|The Details - from Several Long Days in Wildfire:
An opinion by Eldon Goates, May 2003
|After many long days using PTC's latest adventure called Wildfire, I have concluded that Wildfire is NOT acceptable for production. It's a great toy, but not a very good tool, and I'm mad as can be that they put such great new functionality in such a horrible package.
While I truly love Pro/E and what it can become - And - I really like many of the concepts for improvement developing in Wildfire, this release is a problem. Or should I say many problems.
They have created some fantastic new functionality that I really want to use, but wrapped it up with so many usability issues and thoughtless user unfriendliness (not to mention the great functionality they removed) that the package is unusable. It's like having a birthday cake the dog peed on. Under the circumstances, I want nothing of it.
My feelings aside, this is a list of issues I've identified and passed to PTC. (Unfortunately, PTC is not very interested in solving problems.) Anyway, since so many of you have asked, here is the list. I realize that there is emotion, sarcasm and accusation. If that's offensive, please stop reading now.
The list is long (broken into categories), and I apologize for the verboseness, but there is a lot wrong, so if you're interested, here's what I found (in several long days with Wildfire).
- Lost or Degraded Functionality (These are the big ones!)
- Major Bugs and System Issues
- Productivity Losses
- Issues with Selection, Focus, and User Interface
- Usability? By whose definition?
- Superfluous Garbage (The little things.)
|For additional reading:
|If you're surprised by the recommendations or just want to read more of our view on Pro/Engineer Wildfire, please try the following subsections of this article:
If you're interested in our first look at Wildfire, please read What About This Wildfire Thing??
Lost or Degraded Functionality: (These are the big ones!)
- No more Make Datums?!?! How do you like all those datum planes? You get lots of them now because you can no longer create a datum plane on the fly. You can pause a feature and create a plane, but it's a separate feature, shows up independently in the model tree (so now you have to scroll more), won't delete or suppress with the feature, and clutters the screen so you can't find things you're looking for. Most importantly, dimensions specifically (and only) for a given feature cannot be accessed by an "Edit" (Modify) of that feature. One HUGE step backward! A good example is using a plane to locate a pattern -- not only do you now have a bunch of useless planes, but to modify the pattern, you have to "Edit" the plane -- which, of course, is jumbled up in the mess of other planes, and you cannot tell which plane you need (in a larger model) without finding it in the model tree -- unless you are brilliant or lucky. When you get lots of planes it's impossible to pick from the screen. (Another UI screw-up.) The inclusion of "Make Datums" (many releases ago) was a great step forward, taking them out is a huge step back. (Don't misunderstand, the "Pause" is cool functionality, but the removal of Make Datums is not a good trade.) Now to be fair, PTC thought they were responding to a customer request. Customers have indicated that Make Datums can't be redefined, so instead of making them redefinable, they just took them out. Wouldn't it have been nice if they had thought in advance and made it so you could (in a redefine) choose to separate the Make Datum from the feature? Or just redefine the plane within the feature? Never mind that the Make Datum functionality was implemented based on customer requests!! It just hit me, PTC has been so focused on the new and casual user, they probably think any users that were around when Make Datums were implemented have gone on to other things or have died. What do you think? Good theory?
- You can't modify dimensions from more than one part at a time in Assembly! This is a huge hit to function and productivity! I found this issue because the mouse action is different in Part mode and assembly mode? Specifically, you can't modify, (I mean) "Edit" (not pull-down edit, but the other one), part features directly in assembly, you have to first go into what used to be Modify > Modify Part which gives you access to only one part at a time. Additionally, you can't directly choose part dimensions to modify. The only way I found to do it was through the model tree . . . . but what if I don't want to dig through a long model tree list of parts and features to change dimensions on a couple of obvious things (on different parts) at once? Working in assembly mode used to be a very effective way to design, and now it doesn't seem to be available. This, to me, is an obvious example of how the people writing the specs and software have little or no relevant experience using the software. I'm sorry if this offends someone, but that is just stupid. (I really hope someone can tell me what I'm missing here -- because if I'm wrong, this certainly fails the intuitive test.) Post note: I have confirmed with a PTC AE that the functionality is now GONE!!! PTC HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO US????
