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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 – Year in Review

2015 was a bit of an uneven year here on Revit Add-ons. Things were moving along at a fair clip until August, when I had to more-or-less take a 3-month break from the site to better deal with matters that required my undivided attention at my day job. That's a story I may share, someday...

Over the last two months, I've been working hard to catch up on the site, and I'm happy to say that I think I finally have.

Post Count and Pageviews

Post count on the site eclipsed the previous high mark by over 50, at 286 posts for the year. I don't know if I've ever stated this here before or not, but my goal has always been to average 1 post a day, or 365 a year. I'm happy to inch closer than ever to that target.

Although post count was up by about 39% year-to-year, pageviews declined by about 12%, from 343,615 to 300,877. This was the first year-to-year decrease in pageviews since I started the site in 2011. I think this was owing largely to my three months of relative inactivity, followed by two months of binge posting. Could there be some add-in fatigue setting in though? As a peer design technology manager recently quipped to me, "How many add-ons do you really need?"

I think there may also be a shift in popularity in the marketplace away from traditional Revit add-in applications to Dynamo definitions. A friend of mine, Rob Snyder, once said, "I foresee a day when add-ins will be delivered as generative definitions." That was in 2007. I do so admire folks who are smarter than me, especially those who see what's coming next.

Time will tell, and we'll see how things go in 2016. And hey, Dynamo is a Revit add-on too.


Branching Out

Attempting to duplicate the success of Revit Add-ons, I launched Civil 3D Add-ons in February and AutoCAD Add-ons in July. These sites have suffered even more since August though. I briefly thought about divesting myself of them, but have put that decision on hold. I'm currently eyeing a career opportunity that might motivate me to, and allow me opportunity to, refocus on these sites.

Advertising

Ad revenue continued to rise in 2015.

Revit Add-ons is ad-supported, and I'm very thankful to our current advertisers ArchVision, RTV Tools, INVIEWlabs, Ideate Software, RevitWorks, CTC Express Tools, Vabi Software, 3DCONNEXION, and Xrev.

If you'd like to support Revit Add-ons by advertising your products or services on the site, please send me an email. We'd love to have ya.

Editor's Choice Award Winners

Editor's Choice Awards are given to add-ins that strike my fancy for some reason or other. It may be because they do something particularly innovative, or do something mundane in a particularly innovative way. Or it might be that they deliver exceptional value, or because I consider them to be a best-in-class product. Whatever the case, these are the add-ins that I recognized thusly in 2015.

Early in the year it seemed that there was tweet after tweet from customers extolling the virtues of RTV Exporter PRO by RTV Tools. I joined the cacophony in February when I recognized the add-in, which can be used to schedule fully automated printing and exporting of files from Revit, and more too.

Read more about RTV Xporter PRO here »


Also in February, I recognized ViewSync from Marsh API. ViewSync synchronizes open views with the active view. Zoom to an area in the active view and other open views zoom to the same area automatically. When zooming in plan views, ViewSync not only syncs other plan views, but also ceiling plans, 3D views, and elevations.

Read my product review of ViewSync here »


In June I recognized Enscape, the real-time 3D rendered walkthrough add-in for Revit from Inreal Technologies GmbH.

Read more about Enscape here, and watch a very impressive video demo of the product here »


In October, I recognized the free Spec Exchange add-in from Allegion. In conjunction with the add-in, Allegion also has 150 specification writers around the country that will write door and hardware specifications and create door schedules for architects for FREE!

Read more about Spec Exchange here »


In November, I recognized the free hsb3DPrinting add-in from hsbcad BVBA. This add-in enables you to explode a Revit building model into logical, scaled elements, print them on a standard 3D printer, and then assemble the model by snapping or gluing the printed pieces together.

Read more about the free hsb3DPrinting add-in here »


Lastly, in November, I recognized AGA CAD's free TOOLS4BIM Dock. This add-in is a one-stop resource for managing AGA CAD's many available Revit add-in applications. It allows users to keep their software up-to-date, try out other AGA CAD products, get the latest information, and get technical support.

Read more about TOOLS4BIM Dock here »


People's Choice Award Winners

The add-ins posted about in 2015 receiving the most pageviews receive People's Choice Awards.

The relative pageviews of the posts are shown below in pie chart format.

It should surprise no one that Dynamo-related posts received the most pageviews this year, because 2015 surely has seemed like the year of Dynamo. Here's the thing though: Dynamo's only going to become more and more popular and mainstream! If you're a Revit user and you're not using Dynamo, regardless of your vocation, you probably should be.

"I think soon all architects will need to become programmers." -Marty Doscher of Synthesis and formerly of Morphosis, circa 2011

My post on Using Dynamo to Automate the “I” in BIM proved to be especially popular.


It's kind of humorous that V-ray for Revit from Chaos Group came in a strong second in pageviews this year because it was only teased for most of the year, with the public Beta being released just this month. Canny marketers that Chaos Group.

I wonder if we'll see more of the same from other developers, i.e.: products announced in the summer at RTC NA and launched near the end of the year at AU?


ViewSync was the only add-in to earn both an Editor's Choice Award and a People's Choice Award in 2015. A special congratulations to Ken Marsh of Marsh API! And check out the new free features in Version 2!


The free Scope Box Reorder add-in from Omnia Revit reorders the scope box items in the scope box selection drop down menu to be in the correct numerical order. It also allows you to manually adjust the reordering with drag and drop functionality.

Read more about the free Scope Box Reorder add-in here »


Stairs Builder by eRevitSoft provides powerful capabilities and friendly features for stair creation in Revit.

Read more about Stairs Builder here »


Color Splasher, an add-in from BIM One that filters, selects and colors elements based on parameter values to help verify model data integrity and improve visualization of non-graphical data, received an Editor's Choice Award last year. This year it's a post about an update to Color Splasher that receives a People's Choice Award.


Drag Rebars - ToRD helps to copy geometry of reinforcement bars by dragging and dropping them to the expected location on any view without increasing the number of reinforcement rebars.

Interestingly, this add-in is from the Institute of Information technology for Civil engineering (IIC), National Universiy of Civil Engineering, Vietnam.

Read more about Drag Rebars - ToRD here »


Rhythm is a free package for Dynamo by John Pierson of 60 Second Revit. I posted an overview of the package, with a focus on some post-RTC NA 2015 additions.

Read more about Rhythm here »


The free Excel Export/Import add-in, the second add-in from BIM One to make this list, allows you to synchronize data back and forth between Revit and Excel. It also means you can alleviate the data management process by delegating tasks related to the model to team members that don’t use the model. You can export schedules as well as Revit standards to manage them in Excel. Once modified, you import the data back to Revit and your schedules or standards are updated.

Read more about the free Excel Export/Import add-in here »


Chris Welch approached a complex topic, programming with Python in Revit, on his Product Spec blog and presented it in a fashion that should be widely approachable.

Read more about Welch's Beginners Guide to Python in Autodesk Revit here »

The free Convert DWG to RVT Lines macro from Michael Kilkelly of ArchSmarter converts linked and imported CAD files to Revit lines. Read more about it here »


Randomizer 2015 from dp Stuff creates random appearances in Revit by randomizing instance parameters of family instances. The way it works – it lets you locate the instance parameter that you want to randomize among the family instances in your project by selecting the Category, then Family and then Type of your objects. Read more about it here »


Congratulations to all the award winners!

Coming in 2016

I've got some new things planned for Revit Add-ons in the New Year. I'll be expanding the original content. For instance, in addition to the already established Product Reviews, I plan to launch a new series identifying The Essentials – that is, best-in-class add-ons that every Revit user could benefit from. Oