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brudgers

Unlock the built in PIO's.

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Rather than making everyone wait around for long standing issues to be addressed (aka stairs), why not use an more open and community oriented approach?

Edited by brudgers

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That is the same as asking Microsoft, Apple, or any other software company to publish their source code. What would be the incentive to create software if you cannot make a profit?

If you do not like what is available, then you are free to make your own. Any application can be reversed engineered.

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Much of the PIO mangement is done by vectorsript, and has been encrypted.

Go to the vectorscript plug-in editor to see what I'm talking about.

For example, you can't edit the vectorscript for the stair object...even though nobody would want to steal it.

If the scripting was unlocked, then some people would certainly make the effort to improve it.

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I know what you are talking about because I develop plugins myself. The ability to encrypt the source code was introduced to encourage the development of third party plugins for profit and to protect the resources invested in developing the plugins.

Software would have no value if everybody knew how it was done. As I stated before, any software can be reverse engineered and the least you can do to protect your creation is to make it hard to copy. Do you remember how Microsoft copied the Mac OS?

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I think it makes sense with third party plugins...obviously it would be kind of stupid to wish that NNA would unlock a third party plugin since they don't control it.

and of course, that's not what I'm talking about.

It's all the stuff that comes from NNA that can't be tweeked.

Your theory is a great idea (and one NNA apparently agrees with) if your primary goal is to make third party developers happy rather than the end users of your software.

On the other hand, when an architect encounters the limits of "window walls" during an evaluation of the software prior to purchase, the market for all those third party applications is likely to be smaller.

Back in the MiniCad one days, "program it yourself" was an acceptable response from a software company.

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That is the same as asking Microsoft, Apple, or any other software company to publish their source code. What would be the incentive to create software if you cannot make a profit?

If you do not like what is available, then you are free to make your own. Any application can be reversed engineered.

The truth, of course, is that Apple do publish much of their source code, including the very core of its main product, Mac OS X, and the core of its web browser. The world has not stopped turning and Apple is, shall we say, somewhat profitable.

Brudgers isn't suggesting Vectorworks be made open source. He's suggesting core PIOs be made open source. There's a big difference, and as with Apple, open source can be used to great advantage. Not only would this help NNA to improve their own plugins, from input from other users/developers, but it may also help with the development of 3rd party plugins. Ultimately better NNA plugins would help sell seats (and maybe even stop some of us from jumping ship) because at the moment the dismal nature of NNA's current PIOs is a major factor in diminishing its building modelling credentials.

Software would have no value if everybody knew how it was done.

Methinks you misunderstand the meaning of the word value.

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The truth, of course, is that Apple do publish much of their source code, including the very core of its main product, Mac OS X

I believe you are confused as to what Apple publishes. What they offer are SDK's of core technologies and the programming environment that comes with every Mac so that developers can create their own applications. If the source code was published it would be very easy to port the Mac OS to other computers besides the Mac and then they would not be able to sell you their own brand of computers.

He's suggesting core PIOs be made open source. There's a big difference

I do not see the difference. The PIOs are pieces of software that make up the different modules (Architect,Landmark,etc.). NNA could very well have added these pieces of software into the main VW program and then you would not have an argument. NNA is simply protecting their investment in developing the PIOs. And just like Microsoft and Apple, NNA offers the means to make your own applications (SDK, vectorscript, documentation, and examples).

The stair plugin can be duplicated and improved by a third party just like Windoor by Julian Carr is an improvement over the stock window and door PIOs.

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Everytime I think about the difference in usability between windoor and the stock PIO's, I get an impression that NNA hasn't imporved the stock PIO's to my detriment and the 3rd party developer's benefit. And since one of the selling points of vectorworks was it's price to features ratio, it's hard not to feel like a bit of sucker when someone else is clearly doing core features better.

As for Apple, the OSX kernel is based on publicly available source code (including mach and bsd).

Making source code available encourages third party development by lowering the barrier to entry.

Improving the stair PIO is a whole lot easier than creating and debuging a new PIO from scratch to replace it.

Edited by brudgers

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I believe you are confused as to what Apple publishes. What they offer are SDK's of core technologies and the programming environment that comes with every Mac so that developers can create their own applications. If the source code was published it would be very easy to port the Mac OS to other computers besides the Mac and then they would not be able to sell you their own brand of computers.

The core of Mac OS X is a POSIX compliant operating system built on top of the XNU kernel. This is free and open source. You can download it from here: http://www.opensource.apple.com/ (you can download the source of other Apple technologies here too, such as Streaming Server, Bonjour, OpenPlay, Open Directory, and HeaderDoc)

The core of Apple's web browser is Webkit. You can download it and follow development from here: http://webkit.org/

I do not see the difference.

