, you can export the flowchart you created in portable formats, whether PDF or PNG. Creately has not much integrations like Lucidchart.
As an online flowchart maker, Cacoo is not too bad. Its features are not far different to desktop-based flowchart maker you might usually use. By default, this tool has no integration with online cloud storage, but it offers its own file manager. If you prefer to save your works to cloud storage services like Dropbox, you can connect your preferred cloud storage service manually through the Settings menu. Cacoo can also be used as a collaboration tool. Currently, this tool supports about 9 integrations including Slack and Adobe Creative Cloud. It is also possible if you want to import Visio files.
Another freemium tool you can use to create flowchart online. Free version of GenMyModel gives you freedom to create as many projects as you want, but all projects should be public. Which mean, other users will be able to see what you have created. If you want to create a flowchart for personal use then free version of GenMyModel should be enough. You can export the flowchart into portable formats whether PNG or PDF in order to be inserted into other document At the time of writing GenMyModel hasn’t supported integration. Your flowcharts will be automatically saved to the built-in file manager of this tool. Or, you can download flowcharts in xmi format if you need the raw files.
At first, you will probably get confused on how to use Textografo. You will see no toolbox containing shapes like you can find on all tools above. Instead of toolbox, Textografo uses text approach. You can type “#” on the left panel to add new shapes and press the enter button once you got the shape you want. Other strange approach of Textografo is you are not allowed to manually place any shape. All shapes are placed automaticaly. Textografo argues that this approach can save you time. Textografo claims that all shapes get perfectly aligned. If you love the concept offered by Textografo then you should give it a try.
Textografo allows you download the flowchat you created in two formats PNG and SVG. However, Textografo is not the tool you want if you expect a free tool to replace Visio since it is a fully paid tool. You have 7 days to try this tool out for free.