- Perhaps I haven't got the hang of selection yet, but it seems you can't modify ("Edit", not the Edit menu, but the other one) more than one feature at a time -- unless they are all selected together then "Edit"ed together. If a feature is "Edit"ed (showing the dimensions on the screen) and you want to also see the dimensions of another feature as well, when you choose the additional feature and "Edit" (either in the model tree or in the geometry), the dimensions that were showing are gone (like a repaint) when the new dimensions show. It's like Wildfire does a repaint prior to each display. This is either a mistake, or another reflection that the spec writers are not users. When I examine dimensions from one feature, I should be able to then choose to see the dimensions from another without having to re-choose to see the dimensions of the first. True, it is nice functionality to be able to select multiple features from the model tree at once, but if the model tree is long, and I want to simultaneously see dimensions from multiple features at opposite ends of the tree, it is truly cumbersome. Another example ... since Wildfire now requires so many datum planes, if I put them on a layer so I can see my model, then I want to change a dimension, the only logical thing is to select it from the model tree. But if I also want to see the dimensions of another feature with it, I have to find that feature in the model tree before I can see the dimensions -- even though it is easy to see and pick in the model. A true usability FAILURE!
- One item not immediately apparent is the fact that this new paradigm requires more use of picking datum planes. However, in many cases Planes can't be picked from the model tree. For example, if you choose a datum from the model tree prior to starting a feature (like an extrude), when you get into the section defining the sketcher orientation, you can't pick the reference plane from the model tree, you have to pick it from the model. Same if you go to redefine a sketch, you have to pick the planes -- sketching plane and reference -- from the model, not the model tree. That makes things really complicated for working with larger models -- especially in light of the fact that you now have literally hundreds of planes and extra features because make-datums are not allowed any more and other things like 2 projection curves require extra features (and in many cases extra planes) to create. I hope this is a bug, not intended function. This again is a serious degradation in the ability of the user to function with the software.
- We expected a reduction in functionality and productivity with respect to speed. It is inevitable that when the software goes more mouse intensive, things become more serial and that writing macros to speed up the mundane repetitive junk are less capable. (The fact that PTC wants to make their software slower and less capable is beyond me, but that has been happening for many years.) That point aside, PTC has made it almost impossible to run mapkeys. Yes, you can still make them and think you're going to save yourself time, but they will only run sporadically, and often they won't run at all. The root cause is associated with the screen focus. Basically, you can never tell what will happen when you type a mapkey sequence. Sometimes the information goes in the dashboard text entry box, sometimes it renames a feature in the model tree, sometimes it try's to put it in for a value. In drawings, sometimes it goes in the drawing sheet number box -- and worst of all, sometimes I can't tell where it goes. This is truly an stupid. Why have functionality (and advertise it) but not check to see that it works? Perhaps more importantly, why not make the software truly powerful and fast by allowing users to make and execute time saving functions? Heck, AutoCAD did that -- perhaps before most of the PTC's PLM's were born.
- What is this with the projected curves? Do I read this right? Now instead of creating a single 2-projection curve, you now have to create 3 curves? How is that streamlining? How does that simplify the model? In case you haven't seen this, it used to be that a 2 projection curve could be created by creating 2 sketches on non-parallel planes, and Pro/E would create one curve at the intersection of normal projections of the 2 sketches. Cool, powerful functionality. Now you have to create 2 datum curve features, separate independent curves in your model, then for the curve you're really wanting, choose those 2 curves as children. More importantly, now to modify the curve I want, the 2-projection curve, I have to find and modify the other 2 curves that are probably not right there with the 2-projection curve. In other words, what used to be a modify of a single feature, the one of real interest, now cannot be modified at all. No, instead you have to modify two other completely separate curves that are basically irrelevant to the desired geometry. Pardon my astonishment, but this is down right stupid. PTC has the code in place to do the job neat and clean, so they throw that out in favor of a 3 step cluttered, hard to work with method? That's like throwing a bucket of dog poop in your bath water before you get in!! OK, I'm really having trouble understanding why anyone would think this is an improvement? How is this better? I am totally astonished and at a complete loss of words -- absolutely flabbergasted!
