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Hide Ports in Duplicated Equipment


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So in my drawings to keep cables clearer, I often will end up with duplicated equipment, meaning multiple blocks on the schematic, with the same Name/ID and refer to a single piece of equipment, but appear multiple times as that is the clearest way to indicate it.  In these cases, I don't always want every port seen on every copy fo the block, for instance if I have inputs 1-6 patched in one area on my schematic, in the second instance of the block I might want to hide Inputs 1-6 so that it is obvious those are not available.  Right now there are two ways I could think of to do this:

 

1. Edit the symbol and delete those ports.  Tested and known to work, but undesirable as it is not easy to undo if I change routing down the line, I have to recreate the port[s] from scratch rather than unhiding them

2. Class the port to a specific class I then make not visible. (Untested, not quite simple and I am guessing might break something with connectcad anyways).

 

Is there any other way to handle this situation or is one of these the best option there is?  In a different unrelated thread that needed something similar it was suggested to take text size to 0.1, which could be another possibility I suppose?

 

       Thomas

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Actually glancing into this further, I noticed the Label Style under advanced customization, could a custom label style be created and then these ports set to use that?  If so where would I look for more information on creating such a style (Likely based off duplicating and modifying the original)?

 

   Thomas

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello @Thomas_,

 

Starting in reverse order:

 

4 hours ago, Thomas_ said:

Actually glancing into this further, I noticed the Label Style under advanced customization, could a custom label style be created and then these ports set to use that?  If so where would I look for more information on creating such a style (Likely based off duplicating and modifying the original)?

 - You cannot add new label styles, but you can edit the existing symbols. However, I do not think that this would be the way to go here, as such changes are applied to all sockets using this symbol.

 

4 hours ago, Thomas_ said:

2. Class the port to a specific class I then make not visible. (Untested, not quite simple and I am guessing might break something with connectcad anyways).

 - I think that this is the best way to go for this. You can have only one class that you use for hidden sockets and put all sockets that you do not want to see in that class. Later on, if you want to see these sockets, simply change their class back to their original class or to another one that you like.

 

Best Regards,

Nikolay Zhelyazkov

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On 7/2/2021 at 2:25 AM, Nikolay Zhelyazkov said:

 - I think that this is the best way to go for this. You can have only one class that you use for hidden sockets and put all sockets that you do not want to see in that class. Later on, if you want to see these sockets, simply change their class back to their original class or to another one that you like.

Ok, I will try this moving forward then, but will I get issues with the 'Check Drawing' command though as the ports still exist at that point?

 

      Thomas

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
3 minutes ago, Thomas_ said:

Ok, I will try this moving forward then, but will I get issues with the 'Check Drawing' command though as the ports still exist at that point?

 

      Thomas

- Yes, Check Drawing will still markup these sockets.

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2 minutes ago, Nikolay Zhelyazkov said:

- Yes, Check Drawing will still markup these sockets.

 

So sadly not a clean solution then.  Is there any way to tell Check Drawing to ignore certain 'errors' like this, or when I have an item with identical NAMEs to represent the exact same piece of equipment more than once on the schematic?

 

      Thomas

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
2 minutes ago, Thomas_ said:

 

So sadly not a clean solution then.  Is there any way to tell Check Drawing to ignore certain 'errors' like this, or when I have an item with identical NAMEs to represent the exact same piece of equipment more than once on the schematic?

 

      Thomas

- The only cases that Check Drawing ignores are the specialized devices. These have one of these prefixes in their names ("CTP_", "VJF_", "AJF_", "OJF_", "DJF_", "VDA", "ADA", "VTP_", "ATP_", "OTP_", "DTP_"). However, all of these except "CTP_" are used only with the specialized tools and it is not expected to use them for regular devices. You can also set check drawing not to check for sockets and devices if you want to or to check the active layer only.

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6 minutes ago, Nikolay Zhelyazkov said:

- The only cases that Check Drawing ignores are the specialized devices. These have one of these prefixes in their names ("CTP_", "VJF_", "AJF_", "OJF_", "DJF_", "VDA", "ADA", "VTP_", "ATP_", "OTP_", "DTP_"). However, all of these except "CTP_" are used only with the specialized tools and it is not expected to use them for regular devices. You can also set check drawing not to check for sockets and devices if you want to or to check the active layer only.

 

Yes sadly not checking sockets/devices would mean losing the functionality for that brought by that tool, one of the strong suits of ConnectCad honestly.  

