Swimlane Process Flow Diagram Generation

Apr 28, 2021

A swimlane diagram is used mostly for flow diagrams. If you have worked in the IT industry and in particular programming or system architecture you will have seen something similar to the image below;

Example process flow

A lot of commercial tools exist (SaaS based, Visio etc) or people revert to manually drawing rectangles and lines in something like Microsoft Word.....

Thankfully, there is..... I stumbled across a link to swimlanes.io and was pleasantly surprised. This system uses a markdown style syntax so you can describe your process flow using text which then generates your diagram.

I love using Markdown, in fact our cloud portal - MyCloudSpace uses markdown for the monthly reports it generates which then pipes this through a PDF generator tool which the end user downloads.

Let's take a look at a simple example, a Password reset from MyCloudSpace.

The process flow

How it was generated

title: MyCloudSpace Password Reset

USER -> API: Request Password Reset

API -> API: Validation
API -> SYSLOG: Log start detail

API -> MAILER: Send e-mail request

MAILER --> API: `e-mail response`
API -> SYSLOG: Log e-mail detail

API -> SMS GATEWAY: Send SMS request
SMS GATEWAY --> API: `SMS response`
API -> SYSLOG: Log SMS detail

API -> SYSLOG: Log complete reset detail

API --> USER: `ok, password reset`

So, if I wanted to add in another system or adjust the response/request order etc all I now need to do is adjust the text and I will have a brand new diagram. Much easier than dragging rectangles around!

You can view all of the syntax options here in the kitchen sink demo https://swimlanes.io/gallery/full-syntax

Export Options

You can view and save your diagrams on the website itself but you can also use a couple of the other export options in the menu bar.


Allows you to embed the diagram in pretty much anything, same diagram above but embedded in this blog.

And you can have it generate an image URL for you to use, embedded below as an example.

How cool is that? Check them out over at https://swimlanes.io/

Ben Young

Ben is the Development Manager at vBridge and the gate keeper of MyCloudSpace.