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mike m oz

Terminology confusion.

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In a thread on classes the isue of what a muntin is came up. The reality is that terminologies are not universal amongst the English speaking world. Some examples:

MUNTIN:

USA = a bar or rigid supporting strip between adjacent panes of glass.

ENGLAND = the vertical part in the framing of a door, screen, panelling etc. butting into, or stopped by, the horizontal rails.

AUSTRALIA = an intermediate vertical framing member in a panelled door, usually of the same width as the stiles.

MULLION:

USA = a vertical bar between the panes of glass in a window.

ENGLAND = a vertical post or other upright dividing a window or other opening into two or more lights.

AUSTRALIA = a vertical dividing member of a frame between the lights of a window or door, each of which may be further subdivided by glazing bars.

TRANSOM:

USA = a strengthening crossbar, in particular one set above a window or door.

ENGLAND = a horizontal bar of stone or wood across the opening of a window or across a panel.

AUSTRALIA = an intermediate horizontal member of a window frame, door frame, or opening between the head and sill (sometimes referred to as an intermediate rail).

AUSTRALIA = the horizontal member between a door and a fanlight above it.

Sources:

USA Apple Dictionary

ENGLAND Penguin Dictionary of Architecture

AUSTRALIA Glossary of Australian Building Terms

There will be other variations in other English speaking countries as well. The dilemma for NNA is determining which terminology to use. Given that it is a US program I think we need to learn to live with their terminology.

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Thank you mjw for your worldclass scholarship ... but...

let's face it ... muntin is such a fine ... soft .. tender .. little word

it invokes the heath and the hearth ... fog 'pon the moor...

i get all misty eyed just thinkinaboutit ; )

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STILE:

USA = a vertical piece in the frame of a paneled door or sash window

ENGLAND = the vertical member to which the rails of a door, window or other frame are joined.

AUSTRLIAN = the outer vertical members of a door or window sash frame.

RAIL:

USA = a horizontal piece in the frame of a paneled door or sash window.

ENGLAND = a horizontal member in the frame of a door, window, panel, etc.

AUSTRALIA = horizontal members connecting the stiles of a door or window sash frame.

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http://www.nemetschek.net/company/history.php

Notably Responsive to Customer Needs

Our capacity for listening to users is widely recognized. In fact, Macworld's crediting Nemetschek N.A.'s "nearly fanatical devotion to responsiveness to customers" has been evident from the start. When the very first version of VectorWorks (then called MiniCAD) shipped in 1985, it was the only 3D CAD program targeted at the engineering market. Yet, it immediately attracted users in the architectural field. In response to their requests, we released a version of our CAD program which added a 2D module-later that same year. As our CAD program's popularity continued to grow, so did the importance of input from our users.

OK.

Summary

Each day, VectorWorks products are put to work in more than 85 countries in 14 languages. Besides English, VectorWorks products are currently available in Chinese, French, Dutch, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, and Turkish, Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian, Finnish, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese. Nemetschek N.A. has had increasing success over the past 20 years, becoming an internationally respected leader in CAD software for the personal computer. Its flagship program, VectorWorks Fundamentals, has won many industry awards and has long been the best-selling CAD program on the Macintosh. With the release VectorWorks, the program stands as the new standard in the under-$1,000 CAD market. The merger with Nemetschek AG insures that the product will continue to be a global CAD leader.

Global leader? Hah!

Well, let's for a moment assume that would be true. Does that mean that designers globally have to accept the U.S. practices and nomenclature?

EDIT

The NNA propaganda must have been written in North-Korean. First they say "14 languages", then they list products in 16 languages.

And what, prey tell, is a "product"? If I offer one of my PD scripts or PIOs in Finnish, does that make NNA a Global Leader?

EDIT 2

They say "insure", not "ensure". So, my rave & rant is misguided. NNA does not promise to be a global leader, it only has an insurance policy by the Germans...

Edited by Petri

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There's no reason NNA couldn't write their software in such a way as to localise it correctly.

Apple are guilty of this sort thing too. When you purchase a Mac in the UK, for instance, and tell it you're in Britain and using a British keyboard, when you first start up, it STILL uses American English spelling throughout its system.

To get the spell checker to use British English you have to go to System Preferences, click on International, click on Edit List..., and then check the British English option, the make sure British English is put to the top of the list. Not as bad as NNA but still pretty unforgivable in my book. People end up viewing the software as not tailored to their needs, which is just giving customers a reason to keep a look out for alternatives.

