Useless help and features

Kiril Ass
  • Kiril Ass

    Kiril Ass - 2007-07-12

    Hugo, Mariana and everybody behind Archimedes, thanks for your great effort!

    I just found your package today and tried it for mere 5 minutes, just to get the first feel. Me being an architect in a small firm, with nill coding experience couldn't be of great help, but I gladly can try to help you with the GUI design and stuff if you are in need. (And being nosy I feel not really happy about the graphic design of the thing) So please let me know if I could be useful.

    I have been invited the other day to contribute for a Russian architectural digest, and I will write a small article about you in the news section, trying to bring in some interest from our local professionals, and possibly endorse donations.

    Now to the project. Unlike others in the forum, I've been playing already for 9 years on Bentley Microstation core, to my greatest pleasure. If you have an opportunity to lay your hands on it (v8 is the current version), have a view. Some things are really great there, and you should probably try to take a look at these things:
    printing window and operation (like 15 times less generally unneeded options than ACAD, and a single easily editable config file)
    tools interface - I thought about your plugin approach: Every tool chosen brings up a small panel with tool options, which is replaced with another when another tool is called up. Say, if you choose  "move" there is a checkbox for "copy", and if checked it unlocks another field for number of copies.
    every design window (of the 8 possible for the opened file, if you are looking forward to have more than one) has it's own viewing operations buttons: fit objects, zoom in zoom out, window zoom (draw rectangle to zoom in proportionally), copy view from another window, etc.
    I totally understand, that you are in the beginning of the road, and do not pose these as feature requests, but as an another source of inspiration.

    I will be playing with your thing during the weekend and will come up with some primary issues then - I want to understand, are my findings just me not looking carefully or something missing.

    Just the very first thing I found, have no idea, is it a java problem, or your idea: in the level editing window (very good thing to start with!) you did a double work: there's the level list and a choices buttons below. If i can understand, why it is done for color and linestyle (drop down menus are probably a nightmare) I do not get why one an not enter text in the text fields of the list. And a minor feature request: more than two linestyles please! We need a whole lot linestyles, to be honest.

    All the best,


    • Hugo Corbucci

      Hugo Corbucci - 2007-07-17

      Hello Kiril,
      Just to start, thanks for spending your time testing Archimedes. And, of course, thanks for spreading it around.

      Regarding the design, we really are not focusing AT ALL in the software's graphical look and feel. I believe you agree that there are much more important features to implement before we focus on this. But once we implement those, I am sure your help will be very appreciated.

      By the way, if you can't hold your will to contribute, I am thinking of starting another project that has absolutely NOTHING to do with CAD or architecture but needs serious help with graphical interfaces. :) hehehe

      Now regarding your suggestions about Archimedes. I wish I could lay my hands on any advanced CAD. Except all of those are expensive and being just a volunteer student that works with Linux, finding a CAD that will run under my situation for free is quite impossible. When we need some reference about CADs, I need to go find some architects and ask them for help.

      Anyway, I got your idea about the changing toolbar (since I believe the menu should be fix to allow changes of ideas). The only problem I see in this way of working is that implementing this, at least the moment, would stop development (that is already very slow) for another 3 or 4 months. And we can't afford that. :(

      About that layer box: What you see on the top (the level list) is a Table. And the graphical library we are using is not very friendly with changing it's content under clicks. It was much easier to have the level loaded on selection on the lower part. Also, this way allows the user to modify the level and compare it to any level at all in the list (imagine you have 40 levels and you are trying to edit the first one and it's name conflicts with the last one, or you want to give it the same color as the last one).

      And, yes, we know you need tons of line styles. In fact, you need to be able to create your own line styles. Unfortunately, again, we don't have time to implement this since there are more important things to be done and very few people working on the project.


    • Kiril Ass

      Kiril Ass - 2007-07-17

      Hello Hugo,

      I totally understand, that graphical interface is absolutely no the first thing to think about, so will keep this question till version 1.0 at least.-) I knew it was useless.

      As for advanced CAD thing, I think I could provide you with some concepts, if you are interested/have time to think about, may be some time later. I still have no idea how to arrange this, though. Actually what I thought, is as long you're interested in architects' feedback, may be you can list up things you wish to know, to create some kind of 'call for cobcepts/suggestions', to have a broad range of opportunities. This could add up to the traditional 'features request' approach.
      I quite understand your situation, that's why I'm offering some reference help. Being a student, the only way to lay your hands on a proper CAD without getting hired by a big company is to enter a CAD course, obviously. Which I guess is at a cost too.

      Don't stop your work for any in-flight changes please! The things I mentioned (and hope to list further) are more of the 'consider for the next version to-do list' kind.

      Speaking of layers, I currently use some 60 to 70 preloaded - they are created once and suite almost every kind of project. That's another MS concept - once you create a drawing, you're asked what "seed" file to use for it's creation, which is just the same .dgn file, which lacks any graphics but has all the settings already set up - working units, dimension and text styles, layers syles etc. As far as I get it, it is just copied with a new name, and voila - you can start drafting. As a result I rarely need to change a level style.

      Another thing I didn't understood in version 0.52, is if it is possible to enter dynamically the size of the object? Again, in MS whenever I enter the first corner of a rectangle for exmple, I can enter the, say, x size in the input field, where it fixes, and then can drag it in the y direction, enter the y size, and then just click to finish with it. Will look further though.

      Again, these are not features requests. All these things are curiosities and concept explanations, which may be (or not) useful for your project.

      All the best,


      • Hugo Corbucci

        Hugo Corbucci - 2007-07-27

        Hi Kiril,
        Since we agreed about the other features, I will let you comment about them and won't comment each of them with excuses all long saying that I don't have time to implement everything :) You got the point.

        Regarding entering sizes:
        Relative points can be determined with '@'
        Meaning to create a rectangle that starts as 40;60 and has 25 x length and 43 y length you could do:
        40;60 (or just clicking that point)

        The only difference with your example is that both x and y coordinates are in the same line separated by a ';'.

        And sorry for the time it took me to answer. I had a lot of things going on since I was quiting my job. I am now starting to eliminate the tasks I left to be done. :)


    • Kiril Ass

      Kiril Ass - 2007-07-27

      Hi Hugo,

      thanks for that. I haven't the time to go further into this recently too.
      As this notation is not that obvious, I suggest you add to the next release some trace of help section, just to let people know how _not that obvious_ things work.

      All the best,



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