Skipper - The ORM Designer Blog
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Press Release: Skipper

Skipper, successor of ORM Designer visualization tool was released by Inventic on June 30, 2014. Skipper is a powerful visualization tool, schema designer and a code generator for PHP ORM frameworks. It can import schema definition files to visual diagram, and continually export changes from this diagram back to the ORM definitions.


Skipper allows to edit in visual model all ORM elements like entities and relations, but also advanced objects like inheritances and all ORM properties supported by respective framework. You can quickly locate any object in the visual model, perform necessary changes directly in the diagram and see the changes in the model logic straight away. Powerful export function translates all changes to the definition files in a standardized format, quickly and without errors.


As the previous versions, Skipper is intended for ORM developers using frameworks Doctrine, Doctrine2, Propel or CakePHP. The definition files can be formatted as annotations, YAML or XML, based on the framework used. The main improvements over ORM Designer 2 is better and more streamlined GUI, updated ORM definitions for import/export, and better reporting of changes. Several more enhancements like Undo/Redo, Print support or native OS X visuals will also make developers’ work easier.

Skipper is available for all ORM Designer 2 users with active maintenance, and for owners of newer versions, the upgrade can be handled by automatic update system. Projects made in ORM Designer 2 are fully compatible with Skipper.

Feature overview:

  • powerful visualization tool with intuitive controls
  • automatic generation of visual model from imported ORM definition files
  • possibility to edit all elements in the visual model
  • error-less export to schema definition files
  • modules shared among more projects
  • support for annotations, YAML, XML

Supported Platforms:

  • support for Doctrine, Doctrine2, Propel and CakePHP
  • Symfony, Zend Framework and any other MVC framework
  • runs on MacOS, Windows, Linux

Skipper download is available here:

Email: [email protected]

30 Jun 2014

Skipper is here

Hello Everybody,

Today is the Day - ORM Designer 3 is here. And with it, everything is new; new name, new brand, new look, new website, and of course, new features which, as we hope, will make your day.

Banner - Skipper is here

New brand: Skipper

Skipper means continuous evolution of ORM Designer 2. But instead of just going for the obvious choice, ORM Designer 3, we decided to use new, strong and memorable name with additional meaning between the lines. Skipper brand is result of many-month hard work and we are very proud on it.

New feature: Undo/Redo

Undo/Redo is the feature for which many users have been calling. It needed quite big changes in the application logic, but from now any modification of the model can be returned back. Change your entities, associations, their position, color or properties, change whatever and anytime you can make a step back or forward as you will need.

New enhancements: Improved GUI

GUI was smoothed out and all the small glitches that appeared from time to time in the visual model are now gone. You will notice new welcome screen, new status bars and completely new look if you are an OS X user. For better orientation in the model now you can highlight also your entities and associations.

Painless upgrade for free

Upgrading to the Skipper is smooth and easy, no need of difficult conversions of your current projects or learning how to work with a new application. And what is even better, everything you need is an active ORM Designer 2 maintenance and you can start using skipper without any limitations.

Upgrade to Skipper now and enjoy all the goodies this next generation of ORM Designer brings you.

30 Jun 2014

Posted by: Martin "Freki" Stradej

Skipper #Skipper #new release

Skipper is coming

skipper is coming

Hello Everybody,

We are working on some big changes. We will release ORM Designer 3 pretty soon, under the new name of Skipper. With the new name new features come, but also new colors and design for all our channels, including websites, twitter and blog.

We think the surprise will be very pleasant when we launch all these changes, but we just wanted to give you heads up to avoid any confusion. Everything will be redirected, so you can reach us as usual.

And what Skipper brings you? Apart from new visuals and more streamlined GUI, Skipper offers several new features like Undo/Redo and printing support. We will of course cover the features in more details during the official launch in the upcoming days, so please take this announce just as a little teaser.

If you are curious, you can see how new ORM Designer looks like, if you download the Skipper Beta from our Support forum. You can try Skipper out with your current ORM Designer 2 license, if your maintenance is still active, or you can try the Skipper trial version.

18 Jun 2014

Posted by: Martin "Freki" Stradej

Skipper #new release

Press Release: Pulpo

Pulpo, free visualization tool for ORM frameworks was released by Inventic on April 28th.

Pulpo is a quick and portable command-line tool with simple configuration. Pulpo can be used to import ORM schema definition files and automatically generates visual model of entities and their relations.

The resulting visual model enables quick overview of the application and its logic. This can be helpful in order to quickly share the schema structure with colleagues or demonstrate it to customers. It also helps the developer to easily see impact of the modifications of the schema or orient himself faster in the older projects.

Pulpo is intended for ORM developers using frameworks Doctrine, Doctrine2 or Propel. The definition files can be formatted as annotations, YAML or XML. Exported diagrams are in PNG format.

