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Christiaan

Ability to edit workgroup referenced files

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Currently you can only edit workgroup referenced files by opening those particular files separately. This is probably the single greatest barrier to working effectively as a group on one project, as you're always either asking someone to do an edit for you or asking them to close the drawing so you can open it and make the edit yourself.

I'm assuming this is not a trivial matter, but were it pulled off in a robust and intuitive manner our ability to work together as a group on projects would go through the roof.

I've heard this requested before in various venues but I thought I'd get it on the forum.

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Non-managed changes to the overall model (including references) are highly undesirable.

I didn't say they had to be non-managed though. I'd want the option to manage or not manage.

Would I want to work in an environment where walls, doors, windows, furniture, joinery etc. would constantly change as other people are refining their design? Absolutely not.

Sure, and that's your choice, but that doesn't preclude the ability from being built into Workgroup Referencing. Personally, I'd be happy to simply know what was being worked on.

When I come to work in the morning, I expect walls etc to be where I left them, not somewhere else. If they need to be moved, so be it - but only after a meeting or whatever.

I don't have a meeting to agree where doors go. I delegate the job to someone who understands the principles of door placement. So while the doors get moved on my project today the person moving the doors in your project has to wait until tomorrow because you're already working in the main file on something else.

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I don't have a meeting to agree where doors go. I delegate the job to someone who understands the principles of door placement. So while the doors get moved on my project today the person moving the doors in your project has to wait until tomorrow because you're already working in the main file on something else.

If you want to be the kingpin of door moving in your office, just get that domain under your control.

Obviously, walls, doors & windows are somewhat inseparable. The Wall King has to have control of them all and surely he does not allow others to move any of them. So, you have to become the new Ruler of All Walls.

Quite frankly: if you have organised you work poorly, no software can fix it.

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Christiaan, is it possible to do this in other programs? In AutoCAD, you can open a file or xref that someone else has open, but you can't save any changes. I'm not sure, but I think it is a basic OS and networking protocol to prevent two instances of the same file being open and modifiable from two workstations. Otherwise chaos could ensue.

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Chaos would indeed ensue. Joe would move a wall while Jack tries to move a door in the wall.

In multi-user database programs files can be opened and edited, but they all (AFAK) use "record locking", ie. the first user to activate a record only can edit it. Databases being much simpler and more "linear", this is quite easy. In a CAD program I'm really not sure how this would work. Can Joe change the layer dz and thus heights of all walls while Jack is moving his door?

How would all this look to Jill who is working on the ceiling plan while the boys are fighting about the walls? And just as George is placing his finalised kitchen cupboards, the entire kitchen vanishes. Sounds like fun!

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If you want to be the kingpin of door moving in your office, just get that domain under your control.

But that's the point. I don't want to be kingpin of door moving. I want to delegate that task so I can get on with other stuff. The problem is I can't delegate it because of technical restrictions in the program that I use.

There are a number of programs that allow colloborative editing (including real-time), but most are text editors. Although, apparently Inkscape, a vector drawing program, allows for editing of shared documents.

But, of course, ArchiCAD has colloborative editing (presumably, as Petri alludes to, it's a database-driven program):

http://www.graphisoft.com/products/archicad/teamwork/

http://www.archicadwiki.com/CategoryTeamWork

Why you may not be overstating the technical difficulties of achieving this with VectorWorks I think you're overstating the practical issues of actually managing such a system.

I think this functionality would actually top my wishlist (the kind of thing to make you swap programs). What would be the negative implications of turning VectorWorks into a database-driven program (if this is indeed the enabler)?

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What would be the negative implications of turning VectorWorks into a database-driven program (if this is indeed the enabler)?

Good question. Personally, I'd love to see this to happen, but then again, I am a consultant and the more complex the program, the more money I make.

In reality, the only database-driven CAD-program we have is MicroStation. Would all 400000 VW-users want to pay that kind of price for functionality they don't need (either because it's irrelevant or because they can actually set up a multi-user CAD system)? I don't think so.

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But that's the point. I don't want to be kingpin of door moving. I want to delegate that task so I can get on with other stuff. The problem is I can't delegate it because of technical restrictions in the program that I use.

