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markdd

Plug-in or Parametric Object

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I've noticed over the years Vectorworks uses the terms Parametric and Plug-in  interchangeably. Is anybody able to help me make the distinction? This is further confused by the use of Plug-in Style

 

My leaning is towards calling every tool that creates geometry based on parameters set by the user as Parametric. However, I keep seeing tools that do just that being referred to as Plug-ins!

 

Any help with clarification would be really helpful.

 

Many thanks

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Posted (edited)

A Parametric object is a VW object of type 86 (constant kParametricNode in C++).

 

As for "plug-in", I would say anything that is in the folder Plug-Ins, to add functionality in VW.

 

A tool, especially a third-party one, is probably going to have parametric object associated to it, but it does not need too. (E.g. you could have a tool creating a polygon.)

 

A parametric object alone cannot be placed in a VW document, you need a tool, a menu (or a call by a script or other code). 

Edited by Nicolas Goutte

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I would see even many 2D Objects like Lines and Rectangles as parametric.

As you can all time edit them in OIP numerically.

Or Extrudes, Solid Additions/Subtractions, ...  by OIP and Edit Mode.

 

AFAIK

PIOs (PlugIn Objects) are more complex Objects like VW's Doors, Windows, Walls, ...

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Posted (edited)

There is also the term PIO, which is mostly used in the sense Parametric Object

Edited by Nicolas Goutte

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4 minutes ago, zoomer said:

I would see even many 2D Objects like Lines and Rectangles as parametric.

[...]

Or Extrudes, Solid Additions/Subtractions, ...  by OIP and Edit Mode.

 

Internally in VW, all those are not Parametric objects, as they have other object types.

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So the parametric comes from the Tool, not the Object.

 

Or do I use the term parametric wrong ?

For me as a user a VW Rectangle is parametric because I can

change its parameters like Length and Width.

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, zoomer said:

So the parametric comes from the Tool, not the Object.

 

No, it is the object which is Parametric. The tool is just a tool to be able to place it into the document. (Sorry, for the recursive definition. 😃)

 

Quote

 

Or do I use the term parametric wrong ?

 

My definition comes from the internal object types.

 

Quote

For me as a user a VW Rectangle is parametric because I can

change its parameters like Length and Width.

 

Sure that would be another point of view. That is probably why it is not easy for somebody not knowing object types to see a difference.

 

However seen that way, every object of VW has a OIP where something can be changed (be it its position). (That is probably the definition of a PIO.)

Edited by Nicolas Goutte

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for your responses.

 

Can I summarise so far by saying that:  

  1. Tools in the Basic Tool Palette such as Line, Rectangle, Circle, Polyline, Polygon etc..... are tools that create Parametric objects.
  2. Tools like the Door, Window, and Wall tool are Plug-in tools that use the parametric tools (above) to create their respective Door, Window and Wall Plug-in objects.

If that is the case, then what is the role of a PIO (which I have to confess I always thought was short for Plug-in Object)?

 

Mark

 

Edited by markdd

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, markdd said:

Thanks for your responses.

 

Can I summarise so far by saying that:  

  1. Tools in the Basic Tool Palette such as Line, Rectangle, Circle, Polyline, Polygon etc..... are tools that create Parametric objects.

 

For me, they are not parametric, as they have other object types. (And they are no Plug-Ins either, as there are defined in VW itself, as far as I know.

 

Quote
  1. Tools like the Door, Window, and Wall tool are Plug-in tools that use the parametric tools (above) to create their respective Door, Window and Wall Plug-in objects.

 

Wall is very internal in VW too, so it is not a Plug-In. Also it has a separate object type too.

 

However Door and Window are parametric objects and Plug-Ins.

 

Quote

If that is the case, then what is the role of a PIO (which I have to confess I always thought was short for Plug-in Object)?

 

I would say anything that is an object which is defined as Plug-Ins. Thinking about it, I think you cannot defined any other type of object that a parametric in a plug-in (alternatively you can define a menu, a tool or library code). So at the end a PIO is probably the same as a Parametric object (unlike what I have written in the meantime).

 

Edited by Nicolas Goutte

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Thanks Nicolas 

I am no nearer a resolution to this! I think I am probably trying to be too reductive and that the issue is more complex than I thought. 

 

Mark

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Posted (edited)

You could define it in another way (a bit simplified perhaps):

- a plug-in is something listed in the Plug-In Manager

- an object listed there is parametric.

Edited by Nicolas Goutte

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OK.

 

There are essentially two types of object in the plug-in manager. Tools (and menu commands) and Objects.

 

The Tool that makes the object is a Plug-in. The Object that is made by the tool is a Parametric Object.......

 

Am I getting closer?!

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9 minutes ago, markdd said:

OK.

 

There are essentially two types of object in the plug-in manager. Tools (and menu commands) and Objects.

 

The Tool that makes the object is a Plug-in. The Object that is made by the tool is a Parametric Object.......

 

Am I getting closer?!

