DFD Flowchart Symbols
A Data Flow Diagram (DFD) is a graphical technique which allows effectively model and analyze the information processes and systems. DFD visualizes the flow of data and neatly represents the information processing in a process depending on the inputs and outputs, lets illustrate and analyze the work of a whole system and also its individual parts. DFDs display where the data are stored, from where they are come and where they go to. Often the DFD is created as a detailed plan for the further creation of a system.
DFDs are ideal tool for modeling processes, describing business events, interactions and functional requirements, for demonstration and explaining the course and passage of information in a process, and also for structured design and displaying physical systems involving data storage and transfer.
There are two types of Data Flow Diagrams:
- physical DFDs - which describe how a system works or will be work when implemented, and include involved people, files, hardware, storage centers and other elements;
- logical DFDs - which display the necessity of certain operations and activities for transferring the data from point A to point B.
The ability to fast and easy create the DFDs is made possible with Data Flow Diagrams solution from the Software Development area of ConceptDraw Solution Park. For designing the Data Flow Diagrams are used simple DFD flowchart symbols which are connected each other by arrows depicting the data flow from one step to another.
The set of all commonly used symbols for DFDs is comprehensible for all analysts and users thanks to the standardized notation systems: Gane/Sarson and Yourdon/Coad notations.
When designing the DFDs, use the following major objects:
- Process object - represents a task which processes the data within application or performs actions on their base.
- Multiple Process object - represents the set of sub-processes.
- Data Flow object - represents the data movement within the application, the arrows depict direction of this movement.
- Data Store object - represents where the data are stored.
- External Entity object - represents the entity outside the application which interacts with this application via entry point.
Example 1. DFD Flowchart Symbols
All these and many other DFD flowchart symbols are offered by 3 libraries of the Data Flow Diagrams solution and allow easy analyze and devise the data flows for any business process or a system:
- Data Flow Diagrams library contains 15 symbols for DFDs;
- Gane-Sarson Notation library contains 12 symbols of Gane-Sarson DFD notation;
- Yourdon and Coad Notation library 22 symbols of Yourdon-Code DFD notation.
Example 2. Data Flow Diagram Library Design Elements
The ConceptDraw DIAGRAM makes the DFDs diagramming process easy and efficient. To design any Data Flow Diagram in a few clicks, follow the next simple steps:
- drag-and-drop desired icons from the libraries to your document and type the text;
Example 3. Adding objects to DFD and typing text
- connect the objects with ConceptDraw connector tools from the Home toolbar or place connector arrows from the libraries to display the data flow;
Example 4. Adding connectors to DFD
- resize and format the objects, add background color according to your taste.
Example 5. Data Flow Diagram
The Data Flow Diagrams solution includes also the set of predesigned templates which make easier drawing process of Data Flow Diagrams.
Example 6. Data Flow Diagram Template
All templates and also collection of DFD samples are available from ConceptDraw STORE and can be used and changed according to your needs.
Example 7. Data Flow Diagrams Solution
The Data Flow Diagrams is a powerful professional tool for effective modeling the data flows, designing the data-oriented and process-oriented models, creating a lot of various types of diagrams of any complexity - Data Flow diagrams, Data Process diagrams, Data Flowcharts, Structured Analysis diagrams, Information Flow diagrams, and others.
Any Data Flow Diagram designed in ConceptDraw DIAGRAM can be then easy printed to share with colleagues, exported to various formats, including PPT, PDF, MS Visio, HTML, and many other graphic formats.
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Picture: Stakeholder Management System using Onion Diagram
When studying a business process or system involving the transfer of data, it is common to use a Data Flow Diagram (DFD) to visualize how data are processed. Being initially used exclusively in regards to the flow of data through a computer system, now DFDs are employed as the business modeling tools. They are applied to describe the business events and interactions, or physical systems involving data storage and transfer. ConceptDraw DIAGRAM is a powerful Data Flow Diagram software thanks to the Data Flow Diagrams solution from the Software Development area of ConceptDraw Solution Park.