- Well, I guess they (PTC) are consistent in their stupidity! As a follow on to the 2 projection curves discussion above, other features are now also multi-step functions that make things very hard to modify because the dimensions and information for the real item of interest are not associated with the item of interest any more. They are buried in previous features that have to be found and modified independently. So much for usability and productivity. ----- I'm telling you, there is no one at PTC that has built a 50 feature model in years! From this new software, I'm guessing there is no one at PTC that has built a 10 feature model in years?!?!
- With the new layering methods I guess we can't place an item on multiple layers at the same time anymore? Am I missing something or is this another hit to speed? Just take away more of the functionality we have learned to love.
- To be fair, if you're just interest in making squares and cylinders, it works pretty well -- but why would you buy Pro/E for that? Wildfire strongly promotes poor modeling practices that will bite you later. With a model of any size, it will get harder and harder to re-use the geometry built by someone less skilled. Basically, Wildfire makes less picks by promoting laziness in the users. Watch any demo by PTC and you'll see that they build them to promote their cause, but the modeling practices stink -- really to promote their cause. You don't want your users going there in the long run. Again, a hit to productivity and a huge step back with respect to one of the key strengths of using Pro/E in the first place.
- What used to be Query Select is now gone and replaced by a model highlighting function that's nearly impossible to get right. If you don't pick just perfectly, or if your mouse moves even one pixel, you don't get your intended item. When you finally get frustrated about not being able to select the item on the screen, you can change the filter from "Smart" (a definite misnomer) to something else, and may have more luck. Instead of that junk, there is a new "Pick from List" function that's similar to Query, but takes extra mouse picks to use. You select with the RMB (Right Mouse Button) not a real select, but a select and hold, so the RMB menus appear. If you did it right, one of the menu items is "Pick from List". Using the arrows in the dialog box or clicks of the RMB it will scroll through the list and highlight the model similar to the old Query Select. Pretty nice once you get the hang of it, but if you need to change a filter or select over 1 pixel or something, you have to cancel (using the cancel button in the dialog box (or the esc key) yippee a key that works) then pick somewhere else off the model prior to trying again. This is part of the streamlined "Fewer mouse picks" they keep touting. In truth, this part of selection is just plain degraded.
Major Bugs and System Issues:
- There are obviously some new modes in Wildfire. Unfortunately, many are not obvious, and sometimes I can't tell where I am or what it's waiting for. On occasion, after waiting a few seconds, Wildfire suddenly snaps out of it and goes on -- like to resolve a sketch, or complete a feature, but mostly, I wait and nothing happens so I try something and sometimes loose the work I just did. Certainly they could have noticed this in QA testing? Or not, I guess.
- Display errors are all over the place. Now I recognize that there may be some items specific to my machine, but sometimes when I rotate the model everything disappears. This seems to happen more frequently in sketcher and more with surfaces and curves than with solids, also more frequently in shaded mode than with wireframe, but it happens in all of the modes. A repaint will not correct the issue. I have to go to a view reset or a defined view like "Default". When you are zoomed in on a sketch, that behavior is just not acceptable. (My hunch is that PTC has done a minimalistic job in working with the individual platforms -- and especially with Unix (which I use). It is yet another reflection that they are alienating their high-end users. Other display errors occur with the toolbars overlapping (on top of each other), the browser controls and border are covered by the model so you can't see them, dimensions appear over the top of the "edit the value in the screen" boxes so you have to guess at what you're typing because you can only see small amounts of it, sketcher grid suddenly changes intensity from gray to wide bright white, and the list goes on and on. How can you sell a product like this and brag about it?
