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I don't think I'm using the right terminology here, but I'm looking for some software that will generate an optimal "relationship graph" given the relationships.

For example if you have an entity A linked to entity B, and B linked to C, then the graph be something like this (but a proper graphic)

-----     -----     -----
| A | --- | B | --- | C |
-----     -----     -----

And if C was linked to A and an additional node D, then the graph would probably have C in the middle and everything else around it. I hope I'm making myself clear!

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closed as off topic by KronoS, Tog, Breakthrough, Journeyman Geek, techie007 May 29 '13 at 17:23

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5 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Try GraphViz

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Thanks! That's a nice bit of kit there. It doesn't seem very good in the latter case I mention, i.e. if there's one node connected to every other node, it usually puts it at the top instead of centrally, which would be the most logical place... any particular commands/code that will help with that? –  DisgruntledGoat Oct 12 '09 at 14:37
I would try with the circo or twopi programs that come with GraphViz as well, and try to see if those layouts are closer to what you want. –  carlosdc Oct 12 '09 at 20:30
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Try Dia.

enter image description here

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Downloaded and tried this, it seems like it might do what I want. But there doesn't seem to be any option to keep the graph laid out properly - lines not overlapping where possible and so on. –  DisgruntledGoat Oct 11 '09 at 0:20
It may be that you have to handle it manually, I'm not entirely sure. –  jtbandes Oct 11 '09 at 0:27
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I've used this one before, it seems quite versatile, whether you want UML type graphs or the more general computer-sciencey kind:

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Not necessarily the easiest, but TikZ/pgf is quite powerful and once you learn the syntax, it's really not that bad, especially if you only care about the output and not placement in a LaTeX document.

HERE is the page from their user-submitted example site showing trees, for example this one (LINK):

example tikz tree

While the code might appear annoying, it's quite systematic and intuitive (again, once you learn the syntax). The advanced typesetting you get from LaTeX might also be desirable. Again, not for everyone, but I at least wanted to point it out.

The fact that the examples page is quite prolific is awesome in that you can look at something similar to what you want and just tweak it for yourself.

Ditaa might also be of interest, but the drawings are all done in ASCII and thus again might not be appealing to everyone. Still pretty neat. From the linked page, their example looks like this:

    +--------+   +-------+    +-------+
    |        | --+ ditaa +--> |       |
    |  Text  |   +-------+    |diagram|
    |Document|   |!magic!|    |       |
    |     {d}|   |       |    |       |
    +---+----+   +-------+    +-------+
        :                         ^
        |       Lots of work      |

Which, upon export becomes:

ditaa export

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You can try Gephi or Cytoscape, both Java.

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