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we can eclipse the industry

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jim, please tell me about the internet browser version of VW that is being developed.

please go to onshape.com and see how a company is eclipsing the industry with a new way of handling mechanical cad (like solid works)

if vw browser is going in this direction then i get it. we need to have people extract data and make sheets for free, freeing up the modeler to model.

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if we could give the team a viewer that could make sheets (w/ renderworks etc) but not allow any modeling then we could distribute the viewer and say take what you like.

so sheets would be done by anyone who has the viewer. unburdening the modeler from making sheets.

... if you want to model or 2d in design layers then you need to buy vw but if you just want to harvest info then just use the viewer. the viewer would also have all the clipped cube viewing that others have requested.

Absolutely agree here. I've always been puzzled by the restrictions in VW Viewer. It has no place in our workflow as it stands. We gave up on it along time ago because of it's inability to render textures. It has a distinct taste of being controlled by a bean counting mindset, instead of someone sitting down and thinking what's the best viewer we can make for VW.

The viewer should do everything it possibly can to help the user extract data from the model! Whether it's viewing 3D with textures/shadows, or producing a schedule or drawing from the model or running a sun shadow simulation. And that's just scratching the surface.

The only restrictions should be that of creating/editing data. And even then there's an argument for providing the ability to mark things up.

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Christiaan, if the viewer you proposed (and i agree) was distributed to 1,000,000 people would that not create tons of work for us users? then we would need to have more people buying the full version.

does this make sense? i thinks its good

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Hmmh ....

I'm not very interested to have VW in a browser.

I'm very comfortable to do CAD stuff on a reliable potential workstation

with a large screen.

Nothing against a viewer tool with some annotation function on an iPad.

But could be done by normal PDF's App though.


People here in old Europe will be very carefully putting their data in clouds.


Like BIM/IFC, the exchange/viewing software should be one open standard,

the software to create the content stays individual/proprietary to best fit the

needs of that part of content you are creating.

I would not force people to get used to VW as much as I would not like to

view others data in an Autocad User Interface.

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zoomer i was skeptical too about the browser idea. however, the people who have developed onshape.com are the founders of solid works (which they sold and are starting fresh) and for them to take such an approach is good enough for me. these guys are older than me (not some flashy collage with a nifty app) so they carry some weight with me.

just so everyone knows, I'm not looking to design on an iPad. I'm a 2-3 screen person that likes everything hardwired.

i like not being shut out because I'm on a mac. and can share with anyone

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jim, please tell me about the internet browser version of VW that is being developed.

Personally, I have zero interest in Vw even considering moving from the desktop to the cloud. ArchiCAD has taken the right approach with its BimX viewer software; That's what Vectorworks should be looking at for further developing the Vw Viewer, not Onshape.

Onshape (just now closing beta version) has an immense advantage over software like Vectorworks, with its 30th version release in as many years, in that it can be built from the ground up and optimized for Web 2.0. Onshape does not have to deal with legacy code which predates the Internet. I am not a programmer, but I would guess that if Vectorworks were to release a 'cloud version', like you're requesting, they would have to start from scratch and rewrite most, if not all, of their existing code. That would be a monumental task, to say the least.

There are many, many, many core areas of Vectorworks that need to be fixed and improved before they spend any time on a 'cloud version', in my honest opinion.

I have always been a huge believer that Vectorworks should not be 'the only tool in the drawer'. Onshape's own introductory videos make frequent references to using Onshape in conjunction with your other exisiting CAD software.

For me and my current Vectorworks BIM workflow, there is nothing about the browser-based Onshape MCAD workflow that appeals to me. Almost all of the contractors that I work with only want a hard-copy set of drawings which they can roll out on the hood of their truck.

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i like not being shut out because I'm on a mac. and can share with anyone

That's a good point.

Platform independence.

On the other side this would allow me as an OS X user to switch to other solutions that

aren't currently accessible for me as being Windows only.

But I doubt I would accept any decrease in Workstation Power a native App may have

or even waste some screen estate for a browser address bar. Also the data stays here

as I'm responsible for it anyway.

I am not a programmer, but I would guess that if Vectorworks were to release a 'cloud version', like you're requesting, they would have to start from scratch and rewrite most, if not all, of their existing code.

I would strongly welcome this - but for the desktop platforms.

As I fear that VW will implode after the next 1-2 releases.

With implode I mean that it feels like, the way it is designed, it has reached its

maximum amount of complexity and will come soon to a point where trying to fix one

bug will create n+x new bugs.

I may be completely wrong but watching releases since VW 2014 and currently working

with 2016 feels that way for me.

