Author Topic: For 2019, please  (Read 737 times)

Rob S

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For 2019, please
« on: May 16, 2018, 08:57:49 PM »
I would like to mention some of our favorite features of Designcad over the years have been the simple and consistent user interface, simple yet powerful macro language, keyboard shortcuts, backward and forward compatibility of files as far as possible, and the ability to just open the program and start drawing.

In your quest for new features, please keep this in mind, as I believe the above sets designcad apart from many other programs.

I have always felt that one of Designcads biggest issues was and is the inability to handle larger files, where it becomes exponentially and painfully slow to use, even on todays fast computers.

This applies to large 2D files as well as medium or large sized 3D files in shaded or hidden line modes particularly.   I think if it can be made faster and more efficient that alone would vastly increase the market it could appeal to.
User since Pro-design

Dr PR

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2018, 11:37:54 PM »
I agree with all of Rob's points.

Many much simpler and less expensive (freeware) programs display large complex files MUCH faster than DesignCAD. That, and all of the bugs in DesignCAD's display routines, make screen redraws extremely slow with large files.

Of course, as files grow larger it will take longer to regenerate screen images. This is especially true of there are any transparent objects in the file. But it is clear that screen redraw is a major opportunity for improvement!

Another real problem is the very limited shadow capability in shaded images. The maximum shadow resolution is 2048 shadow "blocks." If your drawing is 2048 units (mm, cm, inches, yards, miles) wide and you zoom in to view a part of the drawing 10 units across the shadows are displayed in one unit blocks - only 10 shadow "blocks" across the image, even if the display is 4096 pixels across! It is, without exception, the worst display of shadows I have seen in any program. Definite room for improvement!

Also, the overall image generation in DesignCAD is really schizophrenic. Screen images, printed images and image files are all different. Furthermore, printed and saved images are dependent upon the current screen display, and that is just bad! With the same print or image save settings you get different printed or saved images with different screen displays (GDI, OpenGL, shaded, wireframe, etc.)! Just about everything having to do with image generation of all types can be improved.

Working with large files is also frustrating because there is no defined maximum file size. Even after the program was rewritten for 64 bit computers there is still an arbitrary maximum file size limit of about 750 Mbytes. Above that parts of the drawing just disappear randomly. I suspect there are still 32 bit variables scattered through the code that truncate 64 bit data and address values.

Phil
DesignCAD user since 1987

JJG

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2018, 06:42:01 AM »
Hy all,

I would just remeber you some previous asks from me :
- Basicad "ON ESC" new-statment   see please http://forum.designcadcommunity.com/index.php?topic=4027.0
- new macro commands to have the possibility to drive the scroll bars of screen   see please http://forum.designcadcommunity.com/index.php?topic=2633.0
- Construction Lines between two points only  see please http://forum.designcadcommunity.com/index.php?topic=4534.0
- axis of revolution for concerned predefined solids   see please http://forum.designcadcommunity.com/index.php?topic=4533.0

Thanks in advance !

JJG

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2018, 04:52:16 AM »
I have always felt that one of Designcads biggest issues was and is the inability to handle larger files, where it becomes exponentially and painfully slow to use, even on todays fast computers.

This applies to large 2D files as well as medium or large sized 3D files in shaded or hidden line modes particularly.   I think if it can be made faster and more efficient that alone would vastly increase the market it could appeal to.

In fact I mentionned such report here :
http://forum.designcadcommunity.com/index.php?topic=7097.msg51047#msg51047

Please, give a look why Designcad is been so slow for files with more than 4 Mb since after v23  : i.e. v21.2, for us the french users, was the last version with a good speed of refresh for big files : it's mainly a question of refresh, which do not working correctly (i.e. in version later than v21) as he was working in version up to (and including v21).
Thanks in advance, it's certainly the most important and urgent that you have to look at.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2018, 09:15:06 PM by JJG »

Dr PR

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 10:46:34 PM »
I have not noticed the later versions being significantly slower than earlier versions.

