Sunday, April 26, 2009

Revit 2010 Ribbon development


There has been much discussion and blogging about the new ribbon interface in the latest edition of Autodesk’s Revit platform. To get a little back story, watch this video on it’s development and the thought behind it. Even after testing and bug-hunting RAC2010 for 4 months, I still have trouble finding some of the commands I want. Granted, I’ve been using Revit for a while now, I think since 2002 or 2003, and the “old” UI is second nature to me. After watching the new ribbon interface video, I was a bit more comfortable. It points out that you can move the buttons around within each tab and add them to the quick-access toolbar. You can also dismount the tools and have them sit on a second monitor if you prefer. The fact that the tools have moved around quite a bit takes some getting used to. A really useful tool I found to help one adapt to the ribbon is the “Where is my Command” button on the help bar drop-down.


In terms of performance, certain aspects seem faster and others not so much. There is a Performance Technical whitepaper here which can help you with this regard. For those of us who work on large, multidiscipline, multi-office projects, you might see some performance boost here and there as it is making more use of 64-bit and multi-threading. In the end it is still mainly a single-threaded application so having a 16-core beast on your desk won’t help you crunch the database any faster.

The ribbon’s performance is still slow. It seems faster than when I was first introduced to it in January, but there still seems to be a split second delay in the reconfiguration of the panels between activities. In my mind, this is a critical functionality that needs a resolution. Delays in this reconfiguration process during modeling and drafting get very frustrating. If anyone knows a way of speeding this up, drop me line.

All in all I like the look and the flexibility that is provided in the ribbon but I would like to see more flexibility added. I like the functionality of the tools reconfiguring to the related tools of the selected subject. I find this very useful and it makes the application more intuitive. I would like to configure the tabs myself. I find certain Revit activities use a different array of tools more frequently than the “typical” Reviteer layout that exists. I find myself switching through the tabs quite a bit during the kinds of things I do which are not springing to mind right now otherwise I would list these activities.

The bummer of it all is that my firm now has the job of retraining a lot of people on how to interact with and use Revit. A job that I would rather not have to do. Revit and Building Information Modeling is a freight-train plowing through the beach chairs of the Architecture, Design and Construction industry and there’s one thing that I am certain about; and that is change in this aspect of the industry is becoming more frequent and more viral – not effecting just architects, but engineers, contractors and everyone that is connected. More often than not, change is good. Change expands the mind. Change revitalizes stagnant industries and creates new ones. And from a simple post about a new interface to the paternal application we have gotten into a philosophical diatribe on change. I didn’t see that coming.


Craig Barbieri

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Are you Laid-Off or a Displaced Worker?

An awesome coincidence happened to me on Thursday.

I received an email from a friend I worked with a few years ago at another Architecture firm. He was out of work, laid off, a “displaced worker” as some would put it. He had gotten a small drafting job and and his email was a request.

Not being tech savvy, his computer was about 7 years old, and had the hardware specs and software to match.  He needed me to convert an AutoCAD 2007 drawing to the older format of AutoCAD 2000 so he could work on it. “Not a problem,” I said, “I’d be happy to do it. But I have something even better for you…”.

As it turns out, that morning I’d received an email from Autodesk University Online. Coincidentally, Autodesk has launched a new program to help displaced workers by offering software, training, and more! I shared this information with my friend, and I pass it on to you below:

Autodesk Assistance Program Offers Help to Displaced Workers

Dear Craig,

In these uncertain economic times, many companies have had to let good people go. If you were one of them, you might be wondering how to advance your career in this challenging global job market.

Invest in Yourself
To get ahead in the workplace, you need to invest in yourself by increasing your knowledge and expanding your skills. And the good news is that Autodesk can help you get back in the game. With the Autodesk Assistance Program, you can take action today to gain a competitive advantage in your field.  The program offers:

  • Free* Software License: Any 13-month term student license of AutoCAD®, Revit® Architecture, Autodesk® Inventor® Professional, and/or AutoCAD® Civil 3D® software (download only).
  • Free Online Training: On-demand training available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week provided by vBooks - powered by Retrieve Technologies, Inc. (Internet access is required.)
  • Reduced Cost Classroom Training: Many Autodesk Authorized Value Added Resellers and Autodesk Authorized Training Center (ATC®) partners are offering classroom training at their training facilities for free or for a significantly reduced fee (offerings will vary; please check with your local ATC to get details).
  • Certification: Certification preparation and exams available at discounted rates through Autodesk Authorized Certification Center (offerings will vary; please check with your local ATC to get details).

Seize the opportunity now. Don't just survive—thrive!

Sign up today for the Autodesk Assistance Program to access software, training, and certification.

PS.  Don't forget all the great resources available free on AU Online: access to hundreds of classes from past AU events, networking with other professionals, and more.  Make plans now to be part of AU 2009 Las Vegas , where the classes, labs, and interaction with industry experts will prepare you for certification exams available there, and help you get ahead in the workplace.

*Free products are subject to the terms and conditions of the end-user license agreement that accompanies the software.

Autodesk, AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, ATC, Civil 3D, Inventor and Revit are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2009 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.


An awesome coincidence, yes? I haven’t heard from my friend since then so I’m guessing either he is as happy as a clam and busily working away or he hates me because his 7-year-old computer blew a fuse trying to load all the high-tech software!

Autodesk’s Assistance Program says a lot of good things about the company and the wisdom of the company’s leadership

(If you want to hire my friend, shoot me an email and I’ll get you in tough with him)

Enjoy! –Craig Barbieri