Vectorworks in the Military, and on the iPad???

March 28, 2010

If you were following this blog when I first created it, you may be wondering what happened to it. Why did I stop writing? I took a contract position with the Marine Corps. I commute from the Palm SPrings area to 29 Palms five days a week. We (a group of engineers and architects that got hired under the same contract) travel an hour and a half (each way) and report to work at 0700. That’s 7:00am for those of you not familiar with a 24 hour clock. As you can guess, this makes for an extremely long day. Also, after a few weeks, we were told that we couldn’t bring in personal laptops. This meant NO VECTORWORKS!!!!! I am forced to use the evil, dare I say it out loud, AutoCAD. YUCK!!!!! OK that was painful!!!!! So the fact that I have been working long hours, preparing for the remaining sections of the ARE, and haven’t been able to use my favorite toy, I mean tool, means that I haven’t had time or been very enthused to write. This also explains my lack of enthusiasm to be more active as a Vectorworks User Group Leader. But I have realized that I must press on. I am taking on other projects outside of my military contract, which allows me to dive back into Vectorworks. This has sparked some enthusiasm.

What also sparked some enthusiasm is a little piece of hardware that Apple will be releasing soon. The iPad. So now I have two subjects that I would like to discuss. The first topic revolves around the fact that I can’t use Vectorworks on the Marine Corps base, regardless if I am using it on a personal laptop, or if it is installed on a military computer. Why is this you might ask. Well, the Marine Corps is a component of the Navy, but it is its own entity. The Navy has tested Vectorworks and has approved its use on Navy installations. However, the Marine Corps doe not allow use of this software. So I call on the powers that be at the Nemetschek mothership to get with the powers that be at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington and get Vectorworks approved so I am not forced to use that other software that shall remain nameless for the rest of this rant.

On to my second topic… and this one I would like to see more than being able to use Vectorworks on a Marine Corps base. I went to the Nemetschek website today to see if there was any mention whatsoever about the iPad. So the big question on my mind is… will there be some version of Vectorworks ported to the iPad? Obviously the processor is probably not up to running the full version of Vectorworks, but it seems that there could be some watered down version. It may not be optimal to complete an entire project on an iPad, but it would be great to take it in the field and make minor adjustments, mark up plans with redlines, or take field measurements and do some general layout. I know, I know, you can do that with a laptop. But in light of the fact that I recently bought a new 21″ iMac with 8gb of RAM, I am selling my laptop on e-bay and will be purchasing a 3g iPad as soon as they are available. That being said, a pad is more practical and portable for the field, and I am hoping I am not the only one that would lie to see an iPad version of Vectorworks. I want to hear from you. Do you want to see some sort of version of Vectorworks on the iPad?

Welcome to the VectorSphere!

March 20, 2009

Well, this is my first post and I’m very excited to be getting started. The purpose of this site is to discuss anything and everything that has to do with VectorWorks with particular focus on tips, tricks, rants, and raves. I hope that this blog will become a collaborative educational resource for VectorWorks users everywhere. I’m also interested in “wish list” items that you might have in mind. With any luck, we can get the attention of Nemetschek and get them to incorporate the most wanted features. Don’t forget to check out the links at the right hand side of this page. If you have a link that you think I should include, please e-mail it to me for consideration.

Here is a brief history of my VectorWorks experience. I started using VectorWorks in 1989 when it was called MiniCad. I started with whatever version was current at the time. I think it was a flavor of version 6 but some sources tell me it was a flavor of version 4. Whichever the case, I upgraded from version 6 to version 8. From there I didn’t upgrade until version 11, then 12, then 2008. I have not upgraded to version 2009 yet, and a source close to Nemetschek tells me that I should probably hold out for version 2010. More on that later along with my take on Nemetschek making the move to an annual upgrade model. I prefer the Mac platform, especially for working in VectorWorks, however I have had a little experience working in VectorWorks on the PC platform. I’ve been using Apple computers since 1985 and have PC experience dating back to about the mid 90’s. For a more detailed background on me, please check out my “About BJP” page. You can also learn more about me and see examples of my work at

I’m not really a negative person but I want to start out with a rant of mine regarding the annual upgrade model that Nemetschek has imposed. But before I get into it too far, I’d like to say that I am dedicated to VectorWorks and as far as I can tell I will never convert. I’ve used SketchUp, ArchiCAD, and AutoCAD, and various other low level CAD programs, and I can honestly say, VectorWorks is the best of all CAD worlds! On to my rant… I’m angry that Nemetschek has moved to an annual upgrade schedule for many reasons. The main one is that now when they release a new version, all production and big fixes stop completely on the old version. As everyone knows, including Nemetschek, not all the bugs are worked out of a previous version before they move on. Version 12.5 was the closest to being bug free, I believe. Most software companies continue to develop and create bug fixes for at least one version prior to the current one. In some case even two or three versions back. Nemetschek doesn’t even fix anything one version back. If you use VW2008, and there are features that don’t work, you are out of luck. They will NEVER work. If you want those features fixed you are FORCED to upgrade. And there is no guaranty that the features you were having problems with in a previous version will be fixed in the current version. It’s a crap shoot. Roll the dice!

Okay, so now you’ve gotten over your anger and psychotic rage and decided to upgrade. Guess what, most of you are probably in the same boat as I am. Not only are you forced to upgrade just to fix a few features that may or may not work in the newer version, but now you have to buy new hardware because your current system doesn’t meet the system requirements to run the newest version of VW. This makes my blood boil! Mr. Diehl, what were you thinking???

I want to know how YOU feel about this topic? Please leave me a comment with your rants or raves. Is this a good business model or is Nemetschek taking advantage of it’s current customer base? What do YOU think?