 

Yes, I think you are getting closer.

 

However an object would be a Plug-in too. You can see Plug-ins as something that tells VW: "Here are some extensions: this tool ATool, this object A, this menu B, this code library C". Normally a file containing code file, especially from C++, defines more that one "thing" (that is my naming).

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Ok!

 

Can you give me a few examples of an object that is a Plug-in object and an object that is just parametric? That might help my understanding a bit better....

 

Thanks for this btw!

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4 minutes ago, markdd said:

Ok!

 

Can you give me a few examples of an object that is a Plug-in object and an object that is just parametric? That might help my understanding a bit better....

 

As written above, I do not think you can define an object in a Plug-In that is not a Parametric object.

 

Otherwise a Parametric object that would not be a Plug-In would be needed to be defined in VW itself. I am not sure if there is any. (If it is defined in VW, it could have its own object type.)

 

4 minutes ago, markdd said:

 

Thanks for this btw!

 

Thanks too. This thread makes a few things clear for me too, that were not so clear before.

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OK. Let me take a crack at this:  ;-)

 

Parametric means any object that allows the user to change a setting (normally in the object info palette) and change something about that object. Using this definition, basically everything in VW is parametric. Line, rectangles, polys, circles, doors, windows, walls, spaces, extrudes, nurbs, etc.). The more common understanding is that Parametric normally applies to higher level objects, things like doors and windows rather than simpler objects like lines and rectangles.

 

Plug-In means something that is not part of the basic code of Vectorworks. Lines, polys, extrudes (etc.) are all basic objects that are a base part of VW. Plug-Ins take these base object (and other plug-ins) and make them into unified "higher" level objects. Again, something likes Doors and windows, or even simpler object like drawing labels or call outs are Plug-Ins as they are not part of the base VW software but functionality that is added by additional code. Plug-ins can be written by VW. Or by distributors. Or by any third party. Or even by an end user who wants something specific to their needs.

 

You can see all of the things that are Plug-ins by going to Tools:Plug-ins:Plug-in Manger. There are three tabs, Built-in Plugins (created by VW and shipped as a base part of the program), Third Party Plug-ins (developed by someone and added to your system. Things like Reshaper and InteriorCAD, the Landru version of the Entertainment tools, or Sam Jones AutoPlot Tools for Spotlight would all end up here). Finally, there is Custom Plug-ins for items you have created locally.

 

There are multiple types of Plug-Ins, but the main three are Plug-in Objects, Plug-in Tools, and Plug-in Commands. Plug-in Tools existing in a Tool Palette after you have added them to your workspace. Normally a Plug-in Tool allow for user input, typically with the mouse to get the size of an object and then uses that information to generate an appropriate Plug-in Object. Think about the cabinet tool. You use the tool to draw a rectangle the appropriate size and then a cabinet of that size if created.

 

Plug-in Commands are menu commands that you add to your workspace. These can do almost anything, but are intended to either create objects that don't require user input into the drawing or that modify existing (normally selected) objects. Most of the Export functions (DXF/DWG, OBJ, Publish) and most of the other menu commands are Plug-in Commands. They often open a dialog box for user input, but don't require explicit placement on the drawing.

 

Finally are Plug-in Objects. To me, the abbreviation PIO actually only applies to Plug-in Objects, but it is often used more generically to mean any type of Plug-in. A Plug-in object is effectively a script that will draw some object at a specific location in the drawing. Most Plug-in Objects are also Parametric Objects, but you can also generate a Plug-in Object that will make an object that does not have any parameters (unless you consider the location to be a parameter)

 

At the lowest level, VW is a framework that can be used to build more complicated objects. These objects are called Plug-ins. There are Plug-in Objects, Plug-in Tools (normally used for creating Plug-in Objects), and Plug-in Commands. Normally Plug-in Objects are also Parametric Objects, meaning that something about the object can be changed (normally in the OIP) and the object in the drawing will be modified to reflect that change. PIO is an abbreviation meaning Plug-in Object, but is used more generically to mean any type of Plug-in.

 

HTH.

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Pat. This is terrific. Thank you .

 

Your concise essay should now definitely be part of the help files. 
 

If “Parametric” refers to any object that can be changed in the Object Information Palette, then a Group and a non-scalable Symbol are about the only objects that I can think of (off the top of my head) that are non-parametric and non-Plug-in?

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It is really the difference between the dictionary definition (a Parametric Object is anything that can be changed by a parameter) versus the colloquial definition (a Parametric Object is an object that more than just the size can be changed by a parameter).

 

Let's not go to Groups and Symbols because then I have to go into the entire Container Object discussion, which will devolve into the nested class visibilities discussion, which will devolve into Document Visibilities versus Viewport Visibilities which will devolve into ...) ;-)

 

But you are correct that are not many things in VW that are not dictionary definition Parametric.

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I’ve been contributing to this forum long enough to know what rabbit hole that could turn into!! 
 

Thanks again Pat.

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