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would not a cloud version be better than trying to manage a windows version, mac version and also nomad which is an iPad version? does having it in one place mean that all that multi platform management would be gone?

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It would be generally easier for the software developer if it is not multi platform.

If software is organized properly it may work well supporting multiple platforms

and be more than the least of all platforms together. It will need some more extra

work for adapting to each environment though.

Some Software being OS X + Windows from start, now even supports Linux for

a small but increasing user base, so it seems manageable.

I think it is very likely that going to a development in a browser/Java/... based

environment is not a big motivation to support those difficult multi platforms until

the end of time.

If one or other will starve or not will simply depend on what sells and what not.

Browser Based Apps normally mean data in the cloud and renting software,

Not interested in both, I never tried things like Number+Pages in the cloud.

If you need worldwide access to data of one database AND a little security, there

is already sync software and VPN to access your own server.

Your milage may vary ...

I don't want to work on a construction site or in a coffee shop but in a silent office,

therefore I'm pretty happy with my 3D Apps on my immobile Mac Pro, I even prefer

Mouses with cord after all.

I will enjoy every of the last coming few years of Workstations, until there will be

only Tablets or similar available in the future.

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we need to eclipse the industry & just build from the model.

I totally agree.

And I am happy that I am in a position where I can do exactly this.

(Not so true for my clients and less for their clients)

I have generated 2D Drawings in my file by "Viewports", just for fun and to control

or examine my 3D Model. I don't do any 2D drawing at all.

But for the HowTo and the Exchange with other Parties I come to the conclusion

that it is all about IFC for the building industry (or similar for other industries).

It is all about a common file format, not about the software or Tools.


Content Creation Software :

Is individual as the demands are.

But offers a lossless export to the Super Data Format


The Super Format :

Currently IFC.

Contains only Data and Information, no software instructions.

Is supported, organized and developed by ALL parties


"Viewer" Software :

Is also as individual as the demands are.

Will read those Parts of IFC that are individually interesting.


Content Creation Format :

I don't care what File Format the Software uses, as long as it is compact, fast,

reliable, non destructive, secure, lossless, ....

And that I prefer the IFC data way over a instruction based formats like 3DSMax,

or prefer formats that write changes instantly like DGN.

I think that it is better to have an own optimized proprietary File Format for the

software needs than expanding a common Format in functionality, like for example

Bricscad does with designing BIM functions into DWG.

As long as the Software is able to finally export that data in a lossless manner

to the Super Data Format.

A File Format is just temporary container while and suited for working.


The final product instead is the IFC Data/Information Model.


There is no reason why an individual Content Creation Software with own File Format

should not have a fluent continuous export to the Super Format and keep it current

there are spare resources, like VW refreshes Top Plan Viewports with each content

change and could do same for Sections and Elevations, by refreshing just those parts

that really changed.


Same for the Viewer Software, constantly reading content changes.


Like the Content Creation Software is able to "export/translate" its own data to the

Super Format, it should work of course the other way too.

When VW exports a Wall to a IFC_wall, it should be able to reimport a IFC_wall and

recognize it as a Wall again like Archicad seems to do. So that it can be edited/changed

with VW BIM Tools later.

It is up do IFC development to build in some lock/crypto mechanisms to prevent

or restrict modifications to certain Content or Parties.


Content Creation Software needs to deliver ALL Tools to create that BIM content

of interest (here architecture) in a complete and comfortable manner = parametrical

and auto cutting/priority. Including Girders or "virtual" elements like Breakthroughs ....

Tools, File Format and created Content from Software are dependent and influenced

by the final product = IFC

So it might be better, like some people here have already mentioned, that for example a

a Parametrical Stair will not only be a large mesh geometry separated by some classes

only, but things like Treads and Risers being separate Parts/Symbols/Components,

like a wood board or a stone slab, Stringers being cut parts of steel beams/profiles, ...

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I also second the opinion that a web based option would not fly without overcoming some impressive versioning challenges. I know of teams on larger projects will remain on older versions of software for the full life of the project to improve stability and compatibility. Daily updates might work for Google search, but for $100M+ projects that might need object refreshes every day as new code is developed, this is ripe for problems with older objects blowing up as they are updated.

Also, the modern web, for the most part has shown us that we want apps that interface the web, not have to live in a browser.

And on the Mac/PC, the web is way down in the list. Whilst many in these forums may want to live on the bleeding edge, most architects/designers just want their machine to be stable and do what it did yesterday.

