November 17, 2023
5 Minutes

Introducing Ellie 5.0: Conceptual Canvas Upgrade

Juha Korpela
Chief Product Officer,

This latest version is a long-term labor of love for our team. We have completely overhauled many of the underlying technologies and solutions, while maintaining the core user experience - and adding some nice quality-of-life improvements here and there.

You can watch the video or follow the post to see what the release is all about.

First and foremost, this release is future-proofing the application and allowing us to move faster and scale up our development. Still, while this is mainly an under-the-hood upgrade, many things (bigger and smaller) have changed also for the user. Below, we’ll list some of these!

Conceptual Modeling canvas made even easier to use

Most of the user-facing changes in v5.0 concern the Conceptual Modeling canvas - the core of Ellie’s user experience.

The new canvas in all its glory

You’ll notice that we have removed the separate Edit and View states. Now there is only one view - if you have edit access, you can edit, but everyone sees the same view.

The sidebar on the right-hand side has also been revamped. Model information (including the name and description, which you can edit directly from here) as well as edit history and some other info have all been added here.

In the sidebar, the “Search or Create” functionality has also been made more straightforward. Now, when you type an entity name or choose one from the search results, the entity gets immediately added to the canvas! Likewise, when removing entities from the canvas, they get removed completely instead of returning to the sidebar entity list (which no longer exists at all).

We also have an “Export” button now on the Conceptual Modeling canvas. From here, you can export the model’s contents in CSV or PDF files. Previously, this was done via the “Reports” functionality, which is now gone (you get the exact same files from the canvas directly, saving you many clicks).

Oh, and you also have mouse-scroll zoom and multi-select with shift-click & drag! There are many of these smaller changes in the user interactions - we will be fine-tuning these as we go forward from v5.0, but overall the basic functionalities remain the same. In addition, the canvas interactions on the Conceptual and the Logical canvases are now much more consistent. The same basic logic of interacting with entities and relationships now works on both.

New and improved export/import of the Glossary via Excel files

If you need to mass-edit entities and attributes in Ellie’s Glossary, you’ll be happy to know that our Excel import/export workflow has been completely redone.

The new Excel import/export

The basic idea is the same as earlier - you can insert, update, and delete things in the Glossary via Excel files - but the workflows around this have been simplified, and error handling has been massively improved.

Because of how much better this new functionality is, we’ve also made it available to all write-access users! Previously, it was only available for Ellie admins.

Tons of other changes

There are all kinds of changes and improvements in various other areas of Ellie. The full changelog is available here, but we’ll list some below:

  • You can now see all the description labels of a relationship between two entities on the Relationship tab of the single entity view
  • The Glossary List has simpler functionalities on displaying attributes & models for the entities
  • The “Sandbox” feature, which used to be hidden behind the user settings menu, has been removed for now - we intend to bring a more functional “draft models” capability to Ellie soon, as the old Sandbox didn’t really do many of the things we wanted it to do.
  • Logical Modeling canvas has, in addition to better interactions and consistency with the Conceptual Modeling canvas, some new capabilities like recursive relationships.

Check out the changelog to see the full list, let us know at if you have any questions or comments (we’d love to hear your feedback!), and have fun with the new Ellie!