- What is it about the HELP system that has to seize control of the computer? It takes forever to find any information. These are local files (on my hard drive), so I've written this whole paragraph and I'm still waiting. Additionally, the help seizes control of the windows so if HELP is displayed, I can't get back to the Wildfire window to do the things it says. I had to "Front" it back, or minimize the HELP window in order to get back to Wildfire. I hope this is a statement of the obvious, but just in case PTC folks have a hard time understanding, the windows should not interact with each other such that 2 cannot be displayed simultaneously. Additionally, it struck me as funny that the HELP did not use the embedded browser, but instead launched some other windows. That's probably by design, and would be cool if it would play nice with the other windows.
- The drawing page set-up thing, though it looks like it should be cool, doesn't work worth a darn. When I added a "C" format to 3 of the sheets (1, 2, 3, but not sheet 4 (4 is generic D)) it put the "C" on 3 & 4, then assigned the generic "D" to 1 & 2. When I tried to correct it, it messed it up differently. Then I put the "C" on the sheets one at a time starting with 1, but when I tried to put the generic "D" on sheet 4, it changed sheets 1 & 2 to generic "D", but left the "C" on 4. What?? Obviously it's a bug, but why did I have to find it? Why not PTC and their "Fantastic" new QA department? In the end, I was NOT able to get the generic "D" on sheet 4. (By this time I had already called Tech Support 4 times on other bugs so I just threw up my hands and bagged it.)
- All the mouse work is HORRENDOUS !!! If this is better . . . . . . . This is horrible. There may be fewer mouse picks, but those picks are all over the screen! By having to use the mouse so extensively, I think my personal productivity (even after making several new mapkeys that work sporadically AND with all the new so called "Productivity improvements") is probably 1/4 of what it is with 2001. (How? you ask, read our article on going fast with Pro/E. I hardly ever use the mouse for menus or instructions, just for the stinking dialog boxes that don't accept mapkey input and those things of infrequent use.) My arm is aching after using Wildfire for only a day. I think I'll send PTC the medical bills. -- Want examples? How about the "initiate a sketch" button at the far lower left corner, then the very next pick is in a dialog box at the upper right corner. Those two actions are consistently sequential, so why the separation? Then, how about the "Done", "Cancel", "Pause" buttons at the far lower right? What would be wrong with having them by the other dashboard elements since you'll probably use one every time the dashboard opens. Yes, I understand that there are mouse shortcuts like a middle mouse click that does the "Done", but if you happen to hold the middle button too long or move the mouse when you are clicking, Wildfire interprets it as a spin, not a "Done". Wow! what a goof!
- What's with all the automatic selection? I have complained many times that the automatically selected references (previous sketcher) are rarely the best choice, and they lead to poor modeling practices. They are the cause of a lot of frustration for designers and engineers when they need to go back to change a model -- and for any company that likes to re-use data. Now they do even more of it. But, of course, the unselecting of automatic references and the defining of correct ones is a part of streamlining productivity (Sarcasm). Again, someone was NOT thinking. AT LEAST GIVE US A WAY TO TURN OFF THIS CRAP!!
- With respect to the automatic references, there was an improvement implemented several releases ago that helped with selecting sketcher references. Basically, by setting a config.pro option, Pro/E would repeat the orientation pick of the previous feature. That has also been lost in Wildfire. When you say you're trying to respond to customer needs, why throw out the changes already made that DID respond to customer needs?
- More with automatic references ... When you select a sketching plane, an automatic reference and automatic orientation is chosen for you. If you select a different plane to sketch on, it not only changes the sketching reference, but changes both the automatic reference as well as the automatic orientation as well. What a pain to have to keep changing the references -- sometimes over and over because if you don't make your selections in just the right order it changes them again for you. Is this part of the streamlining? Perhaps the most unfortunate part of this is that newer users don't grasp the importance here and get frustrated when they redefine (edit definition) of a feature and can't understand why their sketch flopped over.