Although a way to be able to reliably sync projects between studios via Dropbox would be welcome. :)

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I was listening to the lads on the very fine Archispeak podcast (archispeakpodcast.com), and I think I need to do a double take on what I said regarding VR. Whilst I do think VR has many challenges, I think the versions that are going to be the most compelling are those that use tech we already have, like mobile phones. Also, mobile phones are going to have much better tech in them generally (retina displays, accelerometers, GPS etc.), as they are subsidised by phone plans. This is the one device (almost) everyone will have.

So if Vectorworks could add support to their mobile apps for a headset or two (even Google Cardboard) I think it would be a good start (I am thinking a BIMx type app with stereoscopic). If done well, this would be a great presentation, collaboration and marketing tool for all kinds of industries that Vectorworks could sell into.

See this article for a good view of what is out there...


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ok everyone, just finished a meeting with all parties for the project. bottom line is, (simply put) the contractor wants all the 3d model to download to his surveyor so the surveyor can just point and shoot locations totally bypassing sheets.

also, we spent a good portion of the time marking up pdf sheets. had we had the ability to all just adjust the model AT THE SAME TIME like "onshape" then we could have done that instead of making all these notes of what we need to do later today.

and keep in mind that we are all to upload our stuff on friday to review and integrate so we can be ready for tuesday meetings. this leaves wednesday and thurdsay the only days to get things done

i appreciate all the comments against and understand where you are all coming from but...that is not the future. sorry dudes. no need for rebuttal. it is what it is.

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For language reasons I will not understand everything of what was written.

the contractor wants all the 3d model to download to his surveyor so the surveyor can just point and shoot locations totally bypassing sheets.

Isn't that exactly what BIM/IFC is thought for ?

Everyone is putting his stuff into the IFC Model, in the IFC Viewer someone is

creating linked Annotations with Screenshots/Parts Selection/.... which will be imported

back to the CAD and move you directly to that part in your Model ?

(Or was that shown in a different Software Package ?)

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No problem with sheets being terrible.

Especially if everything is optimized for paper print purposes only which

gets more and more neglected.

But generated 2D representations (Sections/Plans/Elevations) are a useful

tool for architects to check and understand the 3D model.

Of course nothing print and DPI related, should stay vector based.

Edited by zoomer

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it should work like this;

i own a seat of vw (designer)

its would be browser based

i can invite anyone to the model (in real time)

they can make any amount of sheets, sections, plans, render, dim & annotate that they need all for free.


i can invite selected people to be part of the simultaneous modeling world by purchasing ($250 per person) a project seat for them. (i pay it and bill to the job as part of my fee) then we work in a shared 3d/gotomeeting type of world all week with the ability to chat directly with other team members for quick clarifications. compare that to a "once a week 2 hour meeting with much head spinning"

ifc viewers (solibri) do not work in that people cannot make sheets (for those who need such) and you cannot directly model in with a group of people.

future, future, future is now

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Doesn't matter much if everyone has a VW Browser "License" or a Desktop "License".

Or that you pay VW in any other way like per work hour on a model, or project rent, ...

All participants had to get used to and work with Vectorworks for collaboration.

Which could be done on desktops with 2016 group features.

I don't know the features of Solibri.

There are a lot of free IFC Viewers and there are commercial systems that are much

more capable. Like collision control, energy tests, emergency escape route checks ...

and of course such a IFC Software should be able to display any sort of 2D


What I saw for IFC Tools was (Maybe some Allplan related webinar) that someone

examines the model by checking the test routines, zooms to that 3D parts and

made some screenshots, text hints, .... sends it by email,

and it went directly to the person who does the drawing/modeling,

so when he opens the instruction it will direct them to the same perspective in 3D

and select/highlight the problematic parts in his model.

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the vw browser version would not be a direct copy of regular vw:

navigation (3d connexion paramount) and clipped cube would be paramount

materials (shown in clipped cube)

measuring tools (tape measure, 3d dims, story poles etc)

the above user interface would need to be approached the way apple computer would do it. superb look & feel

all objects 2d or 3d (simple extrudes etc) would be automatic ifc (for immediate export for testing in other software) default to ifc proxy for starters.

(then have an ifc person adding data as you model)

leave off legacy stuff

give this software/browser thing a new name

incorporate allplan into the browser

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I think I can see what you are saying.

Generally IFC is for architects and consultant coordination and clash detection, as well as facilities management. I wonder how well it works for surveyors?

Sounds like your client needs access to the clip cube (to generate/view model and sections (similar to BIMx), as well as a way to insert georeferenced survey points (or at least points in space relating to a predefined grid) that speak back to the survey equipment, similar to what Autodesk is advertising.

