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Jim Smith

The Vectorworks Twitch

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Yesterday the file I'm working on turned into Crash-O-Matic. Hours to do about 45 minutes of work. When I've caught up & can get a few hours into a couple of other projects my thought is to reference the into a blank file in hopes of fixing / salvaging what work I've already put into this file.

 

So many crashes that I've developed a twitch. The Vectorworks Twitch is where my thumb & 2nd finger jab at the keyboard every 15 seconds to at least save after really memory intense activities such as joining walls or, zooming in or updating elevations. 

 

so I'm sharing this ear-worm because working in VW 2019 is making me very twitchy

 

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I'm really attempting to be restrained here, but I have spend days on different files that keep just being corrupted in some way shape or form and it is not funny! Today I spent the WHOLE DAY attempting to prepare very simple documents and have nothing to show for my efforts.

Issue today is imported PDF's cannot or will not show up in Viewports when new Viewports are created to display other PDF's. I've tried giving them either different Layers, or Classes or both to no avail. I have several iterations in new containers. This was a one hour exercise in days of yore; today with  no product to show for it, has been a 14 hour day. 

 

This version of VW is THE ...... worst since I started using the programme as Mini Cad 3.

 

I really don't know what to do next, and this is not hyperbole.  I really don't think that what I have on my machine is worth anything. EVERY File has outrageous flaws & errors it does not matter if this is a file made from our Template that's got legacy items on it or if it's a "clean container" new file.

 

To whom do I send my invoice? It won't be insignificant ! 

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An update on this issues:

 

less than an hour & I put together a file in 2018 that took me all day to not do in 2019. Not at all pleased.

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59 minutes ago, Jim Smith said:

To whom do I send my invoice?

 

I've got an invoice in the queue myself. A brief dive by hour office into VW2019 has proven to be catastrophic in time. We are now going through the idiotic and cumbersome process of back-saving all of our converted files...if they even open to begin with.

 

I purposely have not signed up to be a BETA tester because I don't have the time to deal with this nonsense, but regardless, I still feel like a beta tester using the fully released and up-to-date version. Not cool VW.

 

Sick of it!

Edited by ericjhberg
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@Neil Barman Not as of yet. I'm going to try a reinstall this weekend to see if that helps. In the meantime I've got to get stuff out the door so I'm doing everything in VW 2018.

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58 minutes ago, Neil Barman said:

@Jim Smith Have you contacted tech support?

 

Many, many times. I don't have time anymore to spend an hour each time on the phone and get nowhere...

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@Jim Smith OK, but please don't let such things go on long enough to unsettle you. Tech support is there to help.

 

@ericjhberg For sure, spending that long on the phone and getting no immediate solution would be frustrating. If that's what occurring (likely because the issue is either hard to reproduce or track down or actually diagnose accurately on the phone), I would suggest simply emailing in with all the relevant info you can think of, including a link to download the file, if the issue seems to be file-related. That will give the tech support team time to review what you've sent without you having to wait on the phone. If they need more info, they will ask for it. Also, if it's a something you can reproduce on your end, it's often very useful to see a screen recording of it happening... All that takes is you recording the screen while you're working, then saving & sending a link to the video.

 

Believe me, having been a user and customer for many years, and now being part of the team (and working directly with the tech support team regularly,) I can honest say that they are very good at what they do and they care. 

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1 hour ago, ericjhberg said:

 

Many, many times. I don't have time anymore to spend an hour each time on the phone and get nowhere...

 

How do you mean you get nowhere? Has tech support given you any inkling as to what the issue may be?  It's been my experience with the folks at tech support that they will either tell you what you're seeing is absolutely a bug or that there is something wrong with your file or something is amiss on your computer.

 

If it is indeed a bug then clearly it won't be resolved right away until the engineers get to it.  In a lot of cases that is resolved in the next sweep of a SP.

 

Tech support has never gone radio silent on an issue.  

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1 minute ago, Neil Barman said:

I would suggest simply emailing in with all the relevant info you can think of, including a link to download the file, if the issue seems to be file-related. That will give the tech support team time to review what you've sent without you having to wait on the phone. If they need more info, they will ask for it.

 

Been there...done that...4 different times with (1) file. Got nowhere, never heard back, still waiting...