Maybe in the same way that you don't appear to understand the difference between what Apple does publish as open source and what it doesn't?

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Christiaan,

If you had bothered to read what Apple offers, you would understand what I said. This is Apple's statement on open source

Mac OS X contains many open source tools and technologies, including third-party tools that are built and packaged with the operating system, as well as fundamental parts of the operating system itself.

Meaning that they incorporate open source technologies into the Mac OS and are available for developers to use in their applications or device drivers. Nowhere does it say that they provide the source code for the Mac OS itself. Furthermore, there is no source code to download on that page since what is offered comes with the Mac installation disks.

I have been around since the beginning of personal computers so I know how the Mac OS X came about. The use of Unix as the underlying OS is no coincidence since OS X was developed from the purchase of the NextStep OS, a Steve Jobs creation, and which was based on Unix.

The reason you have emulation programs like Parallels is that they do not have the source code for Windows to compile it and run natively on a Mac. What the program does is map function calls from the guest OS (Windows) to the host OS (Mac). In the same way, I was able to emulate Mac OS X on a Windows computer.

Linux would be an example of an open source OS which you can download and install on about any computing device around including game consoles and portable devices. Since everything is open source, you can develop your own version of the GUI and improve any feature or modify any aspect you do not like.

Lastly, you proved my point that what is offered is the means to make your own applications but not the source code. Webkit is a SDK (Software Development Kit) to build internet applications but is not the source code for Safari. You are free to make your own web browser with the kit if you do not like Safari. For example, in learning Visual C++ on Windows, I built a web browser myself with two panes. One for the searched page and the other to display the links on that page.

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Apple's approach has gained them a 2% world wide market share.

Nobody is asking for NNA to publish the source code for vectorworks.

The idea is to treat built in PIO's as part of the SDK as a step in the right direction to encourage 3rd party development and facilitate user customization.

While I'd personally love to see the sort of development tools and interfaces ADSK provides for ACAD based products, I don't think it's a realistic goal...as you may learn from reading the The Autodesk File this approach goes back to the first iterations of the software and reflects the main frame programming background of it's first creative team.

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Nowhere does it say that they provide the source code for the Mac OS itself.

I didn't say they provide the entire source code. What I did say is that they provide the source code of the core of their OS, which they do.

Furthermore, there is no source code to download on that page since what is offered comes with the Mac installation disks.

At the top of that page it says "Releases." Click on any link below that heading and it will take you to the source code of any particular release. For example, the URL for downloading source code from the current release of Mac OS X is:

http://www.opensource.apple.com/release/mac-os-x-1057/

Lastly, you proved my point that what is offered is the means to make your own applications but not the source code. Webkit is a SDK (Software Development Kit) to build internet applications but is not the source code for Safari.

If you went to the webpage I linked to you might have learnt in the first paragraph that "WebKit is an open source web browser engine. WebKit is also the name of the Mac OS X system framework version of the engine that's used by Safari, Dashboard, Mail, and many other OS X applications."

The precise URL for downloading the current WebKit source code is:

http://webkit.org/building/checkout.html

Or here to browse the source online:

http://trac.webkit.org/browser

Now, if we're done with this silly little pissing contest, the point is that Apple is actually a good example in favour of Brudger's suggestion, not against it. Many components of Apple's various software packages are open source (which by definition means they publish the source code).

What Brudgers appears to have been suggesting?and I happen to agree with?is that NNA could open source some components of Vectorworks (not all of it), namely their plugin objects, for reasons similar to Apple, to create a better more responsive product for their customers.

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Nobody is asking for NNA to publish the source code for vectorworks.

The idea is to treat built in PIO's as part of the SDK as a step in the right direction to encourage 3rd party development and facilitate user customization.

I don't see how NNA could unlock the vectorscript for the purpose of letting others edit it without also providing an open source licence for it. The fact that the code is actually locked is a minor point I would have thought. The important part is permission to use and improve on the code.

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I agree.

I was pointing out that the request is not for the source code for the engine, just that for the built in PIO modules such as stairs, etc.

There are so many models for licensing code today, that it didn't seem necessary to even bring the issue up.

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I guess where we disagree is whether the PIOs are external to VW or not. I consider them an integral part of the package they are used in. NNA designed it this way so they could sell you the package for each discipline and include only those features that were relevant without changing or hard coding the functionality into the base drawing engine.