- As I've said before, this (Wildfire) is yet another step to pandering to the new and casual user. PTC has ignored the fact that people buy the software to accomplish "Real" work. Wildfire is not for serious work. It appears to me as more of a toy than a tool. I'm absolutely disgusted and furious.
- The whole piece of software seems to run really slow. It loads slow, it runs slow, it repaints slow, it displays pop-up dialog boxes slow, etc.. There appear to be delays built in for menu display (Dashboard) and to get to the RMB (Right Mouse Button) menus, you have to hold the key and wait. Yes, I know there has to be a balance, but it feels slow -- which may add to the "toy" feeling. Additionally, it seems like every operation requires some "bounce" that redisplays things and takes some time for Wildfire to think about what you just asked it to do. Basically, in a world that is ever trying to go faster, this is a fat old dog. The one thing I've noticed that seems to go faster is the regeneration and repaint immediately following a regeneration. Hmmmm?
Issues with Selection, Focus, and User Interface:
- Selection is horrible. I realize it's new, and therefore requires some getting used to, but lets talk about the real issues like how your mouse must be on the exact correct pixel to select things. Even with the "Toggle Through" (used to be called Query Select) functionality, if your mouse is not perfectly placed, or if it moves even one pixel in the process, Wildfire won't select the item. Furthermore, it's impossible to tell if Pro/E thinks the item you are trying to select is not valid for the intent, or if you're not on the exact correct pixel of the screen. Furthermore, there are times when you can't figure out what is being selected. (Example: In sketcher, one of the constraints is a small dot. If you're trying to select that (to delete it, for instance) you can't see when it is highlighted because your cursor is right over it.) In previous versions of Pro you picked in the location, then you could move the mouse away to query through possibilities. You used to get both visual and list (Query Bin -- except not in Sketcher (another bonehead goof)) feedback as you toggle through. Now you must choose one or the other alternatives (visual or list) you can't use both. Now you cannot move your mouse even one pixel as you toggle through or you're starting a new query. If you use the list, you have to know all the names and you can't learn the names by associating the highlighted geometry, you just have to know them (another (sic) easy to learn function). It's aggravating when you have to toggle through a lot and you must be very deliberate (slow) to be sure you don't bump the mouse off the exact screen pixel. Best I can tell, there is not a method of using the keyboard to perform the function so you don't have to be so slow and deliberate with the mouse. NOT good human factors (I wonder if they know what that means? Evidence shows probably not.).
- There is a confusion between the action of the middle mouse spin and the "double click the middle mouse button" to go to sketcher select. If the mouse moves at all (which it does often) as the button is pressed, then pressed again, it spins the model out of sketcher view and does not do what you were thinking. That's aggravating and it happens in several modes with the new interface. And Yes, I am the customer and No, I don't think I have to work slow and be so careful not to bump the mouse position when I want to use a mouse short-cut!
- The windowing system is terrible. Wildfire ceases control in certain modes and won't let you jump to a different application (like this text editor) until you have satisfied something -- and you often cannot tell what needs to be done. This means you can't leave until you finish what you're doing there. What a pain! Pro/E is not the only application on the computer! How often do you need to switch gears to look up something, or check e-mail, or any number of different things -- like to write this comment while it's fresh in my mind.
- An item on HELP. Have you tried the Menu Mapper? It's a priceless tool for finding where things have gone -- because looking for some things defy logic -- but it too has a huge Oops. There are a few things that got taken out of the menus for 2001 -- like datum curve creation (Well, it is there, but it's buried). Unfortunately, the Menu Mapper does not include the standard toolbar icons in it's map, so if you have not used the items in the menus, you're out of luck. And it the case of Datum curves anyway, the icon buttons in the toolbar don't do the same thing as the menus.
