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Micrografx plans design tools

The firm is teaming with ImageNet Limited to build a line of tools for designing and documenting computer networks.

Graphics software company Micrografx is trying its hand at a new market.

The company, best known for its consumer graphics software products such as Micrografx Designer and Micrografx FlowCharter, is teaming with ImageNet Limited to build a line of tools for designing and documenting computer networks.

ImageNet sells CANE, a tool for network design and simulation.

The companies plan to jointly develop a new line of tools that combine Micrografx graphics expertise with ImageNet's network design and documentation technology. The new tools, yet to be named, are scheduled to debut by the middle of this year. No pricing has been announced.

Micrografx said it will integrate ImageNet's Netformx technology with its current enterprise toolset. The company said the target audience for the new tool will be local area network administrators, network managers, systems integrators, and other IT users.

The company said the planned tools go beyond simple diagramming to provide simulation of new networks so that managers can evaluate planned upgrades and alternative network configurations.

Other graphics software makers have ventured down a similar path. Visio, which started as a flowchart software company, has broadened its product line to include tools for network designers.

The company sells Visio Professional, a tool that includes network design and documentation capabilities.

Today, Visio announced The Visio Solution Pack for Novell Directory Services, an add-on tool for Visio Professional. The tool lets network managers design and document network systems that use Novell's Directory Services.

The new tool is available free of charge from Visio's Web site. It requires Visio Professional 5.0, priced at $349.

Visio also sells an add-on tool called Visio Network Equipment, a library of more than 10,000 shapes representing equipment from more than 300 manufacturers used to diagram and design network layouts.