Following discussions in the Archicad Future, 27 Poll thread, I have created a document to collate our collective views on features and changes we would like to see implemented in Archicad.
It will act as a central resource for all Archicad user wishlist items which are not specific to any particular Archicad release.
We can discuss potential items to add, with their advantages and disadvantages, and we can explain the reason for the inclusion of each item on the list.
Periodically we can create surveys and collect votes for features. This will allow us to prioritise items.
Graphisoft are under no compulsion to implement anything, but it can act as a conduit between the GS team, who are not practising architects working exclusively on producing architectural design and documentation for construction.
As Barry has suggested, there are workarounds that can solve the specific example I gave, though as is the way with workarounds, they complicate what what is currently a simple situation. In the past, Graphisoft has often made changes that make different tools and settings behave in a consistent way, and this seemed to me to be a case where doing that would be helpful. Calculation Units is found in Project Preferences, immediately under Dimensions. The dimension dialog provides the capacity to set up different standards for use in different views - Graphisoft understands this is essential for correct display of dimensions in different circumstances, and that that a global setting would be an unacceptable limitation. But whenever a dimension is affected by calculation units (in custom labels or schedules, for example), that functionality disappears, because Calculations Units is global and does not allow for different settings in different circumstances. Although my specific example might be not be worth fixing, the general principle of consistency of functionality and user-interface is in keeping with Graphisoft's overall development.
Yes - but that's the point of these discussions around wishlist items.
Bear in mind that every trivial change has non-trivial implications.
User interface changes, tutorials and help/reference documentation - and all in multiple languages.
You haven't explained why your feature would be useful to the wider community.
I've been involved in commercial software development before, and dev teams simply can't address individual requets unless there is a clear benefit to most users.
I had a simple request (rotate 90 degrees) with a keystroke that I got used to from Vectorworks. Zero UI changes required, but noticeable productivity benefits for every single AC user with a really trivial amount of programming effort.
With a developer hat on - those sorts of things are 'low hanging fruit'. Your request is a lot more involved for (from what I can tell) is an awful lot more effort.
Barry's suggestions were useful, because he showed a potential alternative solution - modifying the object.
If you can again present compelling benefits to your individual request, we can add it to the suggestions for the door/window objects, there are a number of those on the list.
There are almost always solutions available for problems that exist. If the fact that a problem can be solved, rather than solved easily and efficiently, is enough to disqualify a request from this list, then fair enough, there's no case to be made. I understand your point about prioritizing requests that have both the greatest impact to the most users and are easiest to implement - even if I have some doubts about the idea that any of us really know what all other users might find useful, or what Graphisoft might find easy. Moreover, I've lived through a lot of Archicad versions and found both that many improvements are totally irrelevant to the work I do, and also that some improvements which at first seemed worthless turn out to be valuable when I take some time to work with them and to adjust my methods to take advantage of them.
Fwiw, it does seem that you have misunderstood my suggestion - it's not something that should be added to suggestions for door/window objects, it's about the principle of being able to maintain the integrity of dimensioning units. Calculation units are integrated with dimensions, but because they are global they corrupt the capacity of dimensioning units to be displayed in whatever is the most appropriate choice in a given circumstance - which is already recognized by Graphisoft as an essential function. I would like to be able to choose the appropriate calculation unit just as I'm able to choose the correct dimensioning unit. That's consistent with Graphisoft's clear desire to standardize the format and settings for different parts of the program, so that it gradually becomes more intuitive and easier to use. You may well be right that only a few users have encountered my issue as a problem, or at least that most people have no problem with living with the various workarounds or compromises that could solve the problem. And sure, it might be difficult to implement, but I don't think it's helpful in a list of suggestions for improvements for me to self-censor according to what I imagine Graphisoft thinks is worth working on.
I do understand your frustration about functions being added that we can't see the purpose for.
I don't know if this is because functions are not implemented based on user feedback, but on some abstract perception of what a development team thinks we need, or it's what the beta testing users/process become involved in.
I accept that there is possibly a much bigger issue at the heart of your request, and that your current issue with door dimensions is a manifestation of this. However what you haven't done, is presented a coherent and compelling argument identifying the problem, and the solution.
I don't mean this as a criticism. We all tend to have things in our heads that we understand that we sometimes struggle to articulate clearly enough so that other people fully understand it!
If you can describe the issues in more detail with clarity, we can add them to the wishlist and we have the best chance of getting them implemented.
There is no guarantee at all that any of the wishlist will be even acknowledged, but I personally think the way we go about it can increase our chances significantly.
Understanding how development works (effort = reward is the golden rule) I think also improves our chances.
Arguably the process I'm trying to follow (drilling down into feature requests to establish broad appeal, ease of implementation and overall value) will help to eliminate the precise situation that you described at the outset, where we get features we don't feel anyone asked for, and won't use.
I'm not frustrated by features that I don't need being added: I understand that's a function of the fact that Archicad has a broad user-base of professionals working in very different contexts. I was just trying to make the point that it's not easy for any of us to appreciate what might be important to someone else.
I don't have an issue with door dimensions. I have an issue with being forced to use either m or mm in all circumstances (or to have to complicate my workflow to solve that issue). It seems to me self-evident and obvious that's not desirable - the case to be made isn't "is this a problem", it's "are the current workarounds acceptable". That's a matter of opinion. I'd prefer an environment where I could specify the units I want a formula or a schedule to output, the same as I do when I dimension something. Even if I don't change that very often, it's essential that I can do so when I need to. As Barry pointed out - which I greatly appreciate! - there are ways to fix the problem. Does that mean there's no scope to improve the current situation? I think what I'm suggesting would be a better than the difficulty and time it takes to implement the current solutions, but I'm in no position to make a case for actually quantifying that benefit. You seem fairly convinced it wouldn't be worth Graphisoft's trouble. That's fair. I think it would be a sensible addition. It's not going to revolutionize anyone's workflow, but it would be nice.
I do appreciate you want to create a list that is properly curated and therefore actually valuable to Graphisoft. They are not the most responsive software company and throwing an endless list of niggles and suggestions for minor tweaks is not the way to change that. So I respect your push-back. But I also think it's difficult for any of us to fully appreciate what is most valuable to other users, and I think it's fraught to try to do Graphisoft's work of assessing effort/reward for them. But I don't have a stronger case to make than I have already outlined, so happy to leave it at that.