Because we wanted to support freelancers, small companies and open-source teams, that do not use our main product ORM Designer, we have published Pulpo to be free to use, even for commercial use. Although Pulpo uses proprietary parsers, its developers hope that whole open-source community will benefit from the fast and simple tool.

Feature overview:

  • quick to use command-line tool with simple configuration
  • automatic generation of visual model containing entities and relations
  • easy import of schema definition files
  • support for annotations, YAML, XML
  • exports to PNG

Supported Platforms:

  • support for Doctrine, Doctrine2, Propel, Symfony, Zend Framework
  • runs on MacOS, Windows, Linux

Pulpo is available for download here:

Email: [email protected]

24 Apr 2014

Posted by: Martin "Freki" Stradej

Press Release #Pulpo #Free Software

ORM Designer presentations

Since a lot of you have asked, we prepared presentations about ORM Designer. Now you can show your teammates or anyone else, who may be interested in ORM Designer, what it can bring. With these slideshows you can demonstrate ORM Designer functionality to your team leader when needed more arguments to his conviction.

Prepared documents are suitable for personal presentation as well as for sending by email as the contained text has highly informative character. If you would like to add or modify something, please write it here to comments.

You can download these documents on the ORM Designer documentation website: or directly on slideshare. Feel free to share it.

ORM Designer presentation

Do you need any other support materials? We will be happy to prepare it for you. Tell us what you need.

21 Apr 2014

User stories of ORM Designer users

Some time ago, we announced the new user stories project to better understand the needs of ORM Designer users. You sent us answers for 10 questions, from which we made a summary and put it together in one document.

It was very interesting to discover how ORM Designer can be used in specific workflows and what possible functions users miss in it. Based on their feedback, some features have been already implemented (for example property editor drawer) and others will proceed. We would like to thank the users involved for their time and effort to help, we greatly appreciate their willingness.

We received feedback from following:

Savvior Technology Solutions


Savvior Technology Solutions ( is web development company from Pensylvanya, USA. They were maintaining decent version control of the database and manually editing YML files, which was a huge hassle and cumbersome for them. Now they found ORM Designer and are using it for exporting YML files automatically. Read whole user story…

Manifest Interactive

Manifest Interactive

Manifest Interactive ( from Missouri, USA, builds custom PHP & MySQL Web Applications. They needed to show their customers some concept of whole planned application and there wasn’t a way, how to visualize it for clients. The company was looking for some tool, which will generate previews for customers or another way how to manage it. Peter Schmalfeldt from Manifest Interactive is now using ORM Designer in his company any time they are working with a rather complex set of data. Read more…

ADZ Media

ADZ Media

ADZ Media ( is advertising agency from Manchester, UK. The company faced the problem of huge projects that was difficult to manage. Steven wrote us how ORM Designer solved this problem and how they are working now with visual model and documentation at the same time.  Read whole user story…

If you would like to send us your impressions and opinions on ORM Designer, send me an email, we will be really happy.

15 Apr 2014

ORM Cheatsheet - clear manual for ORM frameworks

Wouldn’t it be cool to have the most commonly used ORM functions and definitions clearly described in one place? Of course, for the developers using ORM Designer, no such thing is necessary, everything is handled by ORM Designer. For everybody else we decided to create ORM Cheatsheet - the simple and clear manual.

ORM Cheatsheet

ORM Cheat Sheet

ORM Cheatsheet is divided into several sections according to the frameworks. For the beginning, we made sections for frameworks that are the closest to us like Doctrine and Doctrine 2, but we plan to cover more frameworks and you can even add another framework (or anything useful) by yourself.

Doctrine and Doctrine 2 sections describe installation, configuration and basic usage** of these frameworks  and usage with Symfony or Zend Framework. You can also find there model elements in XML, YML and annotation** format together with its visual model preview. Pages also summarize popular Gedmo extensions for Doctrine 2, ORM Designer usage with ORM frameworks and of course links to interesting resources on the topic.

ORM Cheatsheet is a community project for PHP developers using ORM frameworks and everyone can participate in extending it. If you would like to join and contribute with anything useful contact us on email [email protected] or fork ORM Cheatsheet on Github.

Check the new ORM Cheatsheet on

08 Apr 2014

Posted by: Ludek Vodicka

Hints for developers #cheat sheet

New review: ORM Designer 2 provides great advantage over other object designers

Patrick Paechnatz was so kind to write his opinion on ORM Designer. Since original is in German, we got to work again, to deliver his review even to those more versed in English.

Personal test-review

In the course of an extensive implementation of ORM entities for a customer project I have been looking for an easy object relation ERD design interface, when I become aware of ORM Designer from Inventic ltd.