While I'd personally love to see the sort of development tools and interfaces ADSK provides for ACAD based products

I am not sure what you mean by this. NNA provides Vectorscript for limited and faster programming and the SDK for more robust applications using C/C++ with XCode or Visual C++. ACAD and Microstation have similar programming environments. One feature I liked in Microstation though was the ability to record user input and getting the Basic source code as a starting point.

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I guess where we disagree is whether the PIOs are external to VW or not. I consider them an integral part of the package they are used in. NNA designed it this way so they could sell you the package for each discipline and include only those features that were relevant without changing or hard coding the functionality into the base drawing engine.

Well, yes, that is a different argument and one that didn't immediately occur to me. It would certainly be a shame if NNA's business model precluded them from opening up development of PIOs so they could be developed more responsively.

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There are a host of cutomization interfaces...which makes sense given the diversity of user skill levels and goals.

Most likely Active X and VBA will never happen since these technologies are for Windows only.

AutoLisp is comparable to Vectorscript and ObjectARX is comparable to the VW SDK.

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There are a host of cutomization interfaces...which makes sense given the diversity of user skill levels and goals.

Most likely Active X and VBA will never happen since these technologies are for Windows only.

AutoLisp is comparable to Vectorscript and ObjectARX is comparable to the VW SDK.

Those are only two of a host of interfaces, from the more user friendly like basic script macros to the OS based like OLE server.

Then of course you've got enterprise scale interfaces like .net and ODBC/SQL.

As many people know, I'm an advocate of vectorworks adopting windows only technolgies like VB, OLE, and .net, etc.

At some point, NNA needs to stop holding the software back for the sake of the gated community OS model and focus on the big picture.

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By including the proper libraries, one should be able to tap into ODBC/SQL with the SDK since it is a system wide programming environment. Visual C++ is used to build executables (*.exe) as well as extensions (*.dll), such as PIOs in VW, and provides access to all the operating system. ODBC translators for most popular database formats are either included in the system or are easy to obtain from the database vendor.

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ODBC is built into autocad and drivers for popular spreadsheets and databases are ubiquitous. It doesn't require a third party developer, it's available to every user...and without additional captial outlay.

Incorporation of this sort of technology is easy on the windows side, and infeasible on the Mac side.

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I've been following this thread w. some interest. I was fortunate enough to begin using VW in the pre-encryption days. I remember learning a lot by looking at the script code. I also was one of those who voiced frustration/concern/annoyance when things initially got locked down - though now, w. my own PIOs, I appreciate being able to encrypt the code for my tools. I've got WAY too much time/effort invested not to do protect them. That being said, I was (and remain) slightly mystified about the total lock-down.

If anyone from NNA is following this discussion and can chime in, some questions for you:

- What instigated the initial locking of all of the stock scripts?

- Were the stock scripts being "borrowed" and adapted for other CADD packages?

- Was it an effort to protect tools licensed from developers out-side of NNA?

- Was there any discussion of encrypting some of the scripts/PIOs and leaving some open?

- I'll assume that this came down to a business decision. Seeing that the scripts/PIOs run only in VW, how was their being open hurting sales?

- Were there tech-support headaches resulting from users making modifications and breaking things?

I'm not trying to resurrect an old fight, here. I just feel that a little general understanding might help to settle this discussion.

Thanks!

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I'm not surprised that having access to the scripts for the built in PIO's fostered your ability to create custom code.

What, if any, effects have you seen on third party development since the scripts were locked?

Are there more PIO's being developed or fewer?

Are there more developers of PIO's or fewer?

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I think it would be somewhat difficult to make a 100% direct link between the quantity of third-party PIO development and the locking of PIOs. I DO, however, find it a bit odd that, for a software package w. as many users as VW has, one can count on less than two hands the number of developers creating commericially-available third-party tools/commands/PIOs. The number gets even smaller when one counts only those developers who are aparently currently active.

The effect I DO see, however, has been (and tends to be) on my learning curve. I have learned syntax, calls, and general technique primarily from the incredible graciousness of other developers and from a ton of trial-and-error. There have been several instances in which I've had to start something from scratch - instances in which having a starting-point would have been a HUGE time-saver. There are also cases (where I believe this thread started), in which I wanted to adjust or fix one of the stock tools and simply had to live it w. as it was.

(Also, and I'm not sure where this fits in the conversation, but one of the variables that can't be ignored is the evolution of PIOs in recent years. Unless I'm mistaken, weren't the "open" scripts primarily tools and commands?)

Thoughts??

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