 

Mind you, the issues I am having are not specific, they are systematic. Things like

  • Unable to open file
  • Unable to purge when file is open
  • Unable to save
  • Visibility issues
  • etc....the list goes on and on.

As I mentioned before...if I spent the time it takes to accurately and effectively communicate all of the problems, I wouldn't actually have any time to do billable work. Do I get to invoice VW for my time spent troubleshooting the released software? I didn't sign up to be a BETA tester because I didn't have the time in the first place. Now I am just BETA testing VW2019

 

6 minutes ago, Neil Barman said:

Believe me, having been a user and customer for many years, and now being part of the team (and working directly with the tech support team regularly,) I can honest say that they are very good at what they do and they care. 

 

Me too! I don't disagree at all. Up until VW2019, we have been very successful with the software, but there is something dramatically different about VW2019. I have been a VW evangelist through and through...and I still am. I have presented at the VW Design Summit many times and love all of the staff and the general capabilities of the software. That doesn't mean VW gets a pass for a sliding product.

 

3 minutes ago, rgcn said:

Tech support has never gone radio silent on an issue.  

@rgcnI have been on the phone and spoken to tech support at least (4) different times regarding one issue and on each occasion the problem is "fixed" over the phone to a point that it seems temporarily tolerable, but then rears its head again moments or hours later and I call again...repeat. I have asked for a follow up or suggestions on how to streamline this one particular file, but so far, nothing. Please also understand that I only use this one file as an example. We have experienced troubles on multiple fronts.

 

VW2018 is currently far more stable than VW2019, by leaps and bounds. VW2018 was also difficult when it was first released, but by SP2, it was pretty stable. Not the case so far with VW2019. Internally, we have decided to revert back to VW2018, but for how long?...we still don't know when or if VW2019 will be stable enough to offer its benefits without significant downtime. Should we wait until VW2020 is released to start using VW2019? If so, what are we paying for?

 

What I really don't understand is why things that have worked great for years suddenly stop working or get dramatically worse in performance. It's like reinventing the wheel every time.

 

Trust me, I want to be a part of the solution here and do everything I can to help, not just complain. I have made suggestion after suggestion on this forum, and I understand Rome wasn't built in a day, but at some point, productivity and effectiveness wins the argument, not sentiment.

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45 minutes ago, Neil Barman said:

including a link to download the file,

 

I also want to note something about this...

 

One file is often not enough. Our files are large and contain multiple references to other files, which could also be the source of problems. I still haven't figured out the best way to send an entire project's structure, which can often exceed 5 GB in total space...if not more, much more.

 

It takes time and server/cloud space to transfer this amount of data...and to do it repeatedly is a large undertaking all by itself.

 

We have individual files that top out at 1.5+ GB right now. Without the ability to purge or streamline as mentioned above, we are having a hard time managing or communicating issues.

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@ericjhberg Very well spoken. I feel exactly the same. Thank you for taking the time to write this.

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New versions of VW can be frustrating, I feel your pain. I now follow these self-guided rules which seems to work well for me.

  • If I start a project in a specific VW version, finish it in that version.
  • Don't migrate to a new version of VW until at least SP2 or SP3. Just because a new version has been released doesn't mean I have to jump on the bandwagon immediately.
  • Spend some time to play around with any new version to learn features, see what works or doesn't before taking the leap. I tend to move to a new version about 6 months after the initial release.
  • Every now and then I re-do my templates from scratch.

I'm now on VW2019 and it's been plain sailing so far. Hope your issues get resolved.

 

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Sounds like a site visit from a VW tech-rep might in order. It could be that visiting a practice where these issues arise would be the best use of everyone's time and resources and the lessons learned could be disseminated to the users for immediate implementation and internally @ VW for QA.

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28 minutes ago, ericjhberg said:

@Michael H. Thanks for the advice. I'm glad that these steps generally work for you. We are no stranger to new releases. We have been using VW for about 10 versions now (back to about 2008) and generally have followed the same formula you outlined...with some major exceptions.

 

I have been working on the same project(s) for several years. One in particular has been a constant for almost 5 years now. Unfortunately, the logistics of keeping that project in VW2014 really aren't practical. Too many things have changed, let alone the memory of keeping over 5-6 different versions of the software installed on machines. Additionally, each version offers new features that have the potential to dramatically improve document efficiency (key word...potential).

