Open API

The SmartDraw Open API allows you to represent data from an external source as a diagram. For example:

Class diagram example

Build a class diagram from the source code

Jira dependency

Show the dependencies of an issue in Atlassian's Jira

Database diagram

Visualize relationships in your database

The SmartDraw API is Simple to Use

Other diagramming API's, like Visio's for example, require you to specify the coordinates of every shape and line in the diagram. This makes generating a diagram with code tedious and complex.

The SmartDraw API is very different because it leverages SmartDraw's intelligent formatting engine, the ability to automatically format and connect shapes on a page based on their relationships.

SmartDraw created a markup language based on JSON to translate intelligent formatting into code. This markup language is called SDON and it is the foundation of SmartDraw's Open API.

SmartDraw simple to use API

SmartDraw Object Notation (SDON)

SDON leverages SmartDraw's intelligent formatting to make specifying a tree or a flow as simple as specifying the parents and children. No positioning information is needed because the intelligent formatting engine knows how to lay them out perfectly on the page.

This simple SDON markup creates a tree with two child shapes connected to in a hierarchy arrangement.

 "Shape": {"ShapeConnector": ["ShapeConnectorType": "Hierarchy", {"Shapes": [{}, {}]}]}

Without this power it would not be practical to generate the kind of diagrams you need with code.

But SDON does more than just lay out shapes on the page:

Simple SDON org chart

Adding text to a shape is a simple as "Label":"Hello World"

 "Label": "Hello World"
SDON label

SDON also supports dividing a shape up into a table so that you can show multiple variables in a shape. You can even add more data to a tool tip.

Read how to to make shapes and common diagrams using SDON in SmartDraw's SDON cookbook.

Shape as table

SmartDraw is a Development Platform

The SmartDraw API allows you to build your own applications that represent data as a diagram.

In SmartDraw, you add these applications as Extensions that are incorporated into the user interface.

In VisualScript, our companion product for Atlassian Jira and Confluence, you can add them as dashboard gadgets or macros.

Click here to read our documentation

smartDraw development platform


Here is documentation to help you make your own extension or VisualScript REST endpoint.

SDON cookbook
SDON Cookbook

SDON is a JSON based markup language that describes a diagram. Learn more.

SDON reference guide
SDON Reference Guide

Browse the SDON object model. Learn more.

Extension Quick Start Guide
Quick Start: Extension Tutorial

Learn how to create your own extension. Learn more.


Download the SDK for Java and C#. Get the SDK.

SmartDraw bridging library
Bridging Library

Learn the methods you can use to transfer your SDON to SmartDraw. Learn More

Quick Start: VisualScript Tutorial

Learn how to create work with VisualScript. Learn more.