Start of the Limited Beta

May 11, 2020

Today marks the first wave of Cybergram beta testing. We have opened up our system to a core team of beta testers who are working with us to guarantee an enjoyable experience. After this first phase is done, we will be gradually opening Cybergram to those who have signed up for the beta. E-mails to selected beta users will be sent out in due course, through which you'll be able to access the Cybergram platform.

While we are hard at work to fix any remaining issues, we thought we'd take the time to provide some updates regarding the features you will be able to access as part of the beta.

Facilities

As a beta tester, you'll be able to access the:

  • Flowchart digitization service, which will allow you to convert images of flowcharts into interactive diagrams.
  • Diagram editor for modifying your digitized flowcharts.
  • Beta website, which will give you access to a forum for communication with Cybergram engineers and other beta users to discuss issues and help shape the platform.

Flowchart Digitization Service

Available shapes

For the beta, we decided to teach Cybergram's AI about the four most common flowchart shapes. This includes a rectangle, diamond, oval and parallelogram.

For now, our AI will not recognize any other shapes in a diagram. Don't worry, we will be teaching it about all of the other flowchart shapes for its first public release.

Color me digitized

While we've mainly shown off digitizations of hand-drawn flowcharts, our digitization service works extremely well for computer-generated flowcharts of all colors. Cybergram is capable of identifying the colors of the background, shapes, borders and connections.

However, to keep things manageable during the beta releases, we've only taught our AI to recognize flowcharts which follow a solid coloring scheme. This means that Cybergram does not expect to see shapes which have color gradients or borders which are not solid shape outlines. While such color schemes do not affect the structural accuracy of your flowchart (i.e. anything to do with positions or dimensions), the detected colors may not be accurate in these cases.

This is yet another area we are making improvements to before the first public release.

Connections

Believe it or not, our systems for connection line detection are some of the most complex we have developed. We have been working hard to interpret connections correctly, including determining their width, color and direction between shapes. We expect that digitization will produce correct lines in the majority of cases, although there are a few pain points in this area:

  • The direction of connections may not be always correctly established in the presence of small arrowheads.
  • Cross-overs between connections lines are not supported.
  • Arrows that are not at either end of a connection line are not supported.

But why? What's so hard about detecting a few lines on a page? Have a look at this monstrosity:

Rather than trying to support the infinitely-many ways in which someone can abuse the structure of a flowchart, we've decided to stick to the common cases for the initial beta release. This won't prevent you from digitizing flowcharts like this, but don't expect reasonable results if you do.

Again, we are actively exploring all of these areas. If you do need to digitize a flowchart with these unsupported features, the inaccuracies from the digitization process are quick and easy to fix with our built-in diagram editor.

Can I still take part in the Beta?

Absolutely! Sign-ups for the wider beta are still ongoing. Throughout the beta, we'll be asking for your continual feedback on how we can improve the accuracy of our flowchart digitizations and platform as a whole.

This doesn't do what I need it to! 😤

Is there a feature that you'd like to see implemented? Get in touch with us here.

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