You guys know I love a good soapbox rant, but I love a good debate almost as much. This morning the one-year release cycle came to the front of the Discussion groups as a user was looking for a way to deal with 2010 dwg files in an older version. Sinc’s an advocate for change, but personally, I think he’s too narrow in his vision of the product’s worldwide and industry wide scope. I’ve put in the major points here as quotes, but I hope you’ll join the debate in the comments section. Make the jump to read the thread.
It started with Matt Kolberg posting:
It would take an enormous effort to make everything backwards compatible. It would effect the price of the software negatively. We could think of maybe showing the new objects as proxies and allow us to add objects from the current version. I have no idea what goes on under the hood, but I doubt it’s a conspiracy. I just think it’s pretty tough to make everything
Sinc replied :
It could be done without having a dramatic impact, but not without fundamental changes to the current design of Autocad. At this point, it would take extensive rewriting of existing code, including a lot of code that has been there for years or even decades, and essentially require a replacement of much of the current “DWG technology”. That’s probably why it is considered to be “not worth it”, despite the nightmare it creates for the users.
That’s why I’m such a big advocate for a change to the annual release cycle. A new incompatible release once every two years would create less than half as many problems as we have now. If we must have incompatible releases, it would be much less disruptive if we had fewer of them. Then just give us more in the way of Subscription Advantage Packs in those off-years that don’t have a new release.
So of course I took the contrarian view (cause that’s how I roll,)
Would you be willing to wait two years, or likely four for new features to be considered? As a rule, new full-blown features can only be included at full releases, based on the language and support requirements. There is a certain amount of flexibility afforded by the current system that allows Autodesk to focus on market requirements and
user demands much quicker than they could in a two-year cycle.
I’m not saying there aren’t problems with the annual release treadmill, but I think many people overlook the advantages in terms of their own demands.
And Sinc”s last post (before I pulled it here.)
I don’t really understand why those are the only choices.
Why can’t we have a major release every other year, with a major add-on upgrade in the off-years? One that doesn’t require a new incompatible format every year. True, that won’t work with the three-year DWG format cycle, but that was always rather artificial, too.
It is frankly impossible for every company to switch versions of C3D at the same time. Working in multiple versions of C3D at the same time is distasteful on many levels. But working with others who are on a different version of C3D is pretty much impossible. A two-year cycle would naturally result in a lot fewer disconnects, as people would tend to switch more together. As it is right now, there are an awful lot of people who seem to be skipping every other release, and that causes problems when one company is on odd-numbered years, and another is on even-numbered years, and they need to do a project together.
This problem may not be so bad yet, but I think that’s only because hardly anyone is using C3D right now. Personally, I think the software has gotten much better, and a lot more people will start to adopt it in the near future. As more and more people start using this software, this problem will get bigger and bigger and bigger…
Not to mention, all of those people are going every other year without even getting bug fixes, under the current system. Every other version simply sits on a shelf, and they wait it out. It seems to me like things could be done better. And a two-year major release cycle may give Autodesk more time to focus on making sure new features are stable – after all, stability is the most important factor in making this software usable. Right now, stability and reliability are far more important than new features.
So, what’s your take? Throw in some comments, I’m curious where this falls. Have any of you seen the pleasure in new features that addressed your market? Seen changes you liked in the annual release? Remember complaining, “I paid Subscription money but didn’t get a new box?” I’ve got some more thoughts, but I want to hear yours first.
Get your rant on in the comments below!