SOLIDWORKS World 2018 – Top Ten User Enhancement Requests #SOLIDWORKS #SWW18

At SOLIDWORKS World 2018 once more saw the User submitted Top Ten enhancement requests was presented as a Breakout session.   This continues on from last year, which first saw the Top Ten not presented on stage of the General Session.

We know last year that there was a strong campaign in the Top Ten, driven by a post in the SOLIDWORK Forum, titled One and Two.  There were a couple of main drivers behind the One and Two post, Rick Becker and Dennis Dohogne.  Both were at SOLIDWORKS World this year and were in attendance of the Top Ten Breakout session.  I had the opportunity to  finally meet both earlier in the week.  Both great guys.  You can read Dennis thoughts on the Top Ten Session.

Despite the thoughts of some, Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS  has not hidden from the criticism raised in regards to the Performance and Reliability of the product.   In fact they appear to have embraced it and once more have addressed it in this session.

So lets have a look at what was shown and discussed at this session

Bruce Holway – Director – Product Definition opened the session with a brief history of the Top Ten and the implementation of many of the previous requests.   A complete list of user requested Top Ten enhancements that have been implemented can be found on Dan Herzberg SOLIDWORKS blog

Bruce then moved straight into this years voted Top Ten.

10. The “What’s Wrong” dialog box, should have Links to each Specific Problem & better descriptions

9. In the sketch wiring of the 3D sketch, also consider the two points of “Min Bend Radius” and “Additional internal wire length”

8. When drawing multiple wire you cannot automatically skip the unselected wire

7. Make the feature grid customizable

6. Batch select guidelines convert to routes

5. After 3D wiring, wire markings cannot be added

4. Unbend any profile (tube, pipe, bent component) similar to the Sheet Metal Functionality

3. Coating Feature

2. Option for “Offset Surface” to offset all possible faces

1. Allow equations (including if/then statements) in defining Custom Properties

As shown highlighted above, five of those enhancements are to do with the Routing module.   Bruce acknowledged that these routing requests would be given serious consideration but did point out that much of the voting for these requests came in very late and there appeared to be some level of collusion in the voting

To allow development of the core components of the SOLIDWORKS product they have produced an adjusted Top Ten which concentrates on Pasts, Assemblies and Drawing.

To do this the first four and the tenth have become the top five, with the next top five voted enhancements have been added to that list.

To give a Top Ten which looks like this.

10. Add option to limit the Coincident Mate to the area of the face that is selected, for all types of faces

9. Close parent on “Save As and Open”

8. Make patterns consistent across the board

7. Add the ability to project any type of entity Face, component(s), Body, Body on a Place or Surface, like we can now for edges

6. Enhance the Cut List Table functionality to match a BOM Table functionality

10. 5.The “What’s Wrong” dialog box, should have Links to each Specific Problem & better descriptions

4. Unbend any profile (tube, pipe, bent component) similar to the Sheet Metal Functionality

3. Coating Feature

2. Option for “Offset Surface” to offset all possible faces

1. Allow equations (including if/then statements) in defining Custom Properties

This year saw  the Top Ten website introduce a sliding scale, to allow a voice in regards to how much R&D resources should be split between Increased Reliability, Improved Functionality and Faster Performance.   An interesting note was that this wasn’t optional.  If you wanted to view & vote on the Enhancement requests then you first had to vote.    As I said earlier Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS has embraced the need to improve the software and has not shied away from it.  As you can see Bruce was happy to enter into the spirit of the “One & Two” campaign by wearing the cap that appeared, Thanks to Rick Becker.

