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willofmaine

Data Tags & Window Symbols

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Can Data Tags be used to display the ID Tag info for window objects that are within symbols??...  And if so, how?  Thanks!

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I hope I am wrong, but I don't think there is a way to use a Data Tag to get information on the objects inside a symbol unless you place the Data Tag inside the symbol also. And that will lose the ability for it to increment.

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Too bad.  More and more I'm resigned to having instances of PIO Windows and especially PIO Doors that sit on their own in coincident openings created with symbols that contain the trim, etc (anything more complicated than simple flat trim, such as casings made with molding profiles).  It would be great if PIO objects inside symbols could have data that varies from one symbol to the next (the ability to "increment" as you mention), much like instances of the same symbol can display different text based on an attached Record Format.  I've never been able to figure out a way to combine both that ability of symbols with the ability of door and window schedules to automatically report on the sizes of those PIOs.  But thank you for your response!

 

 

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Yes, it would be nice to have a Contained In option for data tags so that it would look to see if the appropriate type of object was inside the container object.

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Will, I take it that the user-defined data fields in window and door symbols do not do the job for you?

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I'm not sure I'm following you... if I make a symbol out of a door or window, even the user-defined data fields for those PIOs would need to be the same for each and every instance of any one symbol they're contained in, right?

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Posted (edited)

I don't know, maybe that's the case if you are using a single PIO instance to create multiple symbol instances.  Pat?

 

Have you thought about using the user-defined fields in the PIOs you use to create your openings?

 

In the end, the best solution would be to have better PIOs so we don't have to resort to a workaround!

Edited by P Retondo

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To clarify, and rereading your post maybe your practice differs from mine - I frequently use a door PIO in "Opening" mode, which creates the opening in a wall, and place a coincident symbol composed of 3d objects in it.  I've never used the opening PIO to convey data, but I suppose it could, depending on what you want to do.

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Too many ways to go on this. Some may be due to long time users not (yet) adopting to new ways. Some due to conflicting best practices.

 

Historically, the way to use objects that are identical in a file has been to use Symbols. This is probably still a best practice because it lets you easily change all of the objects at once.

 

Then Plug-in Objects (PIOs) were added and there needed to be a way to store them as resources to share between files. So "Red" and "Blue" symbols were created. If a symbol contains a single PIO it can be set to convert back to a PIO when it is inserted in the drawing (instead of a symbol) and its name in the Resource Manager (RM) will be shown in Red. Blue is similar but will convert non-PIO objects (or multiple objects) into a group when inserted in the drawing.

 

And then along came PIO Styles. So you can more easily make MOST of a PIO the same, but still allow you to change some parts (like height and width) while keeping others  (like operation, trim, etc.). So by changing the Style you can change all of the objects in the drawing that use that style.

 

So, how "SHOULD" you use VW now to put Doors and Windows into a project? Create symbols of the objects that should be identical and insert them as symbols? But then you can't use data tags to extract the information from objects inside the symbol (at least currently).

 

Or should you use straight PIOs (or Red symbols that insert as PIOs). Then you can use Data Tags, but you have to select all of the PIOs that are supposed to be identical if you want to change them all at the same time.

 

Or should you use straight PIOs couples with PIO Styles. That way you can set the Style to only have a few fields that are not part of the style so you can change all of the others at one time.

 

There is not "RIGHT" answer. It depends on what you need and what type of project you are working on. The answer will probably be very different for the remodel of a 1500 sq. ft. private residence than for the new construction of a 300 room hotel.

 

The biggest benefit and the biggest downfall of VW is the extreme amount of customization and the many different ways there are to accomplish almost any task.

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1 hour ago, Pat Stanford said:

The biggest benefit and the biggest downfall of VW is the extreme amount of customization and the many different ways there are to accomplish almost any task.

 

I can't even count the number of times I've said something to this effect while teaching. Well put 🙂

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I always thought the main difference between a symbol and a PIO, besides that a symbol allows multiple instances to be edited at once as Pat says, is that a PIO is a parametric object - one that will automatically generate geometry based on user input.  Different animals, it seems to me.  And from my point of view, the greatest weakness is that the door and window PIOs, among others, do not actually do what designers want them to do and have longstanding faults that have never been fixed.