I think it's cultural thing; a disregard for other cultures, which is a result of both the USA's sheer size and of its particularly impolite form of imperialism, which has developed out of its particularly brutal foundations: the suppression and genocide of the Indian people. That Mike endorses disregard for other cultures in the software he uses each day might be a result of his own nation's equally brutal foundations. Just a theory. ;)

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Given that it is a US program I think we need to learn to live with their terminology.

Kinda turns the whole customer/seller relationship on its head. Wouldn't want to inconvenience the seller now would we.

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Christiaan, the onus to do the local customisation that you want rests with CU. Other countries do it to satisfy their market's needs. I suspect it is demand driven though - if the demand is there it gets done. If it isn't it doesn't.

In the UK's case I suspect that is the issue - there isn't enough demand for the customisation, and that is why it doesn't get done. If you want that to change then you need to direct your attention to where it matters. If there aren't enough like minded UK users doing the same thing though your chances of success are minimal.

On the issue of terminology - even within countries there will be regional differences. How do you solve that problem? The reality is you can't. Therefore having a generic terminology as we currently have is the only answer. It may not be 100% to your liking but that is just the way it is. Surely the important thing is understanding what the intent is so that you can achieve what you want.

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I think it's cultural thing; a disregard for other cultures, which is a result of both the USA's sheer size and of its particularly impolite form of imperialism, which has developed out of its particularly brutal foundations: the suppression and genocide of the Indian people. That Mike endorses disregard for other cultures in the software he uses each day might be a result of his own nation's equally brutal foundations. Just a theory. ;)

Not sure what to make of this Christiaan. Don't know if the wink will work for you here. Historic and current imperialism runs rampant in both our countries as does the unsustainable world killing juggernaut of capitalism and your kidding yourself if you think you're not part of it. Anyway, Mike has it right. It's about demand (read money). Right now, apparently there are less Brits, Finns, and Aussies than Yanks so that's just tuff ski.

And it is Nemetschek North America after all so there is a bias. I, for one, would be happy to subsidize better localization to other major markets with my purchase if at the same time they would improve the stairs, doors, dormers, windows, floors and texture mapping. You know? Maybe make them work simply and well for all of us? Let's face it. NNA has enough work to do just to improve on the universal functions.

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Christiaan, the onus to do the local customisation that you want rests with CU. Other countries do it to satisfy their market's needs. I suspect it is demand driven though - if the demand is there it gets done. If it isn't it doesn't.

Then maybe that arrangement needs to change somehow. NNA are certainly making it difficult by hard-coding U.S. terminology into the program.

In the UK's case I suspect that is the issue - there isn't enough demand for the customisation, and that is why it doesn't get done.

If the onus is on CU it won't matter how much demand there is. CU is a reseller. Nothing more, nothing less.

On the issue of terminology - even within countries there will be regional differences. How do you solve that problem? The reality is you can't.

I think the reality is you misjudge the nature of programming. This is little more than a technical problem. NNA have simply made a mistake by taking the approach they have.

And on one hand you're telling me the onus is on CU but on the other you're telling me its impossible!

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Historic and current imperialism runs rampant in both our countries as does the unsustainable world killing juggernaut of capitalism and your kidding yourself if you think you're not part of it.

Well, you were right. You didn't know what to make of it.

And it is Nemetschek North America after all so there is a bias.

Well I guess this has been my big mistake all along. i.e. believing that VectorWorks is aimed at the global market, when it's not aimed at the global market at all. With this better understanding I can now advise those around me appropriately so we can all make better software decisions into the future.

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Then maybe that arrangement needs to change somehow. NNA are certainly making it difficult by hard-coding U.S. terminology into the program.

Christiaan,

I think you may not have the entire story. All distributors have access to all strings of the plugins and have the option to customize, rename, rearrage, etc. as needed for their local needs. There are several distributors who do this. Most of them are the non-english speaking countries where localization is a necessity. Even still, the distributors have the option to do this.

I suggest you speak with CU to better understand this situation.

Your view may be that they are a reseller, but they are a distributor. To NNA, that means something different than a reseller.

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This is true for some plug-ins, not all.

In many PIOs, strings cover only a tiny part, but changing both "alternative" parameter names and strings does a good deal more.

Full translation with these easy methods is not possible. The process also needs to be redone from scratch for every new version.

(Actually, even ordinary users have access to strings and alternative names. It's not easy, but not hugely difficult either. Mostly it is laborious and boring.)

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Thanks for clarifying the technical aspects Katie, notwithstanding Petri's comments.