Picture: Data Flow Diagram Software
There are many ways to describe a database structure. One of the most usual is to draw an entity relationship diagram (ERD) using a Crow’s Foot notation to represent database elements. If you don’t want to draw it on paper, you should use an appropriate software.
An entity-relationship (ER) diagram is used to show the structure of a business database. ERD represents data as objects (entities) that are connected with standard relationships symbols which Illustrate an association between entities. ERD, there is a wide range of ERD notations used by data bases architects for reflecting the relationships between the data entities. According to the crow’s foot notation relationships are drawn as single labeled lines designating a certain kinds of relationship. Crow foot notation is a most frequently used ERD standard, because of improved readability of diagrams, with a more accurate use of space on the page.
Picture: Entity Relationship Diagram - ERD - Software for Design Crows Foot ER Diagrams
A flowchart is a powerful tool for examining processes. It helps improving processes a lot, as it becomes much easier to communicate between involved people, to identify potential problems and to optimize workflow. There are flowcharts of different shapes, sizes and types of flowchart vary from quite basic process flowcharts to complex program flowcharts. Nevertheless, all these diagrams use the same set of special symbols like arrows to connect blocks, parallelogram to show data receiving or rectangles for showing process steps.
Basic flowcharts are used to represent a simple process algorithm. A basic flowchart notation consists of rectangles (business processes), arrows (the flow of information, documents, etc.). The same notation is used in items such as the "decision", which allow you to do the branching. To indicate the start of the entire business process and its termination can be used the "Terminator" element. The advantages of Basic Flowchart are simplicity and clarity. With it you can quickly describe the business process steps. Creating of Basic Flowchart does not require any special knowledge, as easily understand by employees with different levels of education and IQ.
Picture: Types of Flowchart - Overview
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Picture: UML Class Diagram Generalization ExampleUML Diagrams
A competent delegation of responsibilities between workers guarantees business success in most cases. At first sight, it might seem that workflow diagram symbols are quite similar to a regular flowchart. But workflow diagram is a more accurate way to present working processes.
Workflow diagrams are helpful for a working process analyzation, to depict a pathway of process issues, personalize responsibilities and identify resources that will help to optimize a workflow. Generally, Workflow diagram deploys flowchart symbols for displaying work process steps and relationships. But, often it require some additions and improvements to become more professional and illustrative. The Workflow solution for ConceptDraw DIAGRAM provides the user with a big library of symbols that are designed especially for workflow diagrams.
Picture: Workflow Diagram Symbols
The diagrams with highest level in the hierarchy define the main processes or subsystems with external and internal data sources. To detail them, DFD Library is used to build a system of lower level diagrams. This decomposition continues hereinafter it is meaningless.
This data flow diagram of a system of a library management is a context-level DFD. The data flow diagram of this type depicts the large system as a solid process, and does not input any explanation of its content. It is an ordinary practice - creation of a context-level data flow diagram when starting system development. This DFD was made using ConceptDraw solution designed especially for data flow diagrams development. One can find out Data Flow Diagrams Solution in a Solution Park of ConceptDraw and can use in as addition to the common Conceptdraw DIAGRAM diagramming tools.
Picture: DFD Library System
Functional modeling allows to make complex business processes simple. One of the basic methods is IDEF0 and one of the most effective also. To create a business model, use flowchart symbols.
The IDEF0 library, supplied with ConceptDraw IDEF0 Diagrams solution contains 18 IDEF0 basic notation symbols. All symbols are the vector graphic images what means, that one can customize their size preserving the stable quality. Another library of IDEF0 symbols can be find out in the the Business Process Diagrams solution, included to the Business Processes section of ConceptDraw Solution Park. These libraries composed from just vector objects and are totally compatible. You can apply the IDEF0 symbols from both libraries at your flowcharts, if needed.
Picture: IDEF0 Flowchart Symbols