Two years ago I taught a House of Style class at AU that spent almost the entire time discussing profiles and profile views. Up through 2007, getting these styles right was a pretty big headache. The sheer number of options, in conjunction with some pretty obtuse dialogs made for a lot of trial and error work in getting it just right. With 2008, the team in Manchester has drastically changed the interface for this monster, so let’s look at the improvements after the jump.
Profile Views have expanded functionality in the ability to generate a split profile view automatically. Because of this, the new product will ship with First, Intermediate, and Last Profile View styles. These are designed to be used in a typical left-to-right configuration, so if you do a lot of right-to-left profiling you’ll need to make a new set.
If you look at the dialog at right (and I hope I can keep them all working to expand, but I’m writing on the plane, so let me know if one goes south,) it looks pretty much the same, except that cool Created By entry.
One change in all styles in 2008 is the ability to edit the Created by field. So if a user creates a new style that you want in your template, you’re no longer committed to his name showing up forever. Simply click and edit the name as you like. After entering a good description and new name in, let’s just to the next tab.
The graph tab is pretty dull, but it does make it a bit easier to determine which way this style is intended to be used, and gives us our first hint of the nifty preview icons to come. Jumping to the Grid tab, we’ll see the full use of those previews.
Holy cow, is this great or what? Just about every wishlist item a client has asked me for in terms of grid support is now in here. Clipping the grid in the vertical and horizontal? Check. Grid in the buffer zones? Grid padding in less than whole major units? Axis offsets? Hail Caesar.
The additional cool part is the the small previews update in reaction to your settings and help indicate what change you are making. Compare the left Vertical Grid preview to the right Horizontal Grid preview. This is the kind of stuff that makes my little usability heart go all pitter patter. Let’s put a title on this thing and see what else we can do.
The Title Annotation tab now controls the main title for the graph, using a familiar text component editor and the same positioning information. But the Axis title text is now controlled on this tab instead of on the individual tabs for horizontal and vertical. Check out the preview icons again. Note the little red text in the preview graph matches up with the selected radio button and gives you visual feedback as to what you’re modifying. Usability baby. It would be nice if the individual preview here would show the text being created, but that’s being pretty damned picky. Moving on…
The individual axis labels aren’t drastically different, but the preview feedback gives you a very obvious indication of what you’re modifying. One additional checkbox on horizontal axis allows you to put labeling in at the first station point on the alignment. If you’re butting segments like I am in my views, you might not want to have this turned on in the middle style. One thing to remember when building up your view styles is that the bottom tick intervals control the horizontal grid spacing. This can be a real bother if you’re not paying attention.
The same hint applies to the vertical grid, except that it is the left intervals that control spacing in the vertical grid. The controls for text positioning are unchanged, but that’s OK. We haven’t found a label style for the grid at least that couldn’t be handled with the current setup.
On the display tab, we have a few more options to display. The gang has added components for the optional display of Horizontal Geometry Point Labels in addition to the simple ticks we had previously.
All in all, there’s a lot going on here, and I hope you’ll find something that makes your setup easier.
And just so you know we haven’t forgotten, this is a pipe network. And I didn’t trim any lines or do any masking. It’s almost release time and that means that the entire EE team is getting ready for rollout time. We’re a little slower on the output, but we’re still your source! See you soon.