- In 2001 there is a real problem with screen element focus -- as in where is the computer going to put the next thing you type -- is the value typed for a protrusion depth going to be interpreted as a mapkey or a sheet selection or a button push or the protrusion depth I intend. In Wildfire the problem is drastically amplified. I can never tell what will happen when I type a mapkey sequence or enter a value. Sometimes the information goes in the dashboard text entry box, sometimes it renames a feature in the model tree, in drawings, sometimes it goes in the drawing sheet number box -- and worst of all, sometimes I can't tell where it goes. If there are times when a mapkey input cannot be accepted, the user needs to be informed of that. The most unfortunate part of this is that Tech Support says they are not allowed to use mapkeys, and I guess that goes for QA as well. So basically, they tell us we can make great mapkey macro's (perhaps as appeasement), then don't do any work with them to understand the issues. This is, to me, a total failure of QA -- and secondly, a total failure of PTC management to listen to the customer. **As a side note, I offered to work with the software a year ago so these issues wouldn't end up in production, but in their (perhaps arrogant) confidence, denied that it would ever be an issue. So much for propaganda and promises. (Note, this issues covers a wide range of areas, so it appears in this list under 2 different categories.)
- In some cases you cannot select a dimension at all. The dimension will highlight in cyan while you toggle through them, but when you pick with the left mouse button to select the cyan dimension, it all blinks and everything turns back yellow and you get a message that it cannot regenerate with the current dimensions. It's as if Pro/E interpreted the pick as a movement of the entity. I tried this many times concentrating on making sure the mouse didn't move, but the result was the same. Because the feature was inside the model and the sketch relatively small, even changing the view didn't help. Anyway, if you try again and again, about the 4th or 5th time Wildfire crashes. I repeated the problem multiple times, but PTC wasn't interested enough to do it themselves. Finally, I had to redefine the feature and make the change in sketcher (that's an acceptable work around !!!). Another great reason we need the new UI -- NOT.
Usability? By whose definition?
- The new UI is full of horrendous human factors failures. Do you want to copy a feature? Don't try Edit > Copy (though it's right there in front of you, that would be way too obvious), it's under Edit > Feature Operations. >>> Of Course! Silly me, that's totally intuitive! NOT! (Did PTC say they were following the MickySoft menu paradigm? Well, now I believe it!)
- This software TOTALLY fails the intuitive test. Even after having had the new philosophy explained to me by those who dreamed it up, it fails. Sometimes you have to select geometry first, sometimes commands. It is not clear or consistent. Menu items are hidden in obnoxious places and you have to use the Menu Mapper or you will never find things. OK, just to be clear, some things are nice, but if I can only create 60% of my model easily, I'm still mad when I can't find the functions to complete it. I personally don't think we need to accept this as "good" when only part of it is good.
- The "edit the number in the middle of the screen" idea (from the previous Sketcher) has been expanded to regular modify in part and assembly modes. It was a stupid implementation in sketcher, and I have to say it's even more stupid in part mode. Several reason are: 1) because the boxes are not adequate for typing an equation. Yes, you can type the equation, like (141.28*4)/25.4, but you can't see the whole equation without running your cursor back and forth. 2) The box appears over the top of other dimensions you may want to see or reference while typing -- especially if you are trying to use the short-cut to relations functionality. 3) There are a host of new graphics errors and other issues with this new system that don't need to occur. In an ideal world, this is a fun thing to do, but with PTC's inability to find the bugs and correct the issues, who needs the added frustration. (Why do you need to modify a value in the middle of the screen anyway? Truly it does not add to the ability to do design? With equations I like to check what I've typed just quickly to be sure I didn't miss a decimal or divide or parenthesis so Pro won't send the feature to outer-space or Failure Mode when it's regenerated.) Again, the idea is not fundamentally bad, it's the implementation that stinks.
