RANT: Is 2006 ready for the big time yet?

Is 2006 ready for the big time yet?
No, not for me it isn't. Case in point. I was having trouble with alternate position views in 2004. Why not try it in 2006? The 1,400
component, 260 unique part assembly and drawing were imported into 2006 and converted. Configuration driven dimension mates that worked in the assembly in 2004 no longer worked in 2006. The graphics display went berserk, but that was cured by shutting down* SW2006 and restarting it. The dimensions that didn't work at first were made to work by a circuitous route that forced rebuilds of certain components and subassemblies by suppressing and unsuppressing mates. And the problem with alternate position views still wasn't fixed.
* I didn't have to do anything to shut down as SW went to the desktop automatically.
SW2006 SP 3.1
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TOP wrote:

I would fathom that it IS absolutely ready for the uncompensated beta . . . cough cough . . . testers who are willing to donate some of their time to SW to get the 2006 "released" version production worthy . . . (Grin) . . . I prefer to think of this leg of the product development journey as "validation via public testing" . . .
Later,
SMA
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Well I don't think the uncompensated part is that big a deal. There are a lot of people who put in a lot of time on beta in 2006. I was one of them, and in the top 25%. There is so much ground to cover and some of the specialty stuff just won't get covered, especially with the relative inexperience many beta testers. I wonder how many beta testers gave Alternate Position views a thrashing in the last Beta? I'll bet not many.
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Hehe - Just so we are clear I am referring to the beta testing that the public is doing RIGHT NOW (for 2006), not those kind souls that previewed the software before release and gave feedback . . . I get the impression that SW is fully aware of this situation and that they don't mind putting out a product that is "good enough", but still sub-par, perhaps some gaping holes with the mentality that "we can't possibly test everything, let's let the public find it for us". Unfortunately if the thousands of folks who rush right to the new release were told "oh yeah, you are our second wave of beta testers and if things go bad, we might be able to fix it, we might not, you will now have to communicat with us via the enhancement request and SPR system (largely broken in my mind)" then we (the public) might not rush to upgrade so soon.
By the way, I am not opposed to having imperfect code released as long as the things are non-catastrophic bugs and not real show stoppers - new functionality will always have usability issues. I think that their threshold for what they are willing to release into production is much too low and the end result is that too many "heavy hitters" hit the street, wating for us all to find them and report them, costing those of us who "jump too soon" into the new release to lose productivity. There is no value in any of this for us, and ultimately for them - if they continue to erode their credibility by releasing unstable stuff. I think that for us to upgrade to a new version it should not be like stepping up to the roulette table in Las Vegas with the hopes that things might possibly work out, maybe if we are lucky . . .
My wish is that they might take some of our maintenence money and hire a few more validation engineers.
Later,
SMA
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my customers and I have settled into a routine, finally, where none are adopting a new release until the next version is "finished" with its beta phase. we may skip 2006 altogether.
if only everyone would agree to go back to sw2001, we'd get a lot more work done.

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The new releases certainly aren't perfect, but I think you'd be surprised how many things you'd miss if you reverted to that version.
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In this case I'm missing alternate position views in a newer version. They work for simple things but not for my complex assembly. This is a big deal and I'm still cleaning egg off my face.
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TOP wrote:

