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There are a lot of big, game changing new features in DriveWorks 15. And you will probably see posts about them all over the web. Well, you’ll see them here. But first, we wanted to show off a small feature by release notes standards that we think will be huge and game changing in its own right.

Macro buttons have always allowed us to provide the ability to let our users interact with our user interfaces. Once Macro Button images were introduced, then we could make our user interfaces more realistic using a technique that called image overlay. The idea is that you use a series of macro buttons and background images to allow the users to click on hot spots as if they were actually clicking on your product.

Razorleaf regularly employs this technique, including one interface for a pressure vessel company where the user could click on a subsystem in an image of a complete vessel (which would change with the style of vessel selected) to edit that system. The user could also click on balloons annotating the image or rows in a Bill Of Materials (BOM) displayed on the form. Each of these would bring up the relevant form in a frame for editing using macro buttons masked as images.

DriveWorks 14 added something similar for 3D Preview where clicking on a component in a 3D Preview can be used to launch a specification macro. This provides an even more immersive and realistic User eXperience (UX) for the user. Zooming, rotating and selecting in 3D allows the user to more realistically interact with “their” product.

DriveWorks Click Locations

Enter DriveWorks 15 and click locations. DriveWorks will now report back not only which macro button or 3D component was clicked, but the coordinates on that element where the user clicked. This allows the DriveWorks architect to build a simpler and more robust image map using a single macro button with a single image. DriveWorks can look up the X,Y location of the click and transform that into the point, area or item in the image that was selected.

When we move to 3D, this becomes even more powerful. The coordinates reported back are the location on the model selected, with respect to that drive3d model’s origin. Now, we can have users provide a starting point and ending point for an operation.

This is basically 3D Drag and Drop, just with an extra click. A demo set provided at DriveWorks World 2017 in Atlanta (what do you mean you weren’t there???) demonstrates this by allowing the user to click on a room floor to place or move furniture. These techniques can also extend to creating 2D or 3D layouts right in a DriveWorks form.

If you combine this with the new ability to scale components in DriveWorks, you can essentially perform all of those resizing and relocating tasks that can create a Visio-like UX. Naturally, the first Drive3D file that we created here for DriveWorks 15 is a grid. You can scale the grid to whatever scale you need, and the users can click anywhere on the grid and you will easily have relevant coordinates. Plus, it looks really cool.

So my apologies to all of the “Annual Ed Page S***iest Forms Award” winners, but there is no longer a reason to provide simple checklist, fill in the blank forms. In fact, Razorleaf has worked with the honorable Ed Page himself at Two-Fold, LLC to create 3D forms where users can interact with their multi-panel exterior bi-fold doors to not only rotate and zoom, but to also open and close doors utilizing the 3D Preview macros. It looks like someone else will have to win that prestigious award next year in the UK. Hopefully, it won’t be you.

You can read more about my thoughts on DriveWorks 15 here.

Here is Glen, Ed Page, Maria, and myself at DriveWorks World.  Thanks to Ed for his commentary.

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