- Can someone tell me why so many things had to be given new names? "Standard Orientation" instead of "Default View"; "Edit" (not to be confused with the "Edit" menu) instead of "Modify"; "Edit References" (not to be confused with regular "Edit") instead of "Reroute"; "Edit Definition" (again) instead of "Redefine"; etc. Heck, what was unclear about Redefine? Have there been complaints from customers not being able to understand "Redefine"? Again, a standard was created previously that is easy to understand and well accepted. Why make the confusion? Why do we have to learn a whole new vocabulary on top of all the other new things? Why choose to have 4 "Edit"s? Obviously this doesn't effect functionality, but it does go in the category of bone-headed planning and it certainly violates rules of good human interface. (Oops, I forgot, PTC hasn't heard of that.)
- Some of this I understand that it was too much to change everything. OK, PTC says they changed everything used by 80% of the users. Now, what about Failure Mode? Can you say that only 20% of users have used Failure mode? OK, I'll give them a break on that, but at least be consistent!!!! Why does it say Redefine and Reroute still in Failure Mode?? Talk about making it easy for new users (PTC's stated goal)!! Now new users have to learn two different languages to function! Duh. What is so hard about thinking through the issues? This is not a garage project, this is supposed to be a production product sold around the globe. I'm not even associated, and I'm embarrassed for them.
- Why didn't they finish the job? Reroute, Setup, all the feature operations, (and others) still have the old menus (and old names, see above), so now you not only have to learn the new paradigm, but you have to mentally keep shifting gears. (Although I have to say, as much as I don't like the old menus, they sure look nice when you're lost in the "Easy new Interface".)
- How about those new datum curves? I guess not all datum curves are datum curves any more. In 2001 (and previous versions) a datum curve by projection, for instance, is a datum curve like all others. In Wildfire, a datum curve by projection is some new thing. You can't create them, you must "Edit" them into the model using Edit > Project (is that Project or Project); but a datum curve by 2 projections is in Edit > Intersect; and a curve by forming is in Edit > Wrap; Yet the other curves are created through Insert > Model Datum > Curve. I guess a curve created by projection is not a datum curve any more even if it looks, acts, smells, and tastes like one. (And apparently it's not related to a wrapped curve or a 2 projection curve either.) --- Be Serious. All of these items create (Insert) new model datum features, so why are they created with Edit? Tell me that again, why are we separating out different types of datum curves from other types of features? But not other features like datum planes? Or axes? Why are we "Editing" them into the model instead of "Inserting" or creating them like all the other features? (By the way, That is the Pull down Edit, not one of the other 3 edits.) Are you confused yet? I sure am.
- Why are so many things buried so deep in the software? Example: How do you delete a point from a spline in sketcher? If you pick the point, get it to highlight, there are no menus that allow a delete point -- not in the pull-down menus, not in the RMB (Right Mouse Button) menus. If you edit the spline, there is no indication of being able to delete a point -- not even in the "point" pull-up menu! You have to modify the spline, then highlight the point with the mouse, THEN use the RMB menu to find it. Why so counter intuitive? Why so deep? (Oh, I see, it's so the new user will be able to do it easily -- NOT.)
- For most features requiring a sketch, the button to enter sketcher mode is prominent on the left end of the dashboard. Yet, for other features, the button to enter sketcher is buried in one of the pull-up menus of the dashboard. (Example: Project) I understand that a sketch is not always required in the way these features are grouped, however, the approach should be consistent. Also, this way requires both extra menu picks, AND a knowledge that the pick is even there.
- The select with respect to dimensions in part mode is poor. In previous versions, if a dimension was displayed on the screen, it seemed to get priority in selection so you could modify the value. In Wildfire it competes with all the other features and things on the screen. In a large model it is almost impossible to double click the right dimension the first time to edit it -- which means you have to select it with query, then right click to use the RMB (Right Mouse Button) Value menu option. What a huge step back in terms of ease of use and productivity.
- What is with the colors? Since when is white on light gray easy to see? Since when is yellow on white intermingled with light gray easy to see? Why are dimensions and lines the same color as the geometry? For that matter, why do the colors have to change? What is wrong with sticking with your own standard? Of course, we, as users can redefine the color scheme, but why? What is wrong with consistency? I don't get it.
