PlantUML Pleasantness: Align Elements With Line Length

Drawing diagrams with PlantUML is fun and easy. We use text to describe the diagram and the we get a graphical representation. Especially in combination with Asciidoctor with PlantUML integration we have a winning combination to write technical documentation. Because our text is transformed into a graphical format like PNG we don’t have much influence on the layout. There are options to indicate positions of elements, but we can also use the length of lines to influence the position of elements.

In the following sample we have a PlantUML diagram description with standard lines. We use two hyphens (--) to define a line:

We create a diagram and we get the following graphical diagram:

The diagram looks fine, but we want to have our mail server at the same level as the PostgreSQL database element. We simply add an extra hyphen (-) to the connection line between DataStoreService and Mail:

We regenerate our diagram and we get the following result:

Written with PlantUML 8048.

Original blog post

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About mrhaki

My name is Hubert A. Klein Ikkink also known as mrhaki. I work at the great IT company JDriven. Here I work on projects with Groovy & Grails, Gradle and Spring. At JDriven we focus on SpringSource technologies. All colleagues want to learn new technologies, support craftmanship and are very eager to learn. This is truly a great environment to work in. You can contact me via Google+ or @mrhaki.

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