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Open up PIO's and provide better Vectorscript Support Now.



The more that I read about BIM the less confidence I have in VW.


The speed of development I see in other platforms is leaving VW behind.

The main reason I have not changed platform is Vectorscript.

I've been writing custom objects for a number of years. It is an easy language. I employed a student, 6 weeks training and he created some very sophisticated objects. I still have a lot to learn. I have learnt the most from the people who contribute to the Vectorscript area of this forum.

VS can be extremely frustrating. I've invested an huge amount of time streamlining my development process. I've created a structure for 3D modeling that is very fast in development.

My test cycle used Menu commands... HOWEVER when I took the code into a PIO I now have memory issues. $#!?. was my time useless?. I doubt I will get any support from NAA to help.

There are a lot of independent VS developers. NAA could leverage the work of these developers. Create and host an App Store.

Reading others code is the best way to learn VS. Open up the PIO code for independent developers to look at. Then we can see how you are handeling the data we need access to for BIM.

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Could it be that Vectorscript is not only dumb, blind, and stupid ... but going extinct from lack of developmental initiative/inspiration.

Considering the longevity ... and the changing technologies ... perhaps it's

time for evolution to kick in ...as the saying goes... $#!? or get off the pot.

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Guest Mark Flamer

I agree completly. I started using VW only about 2 months ago. I got excited about the potential of vectorscript and quickly started producing some PIO's. I even started creating objects that communicate and update and pass data to each other. I have alot of good ideas but am loosing steam due to the lake of support or documentation. I have read every post on this site and the list serv, constantly referenced the info on the developers website and still many things are just not clear. It boils down to trial and error and I have trouble dedicating entire days to figuring out what seems like it should be a common API call. I'm not bashing either VW or VS, they are great tools. I really want to use and promote them.

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There is a very good community that provide support through this tech board... Most questions get answered, but some times you hit a wall that needs attention form the higher level. I don't see this support as a huge resource drain on NAA.

The slow migration way from PIO parameters to PIO event objects removes the Parameters from the PIO, creates new record structures. I feel like I have a pretty advanced understanding of the Worksheet retrieval, but as more data is moved into a PIO and made opaque on how it is used the more time required to test and try out record data retrieval.

My posts recently are pretty resigned to the fact that I will be changing to Revit. It appears the family structure has a much stronger BIM foundation. I would love for VW to be on the same par. This sucks as I run an Apple office and we hates windowssssss.

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PIO's are old technology and generally the long way of doing things.

We need to have something like "Dynamic Blocks" from autocad (and I think revit as well-not sure). With this, the user can have full control of how he wants the "pio" to look and the user can place dimensions where the user thinks are important, not a programmer.

Drawing with code just doesn't make sense. I'm a visual person and I draw visually and that's one of the reasons I left autocad for vw in the first place.

I find the PIO system frustrating and I hate working according to someone else's standards. That's what pio's are, they're designed by someone else and not me.

NNA, please get rid of PIO's altogether. We need a better system

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"Drawing with code just doesn't make sense. I'm a visual person and I draw visually."


but is a surprise, to see that many of the projects (no conventional ones), are developed using scripting. Vectorworks needs a modern script approach not get rid of it.

Some softwares, has this points already sorted out (or in the working) : scripting (sometimes phyton, or mel (maya)) and in other side parametric bubbles (like Xpressos in CINEMA or Grasshopper in rhino)...

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Could it not be that a "Half Way House" between Shaun and Mr. Gog could be found.

Yes i understand that using VS is a great tool that once you understand HOW to use it must be great, but the fuss and bother needed to reach a suitable custom PIO should be made simpler, more straight forward.



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i suppose this really all boils down to each Software Co.'s stubborn attitude that we must all use their own proprietary file format needing export/import commands in order use files from one App or another. We've all suffered from this, but surely parts of an App like Vector Script are, like the software we use, just yet another translator that sits between the Script and the App, the App and the System so that the 2, 3 or however many stages there may be, can understand each other.