 

VW2019 is officially on SP2 and has been out for almost 4 months now...not quite up to your standard, but in our experience, previous versions have been much more stable by this point in time. We officially waited until SP2 before jumping in, but that decision is now considered a failed experiment.

 

I function as the primary tester in the office and unfortunately, since many of our projects are so large, there is no way to adequately test functions at scale until jumping in and investing a large amount of time. It is always a risk and this time, the reward was not realized.

 

That is a lot to ask. I get the point, but templates take time and the software should honor that time investment and not REQUIRE you to reinvest. I understand that this is an IDEAL and not practical, but that's what ideals are for, pushing the conversation. The real question is, when? I wish I knew when it was time to re-do a template, but unfortunately VW doesn't tell you...hey, your VW2017 carry over files are really the problem here. Fix those and you'll be fine. You have to find these things out the hard way and at the expense of considerable time and frustration.ice

And, as a sole practitioner, all of what Eric wrote resonates times five at least. There is no one (except me) to update the templates or test new software's readiness, because there are already too many tasks to accomplish.  I read recently in a post by @digitalcarbon that he has someone come in to 'clean' the resource browser on project files. I would kill for that alone, esp after receiving a file from other parties with personalized class and layer structures which have nothing to do with my practice.

 

29 minutes ago, ericjhberg said:

@Michael H. Thanks for the advice. I'm glad that these steps generally work for you. We are no stranger to new releases. We have been using VW for about 10 versions now (back to about 2008) and generally have followed the same formula you outlined...with some major exceptions.

 

I have been working on the same project(s) for several years. One in particular has been a constant for almost 5 years now. Unfortunately, the logistics of keeping that project in VW2014 really aren't practical. Too many things have changed, let alone the memory of keeping over 5-6 different versions of the software installed on machines. Additionally, each version offers new features that have the potential to dramatically improve document efficiency (key word...potential).

 

VW2019 is officially on SP2 and has been out for almost 4 months now...not quite up to your standard, but in our experience, previous versions have been much more stable by this point in time. We officially waited until SP2 before jumping in, but that decision is now considered a failed experiment.

 

I function as the primary tester in the office and unfortunately, since many of our projects are so large, there is no way to adequately test functions at scale until jumping in and investing a large amount of time. It is always a risk and this time, the reward was not realized.

 

That is a lot to ask. I get the point, but templates take time and the software should honor that time investment and not REQUIRE you to reinvest. I understand that this is an IDEAL and not practical, but that's what ideals are for, pushing the conversation. The real question is, when? I wish I knew when it was time to re-do a template, but unfortunately VW doesn't tell you...hey, your VW2017 carry over files are really the problem here. Fix those and you'll be fine. You have to find these things out the hard way and at the expense of considerable time and frustration.

c

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1 hour ago, ericjhberg said:

@Michael H. Thanks for the advice. I'm glad that these steps generally work for you. We are no stranger to new releases. We have been using VW for about 10 versions now (back to about 2008) and generally have followed the same formula you outlined...with some major exceptions.

 

I have been working on the same project(s) for several years. One in particular has been a constant for almost 5 years now. Unfortunately, the logistics of keeping that project in VW2014 really aren't practical. Too many things have changed, let alone the memory of keeping over 5-6 different versions of the software installed on machines. Additionally, each version offers new features that have the potential to dramatically improve document efficiency (key word...potential).

 

VW2019 is officially on SP2 and has been out for almost 4 months now...not quite up to your standard, but in our experience, previous versions have been much more stable by this point in time. We officially waited until SP2 before jumping in, but that decision is now considered a failed experiment.

 

I function as the primary tester in the office and unfortunately, since many of our projects are so large, there is no way to adequately test functions at scale until jumping in and investing a large amount of time. It is always a risk and this time, the reward was not realized.

 

That is a lot to ask. I get the point, but templates take time and the software should honor that time investment and not REQUIRE you to reinvest. I understand that this is an IDEAL and not practical, but that's what ideals are for, pushing the conversation. The real question is, when? I wish I knew when it was time to re-do a template, but unfortunately VW doesn't tell you...hey, your VW2017 carry over files are really the problem here. Fix those and you'll be fine. You have to find these things out the hard way and at the expense of considerable time and frustration.