 

I wonder, Will, what exactly are you trying to do with the Data Tag idea?

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Yes, PIOs and Symbols are two different animals. It would just be nice to be able to get the two animals to play nice with the third animal.

 

Put a PIO (that is good enough for some users) inside a Symbol (not a Red symbol) so when you have to make a change you really only have to do it in one place. But then to be able to use a Data Tag to number the doors (for example) even if they are inside a symbol instead of only being able to tag the ones on the design layer as individual PIOs.

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@Pat Stanford 

I think that's a great overview, Pat.  There used to be a third party utility called "Info Editor", which I have used for years and still use, even though some of the code is now out of date.  It allows me to make global changes in PIOs and to almost any object (of a legacy type now) that contains data fields.  Vectorworks really needs to bring that in as a tool, and update it so that parametric objects can be edited with a power similar to the use of symbols.  The fact that symbols can contain record links that allow individual instances to be uniquely edited is another crossover feature.  Seems like the ID tag and similar sorts of data features could be treated the same way with limited modification of the code, like you are suggesting.

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Holy cow, "Info Editor"!!  I remember that from way back before worksheets allowed two-way editing...  It currently adds functionality that can't be achieved with worksheets??

 

@P Retondo What generated my OP is that I had both floors for a house turned on in a viewport (to display grayed-out First Floor geometry), but that included the window ID tags for the First Floor, which I didn't want to see on the Second Floor plan.  So, I was hoping that with the Data Tag I could turn off the class for ID tags and then just identify the Second Floor windows only.  But... my window PIOs are in symbols...

 

You said "from my point of view, the greatest weakness is that the door and window PIOs, among others, do not actually do what designers want them to do and have longstanding faults that have never been fixed."  Yep, definitely.  Though, even if VW PIOs were a semi-reasonable representation of real-world windows & doors, there'd still be times one would need to have more control than a PIO can offer.  (I think with PIOs it's a real challenge to balance their complexity with their capability; the two stair tools seem to especially exemplify this struggle.)  

 

 

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On 8/12/2020 at 1:30 PM, P Retondo said:

I frequently use a door PIO in "Opening" mode, which creates the opening in a wall, and place a coincident symbol composed of 3d objects in it.

 

Any particular reason not to just use the "3D Wall Hole Component" of your coincident symbols to create the openings in your walls?  Especially if you're not grabbing data from the PIO opening?

 

On 8/12/2020 at 1:30 PM, P Retondo said:

I've never used the opening PIO to convey data, but I suppose it could, depending on what you want to do.

 

Really, one of the main things I want from PIOs is the ability to automatically report their sizes in schedules.  Pretty much the rest of the information can be handled (and some of it is more easily handled...) using Record Formats.  I've been known to just use symbols only for doors and windows, but it gets tedious having to always make sure that the physical size of the door or window and the size in its Record Format match.  It also gets tedious creating door symbols for what can be a lot of different wall thicknesses (in commercial construction).

 

Wouldn't it be GREAT if PIOs in symbols were capable not only of having unique data associated with them, with an ability for Data Tags to grab that info but, also, additionally, an ability to parametrically respond to wall thickness - all from one symbol definition?!?  (Sorry, I'm not simplifying this conversation about Symbols, PIOs and Styles with that one!...). 

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Posted (edited)

@willofmaine 

Yep, except for the fact that mapping to various PIO fields is starting to fail, InfoEditor is faster.  I copy my old InfoEditor files to the PIO folder.

 

I agree with all your points.  And I've done this for your particular situation:  instead of having both layers in the same viewport, have 2 viewports superimposed and turn off the ID tag class for the background.

 

My longstanding suggestion for the stairs PIO - because we usually do this anyway - is let us generate a stairs from a set of 2d polygons as the parameter input.

 

Posts crossing over:  I just use the door or window opening option because it's convenient and parametric.  No particularly compelling reason.  On unique data derived from a PIO instance wrapped in a symbol, I can see the complexity of getting the code right, but it would be fantastic.