Without even looking at the license/pricing model, I have started my initial evaluation on the  14 days offered trial mode. To jump a bit ahead of my review, the application is really solid - even though one or two design weakness would have to be corrected (which should be done soon in the current frequency of updates). But now to the actual test-review:

ORM Designer 2 provides a simple yet comfortable working environment for planning, creating, managing, and exporting from ORM frameworks à la CakePHPDoctrine 1.2+Doctrine 2. and Propel. The application provides the user with an intuitive interface for creating and managing the object-structures together with all the framework specific object properties and special features (e.g. sf2/Doctrine 2 lifecycle callbacks) to cover the entire ORM export/import scope of relational database. In addition to the standard annotation-based classes format ORM Designer offers two additional export formats, yaml and xml. All known ERD relations models (one-to-one, one-to-many (many-to-one), many-to-many bi- and unidirectional) can be classified according to the official ERD notation quickly and comfortably using the respective properties implemented directly in the object editor. Not only clean code generation and the export into any structure elements but also the easy import of already existing, externally generated ORM structures and the processing of these objects including recognized relations is (in my opinion) a great advantage over other object designers.

I could see the application tested intensively under production conditions and I am thrilled. The ORM structure generation was so quick and yet framework-specifically detailed that I did not think it is possible until then. Questions about the software are usually answered in a very short time by email, a few functionialities that i thought were missing finally became clear to me after explanation from orm support team. This is also a small weakness of the otherwise well-structured ORM Designer 2 - “hidden features”: let’s take a look for example at ”unidirectional many-to-one“ this can only be changed from (default) “bidirectional” in the desired “unidirectional” relation, if the alias of “owner” or “inversedBy” Entity is deleted manually.

Another major advantage is provided by the already mentioned graphical development approach of the application and the extensive and detailed export functionality of the generated ORM entities. By the development team mentioned claim of 70% productivity jump is in my opinion set too high, but I can in good faith confirm it to double the working speed during the planning and the first realization of project. Moreover, developers of ORM Designer 2 seem to work intensively on additional features and improvements. During my testing phase 2 features updates were provided, one feature I requested was added directly to the planning list for the next update and a bug I noticed was fixed.

We would like to thank Patrick for positive evaluation of our tool, improvements he proposed are on our to-do list and we plan to work on them. To read the original text in German, please head here:




Property editor

02 Apr 2014

Posted by: Martin Kulhavy

Skipper reviews #review

Join us to create ORM Designer user stories

In cooperation with ORM Designer users, we are working on user stories these days. Our team is trying to create documents which would clarify different ways how to use ORM Designer and explain satisfaction with it in-depth. The reason why we make user stories is to obtain feedback and present inspiration for others how ORM Designer can be used.

For the user stories, we need to collect opinions from our users. So, we created a set of questions so you can freely describe your experiences and impressions from using ORM Designer. There are no limitations, you can honestly share anything that is on your mind.

Why to join? Besides that you will really help us understand users’ needs, you can have a promotion of your person or company on our website and our Twitter and participate in the development of ORM Designer with your ideas for new features.

If you want to participate, send me answers for the following questions to [email protected]:

  1. Why did you start using ORM Designer?
  2. For which projects do you use ORM Designer?
  3. What is your common project work flow in ORM Designer?
  4. How often does your team work with ORM Designer?
  5. How much work and time does ORM Designer save you?
  6. What other benefits does ORM Designer bring you?
  7. Is there anything else you appreciate about ORM Designer? (support, regular updates etc.)
  8. Why would/wouldn’t you extend your ORM Designer maintenance?
  9. What shall we improve in ORM Designer?
  10. Do you have some more comments or ideas for us?
28 Mar 2014

ORM Designer going to the Brno PHP meetup!

For Thursday April 17, 2014 meeting of local PHP community is scheduled in Brno (CZ) and we will be there too. You can meet people of same interest, listen to talks and chat with others. These PHP events take place roughly every two months.

PHP Brno

Because we love to support local community, we became the main partner of the event and each participant can attend in raffle for the full license of ORM Designer. Our colleague, František Tröster will have at this event presentation how to speed-up development with ORM Designer.

There will be 4 talks, 25 minutes for each:

  • 18:20 What makes a good developer from a management perspective (Marek Šudák)
  • 19:10 WebSockets - how to do real-time applications in PHP (Ondřej Mirtes)
  • 20:00 ORM Designer: Speed up your ORM development (František Tröster)
  • 20:50 How to parallelize in PHP and not go crazy (Martin Strouhal)

Entry is free and attendees will have food and beer gratis. If you are interested in this meeting, do not hesitate with the reservation, number of participants is highly limited.

More information and registration can be found on

14 Mar 2014
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