What technical restrictions? What is it in VW that makes it impossible for someone to be responsible for all walls?

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What technical restrictions? What is it in VW that makes it impossible for someone to be responsible for all walls?

I'm not saying it's impossible for someone to be responsible for some aspect of the model/drawings. I'm pointing out that that person can't actually do their work while someone else it working on some other aspect of the model/drawings.

In reality, the only database-driven CAD-program we have is MicroStation.

So that begs the question: how does ArchiCAD achieve its collaboration system (the beauty, I guess, is that NNA knows intimately what the answer is to this question)?

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I'm not saying it's impossible for someone to be responsible for some aspect of the model/drawings. I'm pointing out that that person can't actually do their work while someone else it working on some other aspect of the model/drawings.

Why not? If your model configuration is wrong, that is your problem. The Wall Queen can surely do her work with walls while the Kitchen Sink King does his with something else.

If your eggs are all in one basket, too bad.

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Yeah sure you can to some extent, if you separate out every single aspect of the drawing that you'd ever want to work on simultaneously into separate files and workgroup reference them all. Boy that would be great fun to manage. But even then you wouldn't get the functionality that ArchiCAD offers because you're stuck with whatever arrangement of separate files you created to begin with, plus you're pretty limited to what kind of parts of the project you can keep separately in files.

So, how does ArchiCAD manage it's colaborative system if it's not database driven?

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Yeah sure you can to some extent, if you separate out every single aspect of the drawing that you'd ever want to work on simultaneously into separate files and workgroup reference them all. Boy that would be great fun to manage.

Actually, such a system would manage itself. OK, we could have a password system to authorize opening a file with editing privileges, implying sole custodianship. In addition to auto-save, we could have auto-close after x minutes of inactivity. And so on.

So, how does ArchiCAD manage it's colaborative system if it's not database driven?

I don't know and I don't think NNA knows any more that they can deduct. It is my understanding that in ArchiCAD one works on "a Project" - and only one at a time. Whether the project set-up is less totalitarian than that of VW Architect, I don't know. You tell me whether it works just fine for other professions and any kind of project organization within any profession. (The latter even within architecture.)

Look, when most VW users were at best wearing nappies, I was the Stair Prince, Omnipotent Ruler of Air Raid Shelters and Supreme & Sovereign Lord of Permit Drawings for what was to become the largest architectural firm in Finland. Not even partners assumed they have the authority to change anything related or associated with these unless they got a clearance from me.

If you think you can just go and change an aspect, even the tiniest one in your view, of the design without the faintest idea of the rationale & reasoning behind the state of affairs and therefore are not able to consider the ramifications, you still have a lot to learn.

If, on the other hand, you possess all the required information & skills and the authority to make changes, surely you can also tell Joe to have a smoko.

Meanwhile, when I come back from my smoko, I expect the kitchens to be where I left them.

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I wasn't actually seriously suggesting that you could get the functionality and usesability of ArchiCAD Teamwork by separating out every aspect of a VectorWorks project into separate files. I was attempting to point out how ridiculous such an assertion is.

Not even partners assumed they have the authority to change anything related or associated with these unless they got a clearance from me.

And nothing in what I've proposed would preclude you from maintaining that authority.

If you think you can just go and change an aspect, even the tiniest one in your view, of the design without the faintest idea of the rationale & reasoning behind the state of affairs and therefore are not able to consider the ramifications, you still have a lot to learn.

Whether we produce architecture like this in our office or not is completely besides the point. What I'm proposing would allow you to manage revisions to a project with whatever level of authority you like, just as ArchiCAD Teamwork does.

Meanwhile, when I come back from my smoko, I expect the kitchens to be where I left them.

I don't. I expect them to be where another team member was asked to put them.

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I don't know and I don't think NNA knows [how ArchiCAD Teamwork] any more that they can deduct.

Being that Graphisoft is also owned by NAG presumably it wouldn't take much effort for NNA developers to find out how it works.

You tell me whether it works just fine for other professions and any kind of project organization within any profession. (The latter even within architecture.)