Edited by P Retondo

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On 8/12/2020 at 11:00 PM, Pat Stanford said:

Too many ways to go on this. Some may be due to long time users not (yet) adopting to new ways. Some due to conflicting best practices.

 

Historically, the way to use objects that are identical in a file has been to use Symbols. This is probably still a best practice because it lets you easily change all of the objects at once.

 

Then Plug-in Objects (PIOs) were added and there needed to be a way to store them as resources to share between files. So "Red" and "Blue" symbols were created. If a symbol contains a single PIO it can be set to convert back to a PIO when it is inserted in the drawing (instead of a symbol) and its name in the Resource Manager (RM) will be shown in Red. Blue is similar but will convert non-PIO objects (or multiple objects) into a group when inserted in the drawing.

 

And then along came PIO Styles. So you can more easily make MOST of a PIO the same, but still allow you to change some parts (like height and width) while keeping others  (like operation, trim, etc.). So by changing the Style you can change all of the objects in the drawing that use that style.

 

So, how "SHOULD" you use VW now to put Doors and Windows into a project? Create symbols of the objects that should be identical and insert them as symbols? But then you can't use data tags to extract the information from objects inside the symbol (at least currently).

 

Or should you use straight PIOs (or Red symbols that insert as PIOs). Then you can use Data Tags, but you have to select all of the PIOs that are supposed to be identical if you want to change them all at the same time.

 

Or should you use straight PIOs couples with PIO Styles. That way you can set the Style to only have a few fields that are not part of the style so you can change all of the others at one time.

 

There is not "RIGHT" answer. It depends on what you need and what type of project you are working on. The answer will probably be very different for the remodel of a 1500 sq. ft. private residence than for the new construction of a 300 room hotel.

 

Excellent synopsis!!!

 

My understanding is that another benefit of symbols, along with global control, is file-efficiency / reduced file size & memory requirements.  I'm wondering if that also applies to PIOs?  If I have ten windows, all of which are entirely the same except that they are different sizes, do they share the same root PIO info, such that only their size is remembered for each individual instance?  Because accessing PIO Settings tends to be slow, it seems PIOs may not be so efficient?  I tend toward symbols, including symbols of PIOs, when I can.

 

Symbols and PIOs are different animals for sure, and together they can be a powerful combination.  If I'm doing that 300 room hotel and I have 30 instances of each of those ten different windows, I can globally change the trim for all 300 windows using the PIO Style, or, I can globally change the size of all 30 Type-A windows using its Symbol.  PIO Styles are great... one of the main reasons I'm not still using VW 2016 (which I think was the last version before the introduction of the endlessly problematic VGM and its always mutually-exclusive Navigation Graphics choices... but I digress...).

 

Anyway, great run-through of Symbols, PIOs & Styles!

 

 

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On 8/12/2020 at 11:00 PM, Pat Stanford said:

The biggest benefit and the biggest downfall of VW is the extreme amount of customization and the many different ways there are to accomplish almost any task.

 

On 8/13/2020 at 12:02 AM, Andy Broomell said:

I can't even count the number of times I've said something to this effect while teaching. Well put 🙂

 

Yes, I've been known to say "The beauty of Vectorworks is that you can do pretty much anything you want to.  And the struggle with Vectorworks is that, well, you can do pretty much anything you want to."

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1 hour ago, P Retondo said:

Yep, except for the fact that mapping to various PIO fields is starting to fail, InfoEditor is faster.  I copy my old InfoEditor files to the PIO folder.

 

Wow, it looks like I still have Info Editor hanging around.  Never would've guessed it still works with 2020!  Maybe I'll check it out.

 

Yep, I guess I could stack the viewports - I've certainly done it before - though I do like to avoid it if I can.

 

Yes!  Stairs, doors, windows... wouldn't it be great if all of these could use 2D profiles for a lot of their components??  Maybe soon after we can use 2D symbols for EAPs (which I guess gives us a sense of the likely time frame for this... ... ...).

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