 

This I can relate to..

 

on the other hand, surley Teamviewer sessions with Vectorworks Tech support would be much faster/cheaper/easier then bug submissions/phone calls/site visits?

I should probably wishlist this..

 

 

 

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I completely sympathise with the comments about feeling like unpaid beta-testers. I'm a sole practitioner too - it's me who has to sort out anything that goes wrong and spend time working out how to get around it (thank goodness for this forum by the way).

 

I am glad that I decided to stop my VSS subscription and not pay for 2019. It sounds like 2019 is a lot worse than 2018, but using what I assume will be the final SP for 2018  the software still fails to deliver on multiple counts of things that have been claimed in marketing stuff over several releases. In most software packages it would be normal to assume that everything in the tool palettes actually works.

 

I think that those of you who are having major issues with 2019 and reverting to 2018 should make a serious requests to your distributors for your money back. Maybe this is the only way to get a message to the people higher up at VW?

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NOTE: None of this is intended as any kind of excuse or reason for delay, I simply wanted to give insight into what's going on and how things look internally:

 

19 hours ago, twk said:

on the other hand, surley Teamviewer sessions with Vectorworks Tech support would be much faster/cheaper/easier then bug submissions/phone calls/site visits?

I should probably wishlist this..

Tech now uses teamviewer daily for exactly this reason, it works excellently. 
 

 

21 hours ago, Michael H. said:

New versions of VW can be frustrating, I feel your pain. I now follow these self-guided rules which seems to work well for me.

  • If I start a project in a specific VW version, finish it in that version.
  • Don't migrate to a new version of VW until at least SP2 or SP3. Just because a new version has been released doesn't mean I have to jump on the bandwagon immediately.
  • Spend some time to play around with any new version to learn features, see what works or doesn't before taking the leap. I tend to move to a new version about 6 months after the initial release.
  • Every now and then I re-do my templates from scratch.

I'm now on VW2019 and it's been plain sailing so far. Hope your issues get resolved.

 

This is an exceedingly good list of practices. My goal is to make many of them a distant memory however 😉
 

1 hour ago, line-weight said:

Maybe this is the only way to get a message to the people higher up at VW?

The message is there, it's just going to take time for the change to get all the way through the pipe. I mean you can certainly do this if you feel it's merited, I don't want anyone paying us for something that doesn't do what they need, but from what I can see that would not make it happen faster.  
 

20 hours ago, bcd said:

Sounds like a site visit from a VW tech-rep might in order. It could be that visiting a practice where these issues arise would be the best use of everyone's time and resources and the lessons learned could be disseminated to the users for immediate implementation and internally @ VW for QA.

We agree, this is something we are doing more and more often, however it wouldn't be the techs that would go normally. Tech support normally handles issues like installation and driver compatibility and configuration and "basic" usage questions, but they don't have the resources to expand into even moderately complex workflows (Project sharing outside of standard advised practices, interoperability with other packages, working with references that rely on other origin systems, etc) so a lot of that falls on what we have here called Product Specialists.

However, these two teams are in completely different departments because they developed independently. We identified this as a problem a ways back and have been working since then to get the two disparate groups more meshed together to develop complex workflows (I use the term "complex" to indicate merely more than explaining wall component heights for instance, its relative.) and create more standardized training content and whitepapers on how we at least EXPECT users to work with the various combinations of tools.

I can not open my mouth about the specific things I want to open my mouth about at the moment, I'm in muzzle mode for a pretty damn cool project coming up, but I wanted to deliver as much of an answer as possible at the present time.
 

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21 hours ago, Michael H. said:

New versions of VW can be frustrating, I feel your pain. I now follow these self-guided rules which seems to work well for me.

  • If I start a project in a specific VW version, finish it in that version.
  • Don't migrate to a new version of VW until at least SP2 or SP3. Just because a new version has been released doesn't mean I have to jump on the bandwagon immediately.
  • Spend some time to play around with any new version to learn features, see what works or doesn't before taking the leap. I tend to move to a new version about 6 months after the initial release.
  • Every now and then I re-do my templates from scratch.

I'm now on VW2019 and it's been plain sailing so far. Hope your issues get resolved.

 

 

And if you're using a Mac, for the love of all things holy, wait until their annual OS sp3 update (and plan for that upgrade cycle when making hardware purchase decisions).