Just talked to a colleague of mine who used to work in our office using ArchiCAD. He says he hasn't used Teamwork because he works by himself but that his discussions with others who do use it are of a positive nature.

Anyway, my point of bringing ArchiCAD into the discussion was that "it" can be done.

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I don't. I expect them to be where another team member was asked to put them.

It must be tough to be at the bottom of the food chain in a firm where jobs are run by authoritarian bosses. Well, whatever. In architectural firms of any ambition and integrity, there is this thing called teamwork, supported by the fancy concept of communication (a.k.a. talking to each other).

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Being that Graphisoft is also owned by NAG presumably it wouldn't take much effort for NNA developers to find out how it works.

Presumably NAG will insist that the functionality of a quite expensive program can be incorporated in their Volkswagen, thereby necesseitating a significant price increase by way of rewriting etc?

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Petri I think you might be mistaken in thinking that I'm interested in your opinions with regard to the organisational structure of an architectural office beyond the implications of my proposal. I'm not, sorry. Why you feel the need to obfuscate by going off on rants about my office, of which you know nothing about, is beyond me. Do you need a cuddle or something?

Presumably NAG will insist that the functionality of a quite expensive program can be incorporated in their Volkswagen, thereby necesseitating a significant price increase by way of rewriting etc?

If cost is indeed a barrier then I would quite happily accept that, but you're obviously no authority on this. I'm putting the wish forward. If cost is an issue then I would not want the wish prioritised.

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So, how does ArchiCAD manage it's colaborative system if it's not database driven?

After reading some of the reviews and other guff, from what I can tell the system works by dishing out a copy of the file (referred to as a "satelite") with certain parts of the project effectively locked, and then when the user wants to introduce any changes back into the master file the system synchronises the master with the satelite. Sounds quite robust.

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Why you feel the need to obfuscate by going off on rants about my office, of which you know nothing about, is beyond me.

Only because you bring up the subject all the time: in YOUR firm things are done in such-and-such ridiculous way so VW needs to be entirely rewritten to bolster your ego as the Great Guru Who Does Not Know Geometry.

Do you need a cuddle or something?

No, but you obviously need huge amounts of attention.

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Christiaan, looking at the ArchiCAD description, it seems as though they have found a way to partition their "project" so that different users have mutually exclusive control over certain portions only - though I doubt that two users can control different objects resident on the same layer.

Normally, files can't be shared in this way. With the VW structure, for example, suppose you and Petri are working together on a project and you both have the document open. Petri changes door A, while you're working on window B. He saves his changes, but that doesn't affect the file you have loaded into your workstation's RAM - so when you save your changes, his are overwritten and his work is lost. The operating system and network rules prevent this kind of thing from happening.

From what I know of software, unless somehow the "project" is actually broken down into separate files at the machine level, this conundrum cannot be avoided (someone correct me if I'm wrong about that!). So I would suspect that ArchiCAD surreptitiously breaks the project into separate files and manages that behind the scenes. Why can't VW do it? I guess they could . . . and, as you say, that would be a great help. But I would re-title this item "greater flexibility with team project management" because it would mean an abandonment of the current WGR concept.

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From what I know of software, unless somehow the "project" is actually broken down into separate files at the machine level, this conundrum cannot be avoided (someone correct me if I'm wrong about that!).

Why couldn't it simply have an internal system that keeps track of the changes and then synchronises the files according to its own rules? Keep in mind that you don't actually work on the same file. You work on what they refer to as a satellite file, which then gets synchronised with the master.

But I would re-title this item "greater flexibility with team project management" because it would mean an abandonment of the current WGR concept.

Yes I think some of my initial assumptions have the been the cause of confusion.

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this is an interesting thread, and your comments about archicad are correct, and i think revit works the same way. they are both database programs, and users have their own copies of the database while the main copy stays on the server. using the marquee tool you can window an area of the building and sign out those objects and no one else can edit those objects until you send&receive. i'm not exactly sure how ac does it, but it's really cool. if vw ever got something like this it would make it a much better competitor with ac and revit.

Edited by Grace Mann

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Haha, come on, admit it. You need a cuddle.

'

I don't have time for people like you. You know so little that's it not even funny.

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