What are alternate position views? Do you mean views other than top, right, iso, etc? How complex does the assembly have to get before they stop working?
--
J Kimmel
snipped-for-privacy@whereIwork.com
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As to what alternate position views are the best place to discover this is in the SW training or in help. Look at your Insert/Drawing View/ menu.
As to how complex the assembly has to get, I don't know. I know it works with simple assemblies, but not with the one I have at hand. I was hoping others who have run into this could help with that question.
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I don't mean to minimise the problems you're seeing, even though alternate position view recently worked for me on an assembly of around 800 parts. I was trying to get at the sentiment that the older versions are so superior that everybody would be more productive on them. Barring specific limitations, I just don't find that to be the case. SW was certainly more stable in those days, but that stability isn't enough to outweight the new capabilities. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones. I was forced to revert back to 2003 when 2004 was current, and it certainly didn't save me any time. That same company wants deliverables in 05, and I'm faily certain that I'm more effective in 06.
None of this is justification for the general decline in quality, of course. New functionality and reliability are not mutually exclusive concepts. We should have both, and we certainly don't.
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Dale,
In general I can get alternate views to work too. For whatever reason though, it was not working for me this day in a very repeatable way. Perhaps it was due to the in-context stuff going on. Perhaps it was a problem with configurations. Perhaps it had to do with Lightweight and rebuilds. I rather doubt beta testing would have caught this. It was broke in 2004 and broke in 2006.
We ran into another one with eDrawings today. My boss wanted an eDrawing of a part with feature dimensions showing as he had them on the part. eDrawings did not properly scale the dimensions or the arrows. So we had to scale the dimensions to 3ft tall and the arrows to 1ft/3ft/5ft to get a decent display in eDrawings. This of course made the part impossible to see. eDrawings didn't carry over the show all dimensions the same size checkbox from SW2004 through 2006. This was fixed way back in the early days of SW like around 96 or 97.
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Those are both frustrating. Maybe I should be frustrated too, but by the fact that I've already discarded any hope of taking advantage of two items you mention: eDrawings and lightweight.
eDrawings is not only impossible to use at the beginning of a sentence with proper capitalization, it is also much less capable than SW at displaying non-solid entities. Therefore, I've given up using it for more than that. I shoud be frustrated with this still, but it's been around too long.
Lightweight has always been a cause of instability and strange behavior. It's much better with each release. At it's best, it mishandles all sorts of references. At it's worst, it cause bizarre memory handling and instability. I should be frustrated with this too, but I guess I've given it up as unfinished, since I can get along without it most of the time.
And that's the whole problem. These things are not complete in the sense that they don't really fulfill their intended purpose. But you already knew this.
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"These things are not complete in the sense that they don't really fulfill their intended purpose."
So SolidWorks management has taken the view that they will control their costs of development to an appropriate level to "get buy", because lots of the 500,000 SolidWorks users will NOT upgrade every year.
In fact, everyone knows that SP0 though at least SP3 are always Public Beta Versions, and that is probably why some do not upgrade.
They won't "skip a SWks revision year and fix all the bugs", nor will they "double the programmers for a year" and fix all the bugs, so we get a functional mostly bug free 2007 SP0.
This sounds like a Ponzi scheme in reality. Tout the "number of seats sold", but they really must get close to 90% maintenance fee payment to make it a viable ongoing success @ Dessault, so in leiu of getting 90% of seats to do yearly maintenance:
This is a pop quiz: Which method does SolidWorks management solve the cash cow problem for Dessault to keep the President in his position--
1. Double the number of programmers and testers & intensiveness of testing or 2. Double the advertising dollars and sell more one time sale SWks seats?
I think it is obvious SolidWorks CEO has chosen #2 as being in his self-interest.
I think it is obvious Dessault has agreed with #2 as being in their self-interest.
Only customer pressure (and probably from their largest customers who start choosing not to upgrade) are likely to change the equation.
Bo
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How about forming a SolidWorks Users Union...
We can collectively demand voted on improvements or else we ALL stop paying the yearly subscription to SW.
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We did this a few years ago (2001?) As I recall, Mark Stapleton (Sporky) started a subscription boycott. It got the attention of SolidWorks management. Mark and two others (Paul Kellner and Ken Redman?), known as the Three Amigos, were invited to Boston to talk to them. They promised to do better, and did improve a bit. Now they seem to be getting out of hand again.
Jerry Steiger Tripod Data Systems "take the garbage out, dear"
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SW seem to do things in their own sweet time and way whatever the messes they get into and no statement of regret, apology etc is ever forthcoming. I don't think trying to organise a boycott will be effective in changing any undesirable performance on the part of some errant SW employees. I think the upset at the moment is mainly about PDF bugs and sp3,3.1,3.3,3.4? and it is true this has been badly handled but there is not a lot that can be done about it other than make sure customer dissatisfaction is heard loudly through all channels. Contact you VARs and make use of the customer experience section of the official forum to make your opinions known if your work is really affected by this. Most likely you will only hear weasel words in reply but at least they hear it and it will filter up. At the moment they are still doing better than previous releases where every sp had follow ups. Clearly the work swapping over from Bluebeam to Adobe was not done in time for the sp3 and there are still bits being sorted now. It must have been a known inside the company that it wasn't ready for real use.For this SW deserve a good ticking off but in their defence perhaps they have some unpublicised issues with license agreements to deal with that have hampered their progress. As per usual they make everything much worse will poor communications. I had hoped we were making real progress in that area but it doesn't look good this time...my condolences to those on the sp treadmill.
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What will get their attention are some note worthy customers jumping ship to a competitors product, and that competitor advertising the fact that it happened.
Ken

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Unfortunately most people have a substantial commitment to SW in financial terms, file types and also user knowledge so there would have to be something very serious happen for a company to abandon it for something else. It is still a good product but quality drifts astray too often....which is why I have suspended subs :o) As has been pointed out often before it is an industry wide problem though. I really hoped SW had put some energy behind the scenes into improving matters so I am prepared to cut them a bit of slack with the transitional PDF issues as a regrettable blip however if this continues into stuff ups in sp4 and all the way to a sp4.4 a lot of customers could be set back to thinking about the 05sp1 experience and the like. SW big wigs should take heed of the grumbles audible here at the moment. They/we don't need another loss in confidence in their ability to deliver sp that really do work.
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Mark Stapleton (aka Sporkman), Mark Mossberg and I. The Three Amigos moniker originated with the SW receptionist.
For what it is worth, I did another alternate position view with a similar assembly and it appears to have hope of working. So what we may be looking at is a lack of robustness when faced with a less than ideal assembly. This doesn't portend well for new users or old users with bad habits.
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Hi Jerry,
Just to set the record straight. Two of the now legendary Three Amigos is Mark and Paul as you named, I don't recall who the third person was though (such a long time ago in SW years).
Kman "we cannot insure success, but we can deserve it"

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