 

In general, I would never expect sp2 of any software to be as stable as sp6, and no one is holding a gun to my head to upgrade. All software/firmware/hardware/automobiles/motorcycles/toothbrushes... have wrinkles to iron out between v1 and v3, so that is to be expected and should be weighed into the decision to upgrade. The decision to upgrade is always a choice, especially when choosing to take the leap for a team.

 

If there's room for improvement on VW end, it's pushing out that sp3 update sooner than March every year. Another solution would be more "point" updates like we're seeing with the 2019 release, especially now that the updater is built into the app itself (vs a standalone installer). Rather than letting the perfect get in the way of the good, it would be nice to see a 2.2 release in January, 2.3 in February... and so on, patching fixes quicker than a 5-month gap in between sp2 and sp3. I'm also being very careful to tip toe around the trap of "put more engineers on this thing" because that is not my intention at all. Just looking for solutions to these pain points.

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44 minutes ago, Mark Aceto said:

 

All software/firmware/hardware/automobiles/motorcycles/toothbrushes... have wrinkles to iron out between v1 and v3, so that is to be expected

 

I think there'll be a fair few people reading this who feel that losing hours or days of productive working time sorting out the mess that unstable software can produce isn't something they'd describe as a "wrinkle".

 

If it's 'to be expected' that early SPs won't work properly, then they should be released as public betas or 'release candidates'.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle

 

It's fairly standard stuff. Some people like to get in early and take the risk of encountering bugs. Some people can't afford the risk and prefer to wait until they know things are stable. How are people supposed to know that it's not safe until SP2 or SP3? Is this stated in VW marketing material?

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1 hour ago, line-weight said:

 

I think there'll be a fair few people reading this who feel that losing hours or days of productive working time sorting out the mess that unstable software can produce isn't something they'd describe as a "wrinkle".

 

If it's 'to be expected' that early SPs won't work properly, then they should be released as public betas or 'release candidates'.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle

 

It's fairly standard stuff. Some people like to get in early and take the risk of encountering bugs. Some people can't afford the risk and prefer to wait until they know things are stable. How are people supposed to know that it's not safe until SP2 or SP3? Is this stated in VW marketing material?

Ok, Since when has V1 software assumed the mantle of acceptable beta software, released to the public? V1 in my book means ready for business (otherwise why release something which is not ready?) V0.9, maybe not so much. V2 and greater? I find it unacceptable that v2 crashes, is stilled filled to the brim with bugs old and new. Just not cool.

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5 hours ago, line-weight said:

How are people supposed to know that it's not safe until SP2 or SP3? Is this stated in VW marketing material?

 

AND

 

4 hours ago, mjm said:

Ok, Since when has V1 software assumed the mantle of acceptable beta software, released to the public? V1 in my book means ready for business

 

YES AND YES!

 

Since when was it acceptable for users, purchasing the software, to become unwilling Beta testers? If I wanted to be a Beta tester, I would be. I want/need software that I know is going to work when I need it to work.

Edited by ericjhberg
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We did not quickly upgrade to VW 2019 because the software is too young and the timing of the MacOS update-

Anyone who does is clearly taking a risk - 

It is totally understandable that everyone wants to newest and best thinking VW has to offer -

 

If a significant group of faithful users do not take the bait of a shiny new VW release and wait for at least SP2 release, I would assume VW would change their ways- they will see the metrics -

 

We are enjoying VW 2019 for 2 months now and have yet to upgrade to Mojave-

We upgraded to VW2019 because of many new features - data tags are the best thing ever-

 

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@digitalcarbon Sounds amazing. so how come so many simple things never ever get fixed? I keep a log now of my bug submissions. It's sadly 2 years old and I'm still waiting. Unless I ask it disappears into the ether and my day to day business takes priority and I forget. I love my software, but I have a business to run. Most of our projects/workflow rely on a consistency tenure of 2 years, we have to work with what we've got,  so we can't just drop everything and work to a new standard/way we were not expecting to unless it actually works.  So frustrating.   We always upgrade but never before SP1. The bugs I have identified are big bugs which are preventing the software delivering simple things and what it says it should do.  We have a right to say this because we are not beta testers we are software pioneers: we actually want it to deliver. This is what I have wanted to say for some time.

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