Of course, I often work with 3D files greater that 250 Mbytes, with some up to 750 Mbytes, and everything is slower with files this large. But I have been working with huge files for many years and I guess I have evolved work methods that avoid some of the worst problems. Here are a few tips to speed up DesignCAD operations:

1. The more drawing elements the program has to deal with, the longer it will take to work on the drawing. So I work in multiple smaller files to create parts and then assemble them in a larger drawing where the individual small parts do not have to be edited.

2. Disable layers that are not necessary for what you are working on in a drawing. Operations like "Select All" have to sort through every object on unlocked (editable) layers. Hide the layers you do not need to see. If you need a layer to be visible, but do not intend to edit anything on it, lock the layer in the Layers dialog.

3. The more windows you have open the slower DesignCAD operates. When you draw/edit objects the program has to redraw all open windows. The larger the file size, the longer it takes to redraw a window. With files over 100 Mbytes I usually close all but the "main" window.

4. Screen redraws are totally screwed up in DesignCAD. After redrawing the "main" window the program will redraw ALL open windows from one to four times! Just changing the display from one type to another in one window will cause all windows to redraw over, and over, and over, and over, ...

If you are working in Point Select mode and you have some objects selected, each window redraw will be done twice , so you can get up to nine redraws with four windows open. The more points the program has to redraw the slower the point redraws will be. With four windows open in a 3D drawing, and a file size of 500 Mbytes, every draw/edit with objects selected and Point Select mode enabled is followed by up to a minute of redraws!

This is with a 3.2 GHz i7-3930K 6 core 64 bit CPU, 32 GHz DDR 1600 RAM, a Nvidia Quadro 4000 video card, and no background tasks enabled.

5. Do not use transparent "glass" materials and/or do not enable transparency. I had a 45 Mbyte drawing with a single "glass" material object. It took about 10-15 seconds to redraw the screen with Phong shading with transparency disabled. I enabled transparency, and after an hour and a half, with the redraw still in progress, I used CTRL-ALT-DEL to call up Task Manager and shut down the program.

The program has to evaluate EVERY individual object in the drawing to determine if it is visible through EVERY transparent object.

With X total objects and Y transparent objects, this means X times Y evaluations with transparency enabled before the screen redraw can even start. With transparency disabled there are 0 evaluation before redraw begins.

6. Disable shadows in 3D shading. Shadows add several steps to the display of every object in the drawing.

7. If maximum speed is essential, disable all network connections and virus scanning. If the machine is connected to the Internet there are many background tasks working and this slows down everything. I have a cheap laptop for email and Internet browsing, and my main workstation has NO network connections.

8. Check what tasks are scheduled by Windows and when they run. If Windows decides to run disk defragmentation it will use every available core, leaving only one for DesignCAD. This will slow the program to a crawl.

However, later version of Windows will automatically stop defragmentation and other CPU hog routines when it detects keyboard or mouse activity.

9. Be certain your machine is not running hot! i5 and i7 processors have self protection built in. They have a separate internal micro processor running a program that monitors voltages and temperatures for the main CPU and all its cores. If a core gets hot the main CPU clock is stopped momentarily to allow it to cool, and then the clock is restarted. The clock speed is not actually slowed down, it is just operated in bursts, with longer and longer quiescent periods between active clock periods as the CPU gets hotter. This really slows things down!

If delaying the clock doesn't cool things down the CPU core voltages are dropped to reduce heat build up. If this fails the processor just stops until things cool down.

Many early i7 laptops frequently encountered the "blue screen of death" (BSOD) when Windows died. The reason was that Windows was running a lot of background activity on all available cores and this generated so much heat that the processor's self protection just powered down all the cores. Background defragmentation running all available cores at 100% was the main culprit.

I have a chassis with 10 fans, two of them dedicated to cooling the radiator for a CPU liquid cooler, and the rest for blowing cool air into the chassis and sucking hot air out the top. I also run an Intel monitoring program to warn of CPU overheating (I really don't need it, when the CPU starts heating up the fans speed up and it sounds like the thing is going to take off).

My two core i7 laptop has essentially no cooling (tiny little fans) and I often hear the fans humming and everything slows down.

Phil
DesignCAD user since 1987

JJG

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2018, 12:35:42 AM »
Phil,

Thanks to give us again your tips and trick for working with big files.