So what does CU do besides selling VectorWorks to earn the moniker of distributor?

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Let me guess: it moves boxes to firms that move boxes?

Considering the UK market size, it should do a lot of things. Providing a Plant Database and some Wall Styles to NNA for inclusion in the Standard Issue Installation is, IMABHO, rather lame.

Doesn't CU anyway organise seminars and stuff like that? Do trade shows & fairs?

Oh, BTW: being a person from a NESB, thank you for referring to an incorporated firm - PLC - in singular form! The plural may be suitable for partnerships like Messrs. Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger, Hungerdunger and McCormick, but not for Nokia or General Motors - despite the "s" in the name of the latter.

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Yeah they actually hold a pretty good annual conference, but that's about the limit of it from my experience.

By the way, do all CAD vendors work in this way, i.e. leaving localisation up to local distributors?

In any case I think I have the solution. NNA should concentrate as much as they can on creating an internationally neutral CAD package, and to help them do this they should spin off part of the company to be a U.S. distributor which can customise VW for the U.S. market. Or something to that effect.

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Christiaan, This is a good idea...right up there with fully realized functionality.

Pardon my naivete, but is this neutrality/localization actually possible or are you pipe dreaming?

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Pardon my naivete, but is this neutrality/localization actually possible or are you pipe dreaming?

Actually, it seems like the easy route to me.

If, for a moment, it was accepted that producing VW firstly for the U.S. market makes for a less-than-perfect experience for non-U.S. users, then the answer to such a problem seems obvious: produce it for the global market instead and deal with the U.S. market in the same way as every other market, by using a local distributor.

Do I need to put this on the wishlist? Ha!

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Indeed. And the onus of localization would be with the distributor, so Katie & co could blame the non-performing distributor for not delivering.

It is my understanding that only some 40% of the market of VW is in the U.S. of A. (Whatever "market" means.) As the majority of new CAD-software licences will be sold in various developing economies (former Communist block, India, China etc), the "bias" is a threat to us existing users: if VW does not become a globally useful program, it will disappear from the global marketplace and just be what it essentially has already become: McMansionWorks, with 200 dormer window types and 300 variations of the American Gothic Window with Shutters and optional Magenta glazing.

EDIT

Yes, I know that the dormer windows were programmed by an Indian software company, to meet the demand somewhere: there are hundreds of Indian drafting services doing work all around the world. However, the demand for dormer windows is very, very limited outside the U.S. of A. I don't think I have seen any in China or India...

Edited by Petri

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Christiaan, the reality is that these days American English is more universal worldwide than English English. (English English is not even universal in the UK) So which English would you have them choose as the international one. By your argument not the predominate one. By the way how many words are you actually agitated about? How about providing a list of them. There won't be that many in it. There is a more obvious solution - make the dialog boxes more graphic oriented. When you can see what is being referred to the actual words become far less important.

Your argument seems to be more about CU not providing local content. The UK user base needs to take that up with CU and demand that they provide it to you. That would mean being specific about what is required. Generalisations aren't much use. The UK users could also help themselves by collaborating and sharing the local resources they have developed. Working with your UK user groups to further your case is far more likely to be successful.

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Petri, why the hang up about dormer windows? Your constant carping on about them does not contribute anything constructive to any of the discussions. Why not be explicit about what it is you do want to see as an added capability. That would be far more helpful. You also need to be specific. Generalisations, sweeping statements and allusions to irrelevancies aren't much use to anybody.

Posting some images which show how Finnish doors and windows need to be represented at scales of 1:100 and 1:50 would help us and NNA understand what your issue is with the current door and window PIOs (it would definitely make it easier for NNA to deduce what your concerns are). Ditto for other capabilitis you have isues with. The adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is most apt in this situation.

The other option of course is to develop your own PIOs for doors and windows. This is done for the local versions in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and Australia/New Zealand. The German/Austria/Switzerland version also has its own stair PIO. In each case unique needs are satisfied. The added advantage of this is that you don't have the issue of language conversion each time the program is updated.

Perhaps you could also post a PDF copy of a typical set of Finnish working drawings so that we can see how different your construction and documentation needs are. That would also help us and NNA understand better what your concerns and issues are.

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The other option of course is to develop your own PIOs for doors and windows. This is done for the local versions in Germany/Austria/Switzerland and Australia/New Zealand.

This is exactly what I have done. However, doors & windows need to be IFC-compatible and so far NNA has not been willing or able to provide any documentation or assistance on the subject.

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