The result of the resources vote finished, not too surprising,  like this:

Increased Reliability 43%

Faster Performance 31%

Improved Functionality  26%

The voting clearly shows that not all in the community are happy with the reliability of the software.  What would be more interesting to see of those who voted,  how many of those are using SOLIDWORKS 2018!    We have seen with SOLIDWORKS 2018 that Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS is working on that reliability & stability.   Despite it’s size Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS still needs to balance it’s R&D resources.  I believe around 20% of the resources for SOLIDWORKS 2018 went into working on reliability which saw some 950 Software Performance Reports (SPR) resolved.  I believe that a similar amount of resources (20%) will once again be used for SOLIDWORKS 2019

Bruce then raised the issue of the Enhancement Request website.  It’s been around since day one (2001) of the Enhancement requests.  It was a “purchased” item and is at best, barely adequate!  It’s always been clunky to navigate and only allowed voting without much interaction to address the topic.    Bruce announced that there is to be a new, fully in-house designed, Enhancement Request website to address many issues.  There will be a move from just voting to an on-going discussion and development of raised ideas.   Importantly it will also allow Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS to collect and collate better ” data metrics ” (where votes and discussions are coming from, etc)

Let me side track for just a minute or too!  It was good to see Bruce use the example of what is the number 3 on the Top Ten – Coating Feature proposed by Charles Marlen.  Charles and I have had the odd discussion in regards to allowing for coating on components.  I think it’s a great idea and a good example of User driven requests.   You can see some of the Charles project on his website or on Twitter

Bruce finished with some data and information on how Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS interacts with and receives it’s feedback from the community.   A good example of that is that I personally did four (4) Alpha & Usability testing over the Saturday & Sunday at this SOLIDWORKS World.

Bruce then handed over to John Sweeney – Senior Director SOLIDWORKS Product Development to go into more about the Quality and Stability of the SOLIDWORKS product

John produced a range of data showing how they have used re-architecture over the years to reduce issues with various components of the product and the positive effect that it has had.

John went on to show how Service Packs have been used to target specific stability issues around crashes.  This will again be targeted with SOLIDWORKS 2019

He then moved the discussion onto quality and specifically coding of the SOLIDWORKS product.   I don’t pretend to understand computer coding!  I like most people just expect that when we push the button magic thing just happen! But with 21 million line of code (in the core product of SOLIDWORKS 2017 and a few more now I figure) there is a fair chance of things to go wrong!  John highlighted time frames of and for coding quality efforts

John reiterated from last year about maintaining the Zero Tolerance policy for coding of all new SOLIDWORKS features.  Something they are also going to work towards, with their partners.

John then moved on to the subject of Crashes, crash data and the importance of the SOLIDWORKS Error Report.  I have previously covered the subject of the SOLIDWORKS Error Report

John showed a range of graphics on the tracking of the crash data and how it is used to help diagnose the cause of the crash or termination. He highlighted at times that what appears to be unrelated events could be traced to a convergent point.  An example of this is the simple task of opening a part.  How difficult is it to open a part?  You would think it’s a straight forward thing,  Less so when you ask the question, how many different ways are there to open a part in SOLIDWORKS?

and the answer is …………………………….. 18

There was discussion in regards to providing feedback from crashes starting with SOLIDWORKS 2018.  The Error Report for SOLIDWORKS 2018 will display a fault module identification for similar reported crashes.  Along with the ability to show a resolution to a known problem.

Gian Paolo Bassi – CEO – Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS, spoke briefly.    He started “I’m here for the tomatoes” a light heart sentiment but an acknowledgement that there was still work to be done, to fully restore the faith to some in the SOLIDWORKS community.   In the past you might have thought that there was some irony in a photo of the CEO with a cap to his side, which made reference to problems in their software.  The way they have embraced the issue that is not the case.  Once more Gian Paolo gave support and full backing to what had been presented.  He again gave very strong commitments to ensure that they are working on the quality of the product to produce a better and more stable desktop SOLIDWORKS application.

John finished with what appeared to be an impromptu question asking if anyone has a consistent issue with the SOLIDWORKS Resource Monitor showing  the “System Memory is Critically Low” warning.    I’ve never experience the issue but I know of it.  SOLIDWORKS has an article on it.   It appears to be very random and looks to be one of those Windows – SOLIDWORKS conflicts!   If it effects you and is repeatable Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS R&D would like to hear from you.

Using a Breakout Session for the Top Ten at SOLIDWORKS World has allowed Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS to show a more human side of it’s self.  Not just the corporate giant.  It allows some of the very good people who work there, a opportunity to provide greater information, and to enter into open & honest discussion.

And that, can never be a bad thing!

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