An occasional sampling of reader electron-mail, or "keep those waves and particles pouring in, folks!"
Responding to several emails critical of of Autodesk's AEC strategies with Architectural Desktop (ADT) and Revit (RVT), I wrote in IssueThirteen's LLLetters that "I've yet to hear from anyone who's as optimistic as these writers are pessimistic." Herewith, some counterpoint from Michael Gatzke of Ankeny, Iowa:
> "I read your article, "RevitDesk versus AutoRevit" and found it quite interesting and enlightening. I enjoyed it very much. I even forwarded it on to others whom, I knew, would be interested and they found it quite interesting as well. I must say though, that I was not surprised by the negative comments you received because of that article.
"I have been sitting back and watching this Revit vs. ADT debate for a couple of months now. Throughout this time, I have noticed that those opposed to the ADT conversion to the Revit platform are those who have heavily dedicated their resources to ADT. They have dedicated themselves to it—mind, body, and spirit (training, time, and pocketbook). However, because of this dedication, they have been blinded to the original reason for this dedication—the betterment of their firm and the work they do.
"In the end, I would assume, we are all looking for a software application that is easier to learn and use, better suits our needs as architects and designers, reduces the time spent on coordination, and saves us from ourselves by reducing chances of human error. Architectural Desktop has shown its difficulties in most of these areas, and it was for these reasons that Revit was created. In the end, if a package works better, creates better drawings easier and in less time with fewer errors—isn't this our goal?
"The only constant in the CAD world is change. Shouldn't we accept the change—if it is in the name of betterment—and move on? I see no difference between this reasoning to resist Revit and those who resist other changes because "this is how we've always done it." Both of these reasons stand in the way of change simply because it forces us to expend additional energies to break old habits and learn new things.
"In my opinion, Revit is a better platform. I do not care for the drastically increased price, but it is better. Autodesk saw Revit's capabilities and bought the rights to it, because they themselves saw the limitations of their existing software. Let us not be blinded by our own "gray hair" mentality to the detriment of our profession and industry. To those that are considering leaving Autodesk to buy a different package, simply because of the Revit issue, I say good luck and I wish you well. However, be wary of the "grass is always greener" syndrome. You may find, once you are there, that life on the other side of the fence was not as good as it was here. Me? I will be staying with Autodesk and learning Revit because I see it as an amazing package with possibilities far beyond others currently offered to the architectural community and I, for one, am excited for the change."
> Well said, Michael. For the record, I plead guilty to the "gray hair" argument (although I no longer wear it long enough to be blinded by it).
I plead not guilty to being one of those "opposed to... conversion to the Revit platform." My point has been and still is that, great though the technology may be, Revit as an independent company never offered any meaningful migration strategy from any existing tool to Revit, and that Autodesk has not yet done enough to both articulate and implement a clear and clearly viable migration strategy and toolkit from other Autodesk software (especially ADT) to Revit.
Finally, I'll plead nolo contendere on the "how we've always done it" charge. Some of the ways we've always done it—such as dumb and uncoordinated orthogonal drawing views of buildings—are in urgent need of change, change that RVT (among other competitive solutions) can provide. However, other aspects of how we've always done things—such as open and/or reverse-engineered file formats, API's, and various schemata for data interoperability—should not be changed, yet would be changed for the worse, in my opinion, by wholesale adoption of Revit in its present, closed form. It's tough enough to ask architects to change; asking them to change AND lock up their clients' new data in yet another proprietary format makes change that much more difficult to accept.
By the way, Michael Gatzke, although not offering his thoughts above in his official capacity, directs the Architectural Technologies Program at Des Moines Area Community College, which I felt compelled to mention because it is such a well-thought out and well-put together educational example.
We now return to our regularly scheduled Autodesk bashing, already in progress (that's a JOKE, Phil). Harold Thompson of Tulsa, Oklahoma, writes:
> "As someone who has had only minor skirmishes with Auto (I can't believe they have lasted this long with that interface) it would seem that the best way for Autodesk to get on track is to have its users take the next exit. They are riding on their rep and userbase. They could, if the impetus was there, create the next really big step in cad—instead of adding more layers to old technology. I think it's time for them to "Switch" and take a few pointers from Apple. That's just my sentiment (or) .02 cents."
> The irony of Harold's last suggestion is that Apple was for years the poster child of closed systems; many observers attribute Apple's recent resurgence in the market to their long overdue move to less proprietary systems, such as the UNIX variant OSX.
Re Harold's point about the "next really big step in CAD," I suspect the folks at Autodesk would argue they've already taken it—by acquiring RVT as their platform of choice for building information modeling.