Seeing as both Windows and Macs have their own simple scripting component as part of the system, surely, an enormous mass of headaches could be eliminated for both the producers and the users if all SW Co.'s used the OS's own piece of kit to allow us to command/redirect the App. Having to learn one form of Scripting language for the system can be hard enough, but a different one for each App is absurd.

A company lock could still be included in their own scripts, plug-ins, PIOs to stop them being used elsewhere(if they must) but the more magnanimous could leave them open. Hurrah!


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Now let us not be to harsh on VS and PIO technology. This is a very powerful tool to accomplish almost anything within VW. It may be old to some of you because we have had it for some time but to this day, you will not find PIOs in AutoCad or Microstation.

"Dynamic Blocks" might be a boom for the non-programmer but falls very short to what VS can do. The "Dynamic" part refers only to the ability to resize, stretch, rotate, etc. (actions) for selected geometry (parameters) from defined points (equivalent to control points in the PIO) or setting sizes according to user input (in PIO is a pull-down menu in the OI palette).

VS can do more than just change geometry. Imagine that as you add electrical components (PIOs) to a building, the load requirements for the system are calculated and the part and wiring are added to the estimate; or as you add heads to a sprinkler system, it calculates the water pressure at every conduit junction; or as you add sheets to your project a sheet index PIO gets updated with the push of a button. All these scenarios could be done with VS.

What you really want is a visual interface to program simple tasks which would be in addition to VS and the SDK. AutoLisp (AutoCad) and Basic (Microstation) are the equivalent to VectorScript. As far as the language is concerned, Pascal was used because it was the language of choice at the time scripting was added to VW (MiniCad). Any Mac programmer in the mid to late 80's would have to know Pascal because the OS as well as most applications including MiniCad were programmed in this language.

And going back to the original request, I can understand why NNA would protect their intellectual property by locking their PIO's. To me, that is like asking the for-profit software companies to publish their code and if so, what would be the incentive for them to produce good applications? Open source is not going to work if you are trying to make a profit.

I do agree with the second part of your request which asks for better documentation including examples for each procedure and function call so you can understand the context in which they are used.

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Vectorworks supports many disciplines. I, as an architect, can only speak for mine. I have no doubt that Building Information Modeling will completely change the industry. BIM is all about Information Technology, how information is classified and handled. My understanding of IFC is that it is simply how information is marked up... essentially an XML structure.

The architecture of how information is handled by the BIM software will be critical. VW is capable of the Building Information Modeling. Records can be attached to objects, worksheets can return the record values. But I can't find any independent reports that demonstrate leverage of VW's BIM capacity in the same way that Revit has been used... Bubble bees can fly but might not be the best ride if you want to fly to New Zealand.

I don't think VW should open up the base source code. Profit drives R&D, BIM is new ground- R&D is essential. As I see it, I may be wrong, the PIO is the code process that the generates the Information in the BIM on the Vectorworks Platform.

For anyone to seriously take on BIM on the VW platform, trusting and understanding the information is critical. The last time I tried to set up worksheets to pull the information from the wall record, the few checks I did left me very wary of the results. Understanding what, where, how the Wall tool information is handled is critical.

I can trust the tools I've built because I handle the information at a granular level. If I could see how other PIO's handle their information I could tap in and get at it.

As for the script 'listener'. If you want to see how an object is create. Simply make it a symbol. Export the script. Search for the symbol name in the txt file and you can see the code.

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Miguel, Justin, i'm not knocking VW or NNA for VS or how they use or protect it.

Working with VW would be much less productive and enjoyable if the likes of Ray Mulin were not able to produce little Gems like Reshaper using VS.

It would just be nice if those of us on the "Less Enlightened" side of the line where given a leg up in the climb needed to get to grips with it.

Simple GUI.

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So today I made my first Vectorscript PIO. I totally support better documentation and examples. What exists now is too cryptic and not designer friendly.

I started by using example scripts from the website. These scripts need much more commenting within them if they are truly to be examples.

I also used all the manuals available (online and in the help system). Interesting I stumbled upon an error in one of the manual examples. I only discovered it was an error after much trial and error on my part. This sort of stuff really needs to be improved upon.

I also discovered no one should code in Vectorworks itsself. Better included coding tools are needed. I used a program called TextWrangler, which I also use for coding HTML. Thankfully it colour codes and cleans up some of the code, making it much easier to see what's going on.

My two cents.


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Vectorscript is very powerful and some great add ons have been created with it:

- Cameramatch from PanzerCAD: http://www.panzercad.com/

- AnimationWorks from Ozcad: http://www.ozcad.com.au/products/animationworks.php

- Windoor from Ozcad: http://www.ozcad.com.au/products/windoor.php

- Neatzworkz: http://www.neatworkz.tv/

- Landru Design tools: www.landrudesign.com/

- VectorTile: http://www.cadtec.com.br/index.php?redirect=http://www.cadtec.com.br/vectortile/tileus.html

- Software Customization Services tools: http://scs-inc.us/default.php?page=products

- Vectorbits tools: http://www.vectorbits.com/VectorBits/home.html

- Vector Plug-ins: http://www.vectorplugins.com/

- Vector Depot Plug-Ins: http://www.vectordepot.com/plug-ins/

Learning it is difficult though because of the deficiencies that Kevin McAllister states in his post. That is unfortunate because if the process was explained properly and the documentation and examples were better then it is likely that there would be many more quality add ons and third party PIOs available.

Edited by mike m oz
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I believe the request was for better documentation and even though Vetorwiki is a good resource it is not well documented either. In several ocassions and specially with drop-in functions or procedures, I had to use the trial and error method to get it working. The following is an example I just picked at random.



Same as ClipSurface.

FUNCTION SubtractPolygon(

hMinuedPoly :HANDLE;

Subtrahend :HANDLE;



hMinuedPoly HANDLE

hSubtrahend HANDLE

dFuzz REAL

How would anybody know right away what are the parameters with these descriptions? You can only use deductive thinking where you need two poly handles to do the operation but what is dFuzz?

A tolerance factor?

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It surprises me too. And is very well published. And is there now since more than two years.

Robert, the problem there are the edit rights. Nearly nobody outside NNA has edit rights. There are only two external editors. Look at the wiki user's list, please.

Since I doubt that NNA engineers have the time -or wish- to produce more examples, more documentation, I guess the only possibility is to open up the wiki for editing at least to those who on NNA opinion would be capable of contribution. You know well who they are. Ask them to file more documentation.

If they can post mails helping others, they can also file durable entries in the wiki. And if their entries are not perfect, someone else can correct, that's what a wiki is for.

If the wiki had traffic nobody would dream of looking elsewhere.


I'm shocked that no one in this discussion (who is seeking VS or SDK support) has mentioned the Vectorwiki:


If you're a serious VS or SDK developer, this needs to be one of the tabs on your home page.

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As you say Shaun that's the logic. That's the way I see the development of Vectorworks since Parasolid adoption. Every time is more clear that Nemetschek Vectorworks are in a very interesting track.

I think that what you can read in many interviews and documents from Nemetschek Vectorworks since the inception of Parasolid. I think is not an easy task, that's why it isn't instantaneous. Let's wait to see at what point of the track is Vectorworks.

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Sorry to disagree but the stair by definition is still an Object. In object oriented programming (OOP) anything can be defined as an object that has attributes (shape, dimensions, color, etc.) and responds to actions (clicks, events) through defined methods.

The fact that VW cannot modify objects in 3D space now does not mean it will not be able to in future releases. Vectorscript at the moment only allows input and editing in 2D and will need 3D control points in order to edit objects in other views besides the top plan. Once NNA adds this feature to VS, you will be able to manipulate plug-in objects as in the video.

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