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mpkeane

Plant Tool Fluidity and Efficiency

Question

The experience of using the Plant Tool is hampered by the need to do a number of manual processes to link the VW database of plants with a plant symbol ? work that should be done by the computer itself.

Presently, one places a symbol on a page (a generic ornamental tree for instance) and then must assign a plant definition to the symbol. VW provides a database of thousands of possible plants, which is excellent, but in order to link the symbol with the specific plant definition, the user must open secondary windows, make a duplicate of the generic symbol, search through various databases (trees, shrubs, ground covers etc are all separate requiring separate loading), and link a specific plant to the generic symbol creating a plant specific symbol.

There is no need to create duplicate "plant-specific" symbols and there is a much better way to assign a plant definition to a symbol, as follows.

Plant Symbols: All that are needed are 20 or so generic symbols: Deciduous tree, deciduous shrub, coniferous tree, coniferous shrub, etc. There is no need to take the generic deciduous tree symbol and create a duplicate plant-specific symbol for a Betula nigra, and another for a Betula nigra 'Heritage' and another for a Betula nigra 'Cully' ad infinitum. All that is needed is to link new plant definitions to generic symbols. The information that appears in the Plant Tag and in the Object Information palette will change, but there is no need to make an entirely new symbol, otherwise one must make hundreds or thousands of new symbols for every possible plant and that becomes impossibly unwieldy.

Linking Symbols and Definitions: The present system requires that one clicks the plant tool, and then opens a separate Plant Settings window (always inefficient to have to open new windows), then open a SECOND new window to get to edit the definition then open a THIRD new window to get plant data from the VW plant database! This whole process is slow, and inefficient and feels like a throw-back to an earlier age of computers.

The Ideal: When you search for a item on the Amazon website, a song on iTunes (both of which have databases that are MUCH larger than VW plant database), one simply types the name of what one is looking for and as one types, suggestions for what you are looking for appear as a scroll window under the window you are typing in. VW should do the same thing. You choose the plant tool. Immediately a small window appears and as you type the plant ID or the botanical name or the common name, a list of possible suggestions appears. Within a second you have found your plant in the database (trees, shrubs, groundcovers all together) and linked it to a generic symbol.

Summary: The method of assigning a specific plant definition to a generic plant symbol in VW is antiquated. The computer should do the hard work of linking the large database of plants to generic plant symbols in the above manner, which would greatly improve the overall fluidity and efficiency of the VW experience.

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