How well cooked is the average major new AutoCAD feature these days?

I’ve now closed the poll that asks this question, and the results show a typical bell-curve shape with the peak clearly on “Half-baked”. There is a slight bias to the bottom end, but not a significant one.

This result doesn’t surprise me, as I’ve seen and heard a lot of user comments to that effect, and I’ve made such comments myself.  I’m not saying that this poll is definitive proof of anything, but it sits pretty well with my perception of what AutoCAD users generally think.

Now I’d like you to consider a related question. If we accept for the sake of argument that the average major new AutoCAD feature is half-baked, is that necessarily a bad thing? There are some valid arguments that can be made for pushing out features before they are complete. I’ll examine the pros and cons from my perspective later, but for now I’d like to hear from you.  What do you think?

3 comments to How well cooked is the average major new AutoCAD feature these days?

  • R. Paul Waddington

    The inclusion of ‘new/half-baked’ functionality is not necessarily are bad thing provided it does not displace or eliminate an existing command or function users may be applying, and does not impact, IN ANY WAY, on the softwares performace.

    Like many new idea(s), it is generally ‘one’ persons or a small group thing and popping an idea out there for a wider audience to use, appraise and or comment critically on is a cheap form of product/software development; provided it is being done for the – right -reasons of development not just laziness.

    An example of a ‘half-baked’ function is ‘sectionplane’. Compared to the usefulness of the ‘section’ command. If ‘sectionplane’ was seen as a way forward it should have inherited the functionality of ‘section’ and that would have made it a move forward not just another ‘piece of relatively useless icing’.

    When modelling I use ‘section’ frequently, never ‘sectionplane’; when intructing, in 3D, I do, but only alongside ‘section’ so the student can see the difference and where/how to apply each in their application.

    Caveat – personal likes, dislikes, job requirements and work methods influence MINE and other users views of every function/command in software!

  • Chris Cowgill

    I think it is a bad thing. More often than not, if a feature is introduced half-baked, Autodesk never fixes it. Spell check was working perfectly fine, you could access it via lisp, and it would recognized punctuation as part of the correct spelling of the word, what happened? Autodesk modified the spell check to this new fancy dialog, that no longer allows LISP support, or the recognition of punctuation as part of the correct spelling of a word. Mleaders are another feature that leaves much to be desired in regards to the functionality of the qleader. Mleaders added some long awaited functionality, but then it took away a lot as well.

    What is one reason for pushing them out before they are done? Testing. Beta testing is nice, but it doesnt necessarily give a complete picture of a command’s use. In my office when we introduce a new function for users, it has been tested, but I cant think of scenario during testing, so the first few weeks, there are sometimes a lot of bug fixes.

  • metis

    it’s not really either.

    some new features are wonderful, begging to be fully fleshed out, and others make one wonder why someone bothered developing it. beta testing does some of that culling, and helps iron out the issues within a command/feature however does not address the utility of it.

    case in point, the 2009 new ui. i find the majority of the new icons at least as, if not more, intuitive than the old icons, however the ribbon is a complete waste of space. from a pure utility stand point it takes more space to contain less function. it’s like buying a hummer for an urban commuter car. sure it’s kinda shiny and has a blinky blue led on it, but a waste of time and space, and as such money.

    rolling out a new feature and seeing what the general user does with it is how features get expanded and become new features. is the ribbon (aside from being a non compliant ms fanboy design) anything other than a new gui on a design center or tool pallet? i can see it being very useful for places where a catalogue of items are placed, but for a stock gui it’s terrible.

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