Show your customers comprehensive visual models in PDF or PNG

Manifest interactive

Manifest interactive

Aplication development agency
St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Manifest Interactive builds custom PHP & MySQL Web Applications. We specialize in the entire LAMP Stack, Graphic Design and User Experience. We have created custom enterprise level applications for Nike, Anheuser Busch, AT&T and Monsanto.

Problem: How to show work to non-programmer clients?

Since programmers in Manifest Interactive develop custom PHP & MySQL web applications, they need to show their customers some concept of whole planned application. Developers in the company use ORM based programming and there wasn't a way how to visualize it to clients. The company needed some tool, which would generate previews for customers or another way how to manage it.

Solution: Make visual models with Skipper

Peter Schmalfeldt from Manifest Interactive sees the biggest attraction with Skipper in the ability to show clients what the development team had planned for their software. Peter knows that he can do ORM based programming without a GUI, but it's nearly impossible for him to visualize work to clients. Since clients probably won't be software engineers, having a tool that developers could use to show exactly how they are taking data and connecting them is a huge help.

Peter Schmalfeldt

"The biggest attraction I saw with Skipper was the ability to show my clients what I had planned for their software."

Peter Schmalfeldt, Manifest Interactive

Common project workflow with Skipper

Common workflow in Manifest Interactive begins with sitting with clients and understanding all the pieces of data that will be passing through new system. Then, they work out "use case" diagrams illustrating how the data will flow through new system, as well as what permissions might need to be in place.

Once developers know enough, they start to create modules and entities that reflect the future data in new application. Then, they export a PNG file from Skipper into a web based project tool which client can use similar to Google Maps (zooming and panning - some of their projects are HUGE). Manifest Interactive also exports with Skipper PDF file for developers as reference.

"My company uses Skipper anytime we are working with a rather complex set of data"

Once the designing is complete in Skipper, developers export YML files and have a custom PHP framework import the YML files via Doctrine and automatically build the PHP Models and MySQL tables. This is the best usage for their company because they know they have a 100% relationship between PHP models and MySQL tables since it was created from the same process.

Peter also made a video where he describes his typical work with Skipper. He shows export to YML files and how he works with them in Doctrine.

<iframe src="//" width="700" height="393" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

How I use Skipper from Manifest Interactive on Vimeo.

Frequency of using Skipper

Development team uses Skipper during the start of every large project where they need to flush out database schema. Once developers need to make changes to the database, they revisit Skipper to make updates and use custom framework of Manifest Interactive to take the newly created YML files to generate a Doctrine Migration.

Manifest Interactive uses Skipper anytime they work with a rather complex set of data. Their developers have used Skipper to build out the first versions of websites for Nike ( &

"Since Skipper can export PNG, PDF & YML files, it becomes an incredibly powerful tool that we can use to connect to pretty much whatever we want."

What Skipper brings

Since Skipper can export PNG, PDF & YML files, it becomes an incredibly powerful tool that they can use to connect to whatever they want. What Manifest Interactive appreciates is the fact that Skipper team has always been responsive to support issues. However, developers really miss undo/redo function in Skipper, so they must save their project very often. Skipper development team should work on this because for new users that would ease the work with the application.

The company focuses on:

  • Android & iOS mobile development
  • Custom PHP & MySQL web applications development
  • Responsive webdesign
  • User experience

Using ORM frameworks:

doctrine logo

doctrine2 logo

Using MVC frameworks:


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