But the problem is in DesignCad later's version : why can I work (on the same file !) without any trouble with v21.2, and not with v23 or 26  ?
--> only because something in the refresh-process has been changed and no longer works properly.

Petr

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 02:20:57 AM »
In version 2019 of our great DesignCAD program, I would like:
- the same ends of dashed lines, etc.
- the same lines corners of dashed, etc. - see. image in PDF (every corner is different)
- Select the round end of thick lines when printing
- Functional location of non-centered print on paper
- Quick screen zoom without redrawing
Thanks, Petr
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 07:55:33 AM by Petr »

j-wetzel

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Text editor?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2018, 12:15:56 PM »
I use DesignCad to make drawings to illistrate mathematical papers, and for this purpose I've made it work very well indeed.

But for me there is a serious weakness:  DesignCad lacks a text editor.  If I want to make a caption containing. for example, an integral sign with upper and lower limits, or a summation sign, or ordinary letters decorated with accents, an overbar, a over caret, dot, or tilda, a cedilla, etc., I have to copy what I need from a suitable font, and then place it with great care in the line of text I'm trying to enter.

I know full well that this isn't a feature that many of your users need, but it certainly would make my life much easier.
--Jack

Lar

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2018, 05:37:31 PM »

j-wetzel,
Have you tried multiline text? You can have a mix up of different fonts, sizes, styles, etc, in the same line, even the same word. Also there is an extended character tool for adding symbols, fractions, etc.


However, the multitext editor could use some improvements. Things like highlighting a bunch of text and backspacing, or using ctrl+c/v to copy/paste can cause dcad to crash (I have learned to only use the copy and past buttons, never the shortcut keys).


Lar

j-wetzel

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Re: Text editor vs multiline text
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2018, 02:59:01 PM »
Multiline text is an improvement over just letter by letter text, but I need a significantly more powerful editor.  The attachment shows the sort of thing I sometimes need to enter, and you can see how awkward this is if you have to place each letter/symbol by hand.  The multiline text thing IS useful for less complicated text, for sure.






j-wetzel,
Have you tried multiline text? You can have a mix up of different fonts, sizes, styles, etc, in the same line, even the same word. Also there is an extended character tool for adding symbols, fractions, etc.


However, the multitext editor could use some improvements. Things like highlighting a bunch of text and backspacing, or using ctrl+c/v to copy/paste can cause dcad to crash (I have learned to only use the copy and past buttons, never the shortcut keys).


Lar
--Jack

Dr PR

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Re: For 2019, please
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 08:49:54 AM »
Jack,

I have used MathCAD and Word to create math symbols - although Word is a bit weak in this respect. I haven't tried copying and pasting these symbols into DesignCAD, so I don't know if it will work. DesignCAD would need access to the math symbol set, but this is available through windows.

Have you tried this? Does it work?

Phil
DesignCAD user since 1987

Lar

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Re: Text editor vs multiline text
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2018, 10:33:33 AM »
... but I need a significantly more powerful editor.

Looking at your attachment I'm wondering if any word based text editor can produce that.


Rather than pasting those characters in a text string I would explode the entire font(s) and place each characters as if they were objects instead of text (I did that with music notation a few times). That way you scale stuff up and down and space, etc, as needed. Problem is you'll get outlined text, unless you hatch fill them, which is another issue altogether.


Lar

j-wetzel

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Math text & multiline editing
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2018, 09:28:22 AM »
Just to explain, let me summarize briefly how I make technical text.  I use Mackichan's marvelous program called Scientific Word.  (Actually, I use MacKichan's hybrid program, Scientific Workplace,, which has computational and other capabilities in addition to being a text editor.)  These programs are WYSIWYG LaTex "idiot shells" that generate high quality LaTeX code that is accepted by most technical publishers, can be printed directly, or if necessary can even transformed to pdf files.  Like DesignCad, it's not totally trivial to learn, but for technical writing I think it's well worth the effort.  I've been drawing figures using DesignCad and simply pasting them into the Scientific Word document, where they can be sized, captioned, and positioned in text.  A sample is attached.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 12:10:14 PM by j-wetzel »
--Jack