Well done. You are living close to the metal that is for sure. :)

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call the new browser based software not vectorworks but "spacetime" or similar

have the ability to add time to any object

also have gravity.

keep all of VW 2d drawing features since this is needed for layout and making 3"detail etc

have tools to make symbols dynamic Like one symbol for a fire truck w/ ladder but the ladder can be moved into any position without needed more static symbols.

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Some comments as a long-time (15 years) VW user who is trying to make the transition into working more in 3D, and generating information (in the form of sheets) from a 3D model.

I'm an architect. Mainly small jobs.

Digitalmechanics I have watched many of your youtube videos (and some of your posts here) with much interest. A lot of the issues they bring up are the ones that I see too.

The idea of ending the "tyrany of sheets" is very attractive. For me it's one of the most tedious aspects of the process. All the time spent working out how to most effectively convey the information necessary, and then trying to keep on top of managing it all when changes are made. The concept of having a central 3D model from which one generates plans, sections etc goes some of the way but the idea that one day the contractor builds directly from the model is very appealing (perhaps with a few caveats).

For Vectorworks to have their eye on that as a long term goal certainly makes sense. But from the point of view of a day-to-day user, I'd rather they focussed first on making the 3D modelling capabilities themselves adequate. My feeling is that we are only part way to the point where it's actually feasible to build one 3D model and then generate all the necessary info from that. There are still really, really basic things - like generating a decent floorplan for a roof space, or drawing non-vertical walls, for example - that need workarounds of some kind.

If I need to use workarounds, or add information in 2D, to produce a set of drawings that I can issue for construction there is absolutely no way I'd feel confident handing a 3D model over to a contractor to build from.

To me that should be the priority. Give me a VW which is flexible and sophisticated enough that I can build everything in 3D, so that I know that if I hand that 3D model over to someone else, any information they extract from it is reliable and complete. It feels we are still a long way off that.

Otherwise we find ourselves in a new kind of tyranny - one where we can only design buidings that can be drawn within the limitations of the modelling software. This has been a worry for me for some time - since I first tried a BIM type approach using Archicad many years ago. As soon as you want to introduce a non-standard component everything becomes a headache. It's what's made me stick to drawing in 2D (with 3D modelling in parallel for presentation purposes) up until now. Things have moved on enough that it seems now to make sense to work at least in a hybrid mode.

This is particularly relevant to those of us who design smaller and more bespoke projects - and supposedly we are one of the markets VW targets. Much of my work involves existing buidings and one-off designs. I don't want lots of parametric elements with settings that never quite cover what I need to generate. I want a 3D environment that lets me easily model things directly, and then incorporate into the main model in an intelligent way, so that when I generate a section or plan those things are rendered in a way that doesn't require further input from me to make things intelligible.

Over the past few years (like many) my approach has been to use Sketchup, alongside VW, for 3D visualisation. Sketchup was a brilliant piece of software engineering - it made working in 3D vastly more intuitive and enjoyable. Everyone else has been trying to catch up ever since. The 3D modelling environment in VW has improved quite a bit, but in some ways it still can't match my Sketchup version which is a couple of years old now.

Someone further up the thread mentioned the feeling that VW will soon "implode". I think I know what they mean. This is especially true for the experience of working in 3D. There are so many inconsistencies and too many operations that just aren't intuitive. Viewports within viewports. Dialogue boxes and duplicated tools everywhere. I gather the latest version actually allows you to dock tool pallettes - the fact that this is only being introduced in 2015 says it all, in a way!

So, I think the 3D environment in VW needs to learn to walk before it can run. Focus on making it an environment that is a pleasure to work in rather than a battle. I think it would benefit from a major overhaul, and soon.

I've been seriously considering whether Sketchup Pro would actually be a better tool for me to use. There's a lot of functionality I would lose by ditching VW but if I'm moving to a more 3D-centric workflow, perhaps I don't need it so much. I'd like to streamline my processes but so many aspects of VW seem the opposite of streamlined.

I know many will be very sceptical about the idea that you could produce construction documents from Sketchup (me included). For large scale projects it's no use but for stuff on the scale that I (and I think many other similar VW users) do - it's certainly food for thought, especially when you consider the relative cost of licences. Have a look, for example, at this series of videos:

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Another comment - apologies if I am going a little off topic here, but some might be aware of these products -


Essentially these guys have built applications that aim to replace Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They are competing with long-established packages with vast functionality. They have managed to build something that has *most* of that functionality, but which is (a)more of a pleasure to use and (b)hugely more affordable. By pretty much starting from scratch they can throw out all the clunkiness of applications that have expanded in scope over many generations. And these applications are proving popular with people like me - small scale operations who can decide to move to a new package without worrying about retraining a large workforce, and for whom affordability is important.

I think VW could be in danger of losing previously loyal users in a similar way.

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