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Flawed Attribute Palette/Dialog Interface

The new attribute palette and updated attribute settings dialogs uses a dual pane folder-item interface (similar to favorites and object libraries).


Properly implemented the benefit of a dual pane approach is that it allows for very quick navigation and filtering compared to only one pane that combines folder and item such as the project navigator. This is especially true in cases with a large number of items in the folders and I do actually think that there is a case to be made for having a dual pane approach in the project navigator as well. 


But this is not the case for the current implementation of which the fundamental flaw is the inability to have a list of all attributes and an overview of the structure at the same time.


The current implementation forces us to switch to list view to see all attributes which means loosing the top pane and thus overview of the structure. A crucial negative effect of this is that it isn't possible to simply use drag and drop to reorganize attributes in the structure from a list over all attributes and even worse from a search result.


Instead we have to use right click > move to folder in the attribute palette. But in the attribute dialogs this is not available (why do AC constantly lack consistency?) and instead we have to use right click > show in folder and then drag and drop. This gets worse as show in folder only is available for items in the same folder and as it clears the search.


For a proper implementation the top pane should focus on navigating the folder structure and the bottom pane should focus on content. The top pane is used to select a folder in the structure and the bottom pane is used to view all the attributes under that folder.


So selecting a folder in the top pane should show all of its contained attributes in the bottom pane. 



This makes it possible to get a list of attributes and at the same time see the structure. By selecting the top folder or top type folder we can get a list of all attributes or all attributes of one type. Ability to select multiple folders should be added.


This means that the current list view becomes redundant as it can be done more effectively in the dual pane interface.


The only purpose filled by the current folder view is that it shows folders in the bottom pane when the top pane is fully contracted as it then is the only way to navigate downward in the structure. This is a cumbersome way to navigate and would be better handled by having a list and a tree mode for the bottom pane so when the top pane is fully contracted the bottom panel is more or less the same as the one pane project navigator. 


And I guess that's the bottom line. If the dual pane isn't properly implemented we are better off with a single pane tree structure that combines folder and items, just as we have in the project navigator.




  • It should be possible to open the relevant attribute dialog by right clicking a folder in the attribute pallet's top pane.
  • It should be possible to create a new attribute directly in the attribute palette's bottom pane as can be done in the attribute dialog.

I don't disagree with what you are suggesting, but I do see it slightly different and as ever GS have managed to complicate what should have been a simple upgrade. Someone from GS did ask the right questions early on about what we wanted to see in the individual attribute dialogs. Unfortunately the folder view combined with list pane doesn't really work and should simply have been a hierarchical tree view.


All that was required was the provision of an index list much like the Building Materials setting in AC25 to the left of each dialog for each attribute type and modify that to have folders and sub folders that are expanded & collapsed to reveal contents. There has never been a need for the second pane.


I would add the flat list is still important, especially for building material strength checks and other comparisons.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

A mystery.

It is the year 2022 and Graphisoft does not know how folders work.


It already bugged me with the object library, where it works the same, but you shrug it off and get used to it. But with the attributes it is just plain wrong.

The worst offender is the layers. Instead of more overview, we got less. You really need to "STAY FOCUSED", because otherwise you won't get any work done.

Lucas Becker | AC 27 on Mac | Author of Runxel's Archicad Wiki | Editor at SelfGDL | Developer of the GDL plugin for Sublime Text | My List of AC shortcomings & bugs | I Will Piledrive You If You Mention AI Again |

«Furthermore, I consider that Carth... yearly releases must be destroyed»


No there really wasn't any need to complicate things, especially as there really wasn't any new backbone functionality implemented. A single pane with tree and list modes would suffice. However, I do maintain that there is a real use for a dual pane interface and it is a pity that the implementation is flawed. Just look at what it would do for the project navigator.

Isn't it already implemented? You have the folders to navigate and at the bottom an area for relevant properties/settings. This is why I think the new attribute navigation is wrong. We have the list / folder view, but then you get a second pane even though all the same information & more is already in the settings area? Probably just another example of development by GS without understanding the real workflow. 🙄

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)

It is apparent to me that GS really are confounded regarding both the interface and the management functionality.


The folder/tag and management/organisation issue is discusses elsewhere but lets look at it with focus on interface design.


The new interface is implemented in three different places: the attribute dropdowns, the attribute palette and the attribute dialogs. There are some minor functional differences in the interface but they seem haphazard and does certainly not reflect differences of use in the workflow. 


The drop downs are the shortest way from one element to its attributes. Yet we cannot use the dropdown to quickly access the dialog of the relevant attribute. Nor can we create a new attribute in the dropdown which would be useful if we realise that the wanted attribute is missing or that we need to create a copy. 


Layers are special as they control the visibility, edibility and intersectionality of objects and here we should be able to control the status in the dropdown and perhaps the functionality of the quick layer palette should be added (or the interface should be added to the quick layer panel).


The palette can be docked and thus gives a quickly accessible overview of all attributes in the project. But as it doesn't interact with the model in any meaningful way it becomes redundant as implemented. That we cannot even create a new attribute here is really strange, seeing as it initially was thought of as a manager. For the palette to be useful and thus earn it's screen space it has to facilitate interaction with the model and the obvious way is something similar to the surface painter - making it possible to filter attributes based on selection (somewhat available in dialog, why not in palette?) in model and to inject attributes to model elements. Add a quick find and select.


The dialogs are where there is space to properly define and manage the attributes. How this is best done is not totally obvious due to the different a nature of the attributes, their interdependence and the need to handle import/export. But generally, we should:


- be able to have all settings shown in the list,

- be able to have a horizontal arrengement of the list,

- be able to pick up/inject settings between attributes,

- have a clear indication of when a setting of multiple selected attributes have a varying value.

I see what you mean but that is not the second pane I'm talking about. Such a dual pane for the view map would look like below. The benefit is that it reduces the need for expanding folders/nodes and scrolling through a long list of items. 




Ahh, I see what you mean now & that is a frustration. For me the search field has helped with this, but I would still like the view types to have sub folders so for instance we can clone a sub folder that only shows General sections,  another for more detailed / partial sections, and another for live detail sections etc.

Apple iMac Intel i9 / macOS Sonoma / AC27UKI (most recent builds.. if they work)