 

Would be nice down the road to get a little more flexibility out of it then, as it is a great tool, but use cases like the ones I brought up here do tend to break it.

 

        Thomas

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Thomas

 

My 2c worth...

 

I would not use the class system to control whether a socket is enabled for connection or not. Classes get turned on and off for all kinds of reasons.

 

In 20 years you are the first to express the thought that duplicate sockets in duplicate devices might be allowed if we could somehow mark those sockets as disabled. Others may have thought it but they didn't say. It will take a few more votes to persuade me that the current way is wrong. Seems to me we should look at why it feels hard to reconfigure a bunch of sockets in a device.

 

Getting Check Drawing to ignore intentionally duplicated devices while detected accidental duplicates - that could be interesting. So the question in my mind is what if that intention goes away in a subsequent iteration of the design? Suppose we did somehow mark a duplicate as being intentional then how would it get unmarked?

 

We will think about it. Not promising anything. I still like that fact that Check Drawing has no state. Like justice it is blind.

 

Cornad

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1 hour ago, Conrad Preen said:

In 20 years you are the first to express the thought that duplicate sockets in duplicate devices might be allowed if we could somehow mark those sockets as disabled. Others may have thought it but they didn't say. It will take a few more votes to persuade me that the current way is wrong. Seems to me we should look at why it feels hard to reconfigure a bunch of sockets in a device.

Hmm not sure if I am misunderstanding you here, or you me.  What I am really looking for is an easy way to have a single physical device in multiple places on a schematic to help clean the schematic up.  In doing so, removing ports that are in use elsewhere seems like a good idea.  So my ideal is actually be more along the lines of:

 

A command to take a schematic block, and make it two 'linked' blocks.  If a connection is made at one of the two linked blocks, that port is 'disabled/hidden/whatever' on the second block to prevent a second connection being made to the same port, at least on inputs (Splitting cabling on outputs is obviously more normal, and probably easily argued should be allowed though when talking about the possibility of splitting by connecting the outputs across both blocks it is less obvious and could be argued).  Also in the same line of thought, when the drawing is checked, the 'Check Drawing' command as a precursor to actually checking things, might take the two linked blocks and treat them as a single device in terms of ports, to prevent labeling things as duplicated ports that really aren't.

 

To tag along with this, a visual indication of the 'linked' blocks could be provided, and at least one standard I know of for this is explained in the USITT sound graphics guidelines document from 2008: https://www.usitt.org/sites/default/files/2020-01/Sound_Guildelines_2008.pdf   See page 2 where you have two examples of ways a block drawing could be visually modified to show that it is 'linked' to another block elsewhere in the drawing, complete with an optional text descriptor of this as well.

 

1 hour ago, Conrad Preen said:

Getting Check Drawing to ignore intentionally duplicated devices while detected accidental duplicates - that could be interesting. So the question in my mind is what if that intention goes away in a subsequent iteration of the design? Suppose we did somehow mark a duplicate as being intentional then how would it get unmarked?

 

 

This is a tricky subject honestly I agree, and one I haven't given to much thought to, but one possible option would be utilizing classing and telling the Check Drawing command to ignore certain classes.  This could even be defined by regular expression for instance, so that *IGNORE classes are ignored as an example only.  So moving something into an ignored class would tell Check Drawing to ignore that class, and could be broken down by Equipment, Ports/Sockets, Connections, etc. each with their own ignore rules.

 

But again I REALLY have not given that enough thought as it is really secondary to me to the above, but still a possibility to increase the power available to it.

 

    Thomas

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Thomas

 

You can do what you want in ConnectCAD. You can have multiple instances of the same device (i.e. same name) and if you have also duplicate sockets across those devices it's OK. ConnectCAD will simply carry on working. Circuits will collect the data from the sockets and devices at their endpoints and this data will appear in reports. If those reports contain conflicting info (e.g. 2 cables going into one socket) that will be because you designed it that way.


But you can't have your cake and eat it. Meaning that you can't expect Check Drawing to "know" that in some cases sockets are intentionally duplicated and in others not. I don't think it's a good idea to add exceptions to the rules that Check Drawing uses. It only creates ways for things to go wrong.

 

Nothing in ConnectCAD stands in your way as far as I can see. You could probably hide your duplicate sockets using classes to help you avoid unintentional connections.  When you have finalised your design just delete the unused sockets and Check Drawing will make sure you have no issues remaining.

 

Best

 

Conrad

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