- Why is everything yellow in sketcher? What is wrong with keeping to a standard you chose previously and has worked well? Certainly "they" should be able to see that having the geometry a different color than the dimension leaders can be a benefit? I guess not!
- What is the little "Select" dialog box for? It appears every time something needs to be selected, but doesn't seem to do anything. Even PTC's Tech Support couldn't give a reason for it to exist in most cases. In their defense, there are a few instances where its functionality is not redundant, but I've found very few. Best I can tell, it's just there to clutter up the screen and add extra confusion. (In spite of the bold statement by a PLM saying they are eliminating as many of the pop-up dialog boxes as possible.)
- A double MMB (Middle Mouse Button) click in sketcher will not return to the select mode when the constraints dialog box is open. The dialog box must be closed manually by using the close button. Why is this function inconsistent with the stated direction?
- During feature creation, the MMB (Middle Mouse Button) does not complete the feature when preview was the previous mode. Is there a reason for the inconsistent behavior?
- Why does the model tree (side window) need to keep re-sizing itself? I can't tell just when it does it, but it seems like every once in a while it just decides to go back to some default size (width). So, I move the border again, and in a few minutes it's back to the default size. That's not a functional barrier, but sure is annoying.
- Another graphics annoyance is the way the model jumps around on the screen with every change in border. Every time you start a new feature that requires the dashboard, the modeling area shrinks a little, so the model jumps to a smaller size and re-positions itself. You don't really notice it at first because you're interested in all the new things happening with the display, but as you make the transition to focusing on your work instead of how Pro/E is working, these things become rather annoying -- especially when you are ready to select something as it jumps away. In my opinion, the model should not jump around with changes in the border. The space should be reserved, or the new elements should just go over the modeling area.
- Talk about changing everything ... go to layer properties to add items to layers? I figured this would be a perfect place for the new Object -> Action paradigm. I highlighted the layer, then selected several features, then looked all over for how to assign them to the layer. Nothing. Well, after poking around a bit I stumbled on Layer Properties and decided to see what functionality was there. Wow, low and behold, that's where you assign items to the layer. Action -> Object --- just the opposite of the new PTC stated fantastic paradigm. Even when they change it, they can't make it consistent with their own stated objectives. The funny part is several years ago in consulting with an on-line CAD company, we determined that it was impossible to be completely consistent in an Object -> Action paradigm, and the more I see, the more I believe it's true. PTC, you're going down a dead end road.
- I like the changes they made to the colors and appearances dialog box by including the definition controls in the main window, but in the process they went opposite the direction the users have been asking. We have asked to have the number of visible colors increased, not decreased. Would it be difficult to make the window size adjustable? Expandable? How about the non-spherical display? Is that gone now? Or does finding it just fail intuition?
- On first loading the software, the thing is a cow. It took more than 4 times the disk space of the previous Pro/E version. Is it spaghetti code?
- On first starting the software, it would not launch correctly using the 2001 config files. I had to remove the 2001 config files just to get Wildfire running -- yes, I had to start over from scratch making new config files! How stupid is that! If there is really a problem with the old config files, maybe an auto-starting wizard to explain, then help build a correct new config based on the previous options and preferences would be appropriate? Maybe they could find a new name (other than config.pro) so those of us that need to keep using 2001 wouldn't have to move and rename files prior to starting each version? Gosh, in all the user-friendly discussions, why didn't they think of that. (Because the ones writing the specs are has-been users, and the ones writing the codes don't understand what their product is supposed to do.)
|The worst part about making a list like this is you know when you start working with it tomorrow (if you do), you'll find another host of issues. It just blows my mind that a company as large as PTC would put out a product as ill as this. If this kind of quality ever came out of my shop, heads would roll -- maybe even my own. I just can't find the words to express my disgust.
Read on with What should WE do about it?