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Saturday, June 30, 2012

RTC NA 2012 Wrap Up - With an Eye Towards Add-ons

This was my second year attending RTC North America. I departed Seattle on a cool Wednesday morning when it was perhaps 53°. Two days later I was absolutely melting at the RTC BBQ event as the thermometer topped 103° in sweltering Stone Mountain, GA. The image to the left shows the temperatures in Seattle and Stone Mountain at 4pm on the last day of the conference. (Purple's not a good color on a temperature map...)

There was a nice vendor turnout this year, with many of them marketing Revit add-ons either as their primary or supplemental businesses. I trawled the floor looking for ones that I was previously unaware of and was rewarded with a few…

PopIcon is interesting for being the first commercial add-in to take full advantage of the more integrated Revit interface access enabled in the 2013 API, documented so well, as always, by Jeremy Tammik on his The Building Coder blog.

BIMAssist caught my eye; I would’ve sworn that I had blogged about this reseller-developed suite of tools previously but couldn’t find a prior post…

CSG BIM Cloud is an interesting cloud-based collaboration solution because it is from a long-time Steelhead reseller and is designed to leverage the Steelhead WAN accelerator appliances.

There were also other cloud-based solutions that I was previously unaware of in the form of Revit[]Connect and Assemble.

Speaking of cloud-based collaboration solutions, RTC did something very forward thinking this year in setting up their two labs using private cloud servers, one provided by BIM 9 and the other by Advance 2000. It was an innovative way to introduce many of us to working on such a setup. I had multiple sessions in each room. BIM 9 performed almost flawlessly, with the exception of one blade server dropping Internet access during a session, affecting perhaps a quarter of the class – but overall the user experience with BIM 9 was indistinguishable from a routine desktop session.

There were also add-ins heretofore unknown to me revealed in sessions. Dezi Mackey of Martin/Martin presented a lecture comparing Revit Structure exports to various analytical softwares. I previously blogged about most of the import/export add-ins that she covered, RISA, RAM, Robot (a more robust desktop version of Autodesk 360 Structural Analysis), and CSC Fastrak, but CSi ETABS was new to me.

I attended an application development-related lecture by Mario Guttman of Perkins + Will. The man speaks on very complex topics in a way that makes them easily digestible to many. He is quite simply brilliant, yet humble – a remarkable combination of traits. And I dare anyone to unveil a FREE suite of Revit add-ins that are as sophisticated and powerful as Mario’s Whitefeet Utilities.

I attended a lab on Dynamo for Vasari. The developers of Dynamo compiled a fresh work in progress version very early that morning apparently so we would have the new version for the lab. Now THAT’S service! While the lab was poorly named, Autodesk’s Matt Jezyk did an outstanding job in presenting the material.

I also had the privilege of presenting a lecture this year with my co-worker Van Woods. At the end of the session I previewed my first authored Revit add-in, Push Project Standards. Response was enthusiastic. The add-in is presently in development. There’s no ETA at present so keep an eye on this blog for the public release when it’s available. It WILL be freeware!

Push Project Standards (click image for larger version)

Networking is always one of the best things about these types of events. This year I was fortunate to meet many talented people that I had only “met” previously online; Dave Fano of Case, the company kind enough to publish free Revit add-ins monthly. I got to meet fellow bloggers Jeffery Pinheiro (The Revit Kid) and Steve Stafford (Revit Op-ed and others), as well as esteemed Revit author Paul Aubin.

The RTC board and staff once again did a great job of putting on a world-class event; great venue, great catering, great evening events, great speakers, and on and on.

It was great to meet Wesley Benn and many of the other board members, and Heidi Earl and Natasha Woodward couldn’t have been more pleasant or helpful. And if there’s another accent more alluring in a woman than an Aussie one…well, I just don’t think there is. Two words and I’m putty in their hands. Putty I say!

I also received some nice feedback on my blog. It’s rewarding to know that it’s an appreciated resource by some in the community. Thanks to those of you that took the time to come up to me and say hi.

It was announced that next year's RTC NA event will be July 10-13 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. For myself and the rest of the Seattle contingent, that will be a sweet road trip!

Chairperson Wesley Benn said that "RTC is a user conference; it's a super user group and user groups aren't about turning a profit, they're about building communities." At last year's event I didn't feel part of this community because, as Steve Stafford would say, I was "born into the Bentley family" and was having a hard time letting go. This year not only did I feel like a part of the community, but a vibrant one at that. Thank you for that Wesley!

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout out Tim it was great meeting you in person!

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  2. You're welcome Jefferey, and it was good to meet you too.

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  3. Tim, Thanks for the kind words. I'm not certain if we spoke in person, or I may have not connected you with this site, but I'm always eager to correspond with people who are using the tools. Some exciting stuff in the works for programmatically generating native Revit content from Excel data. Mario

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  4. Mario: No, we didn't speak in person I'm sorry to say. I had to run from your session to something else, though I forget exactly what (it's all a bit of a blur now). Perhaps we can connect at AU?

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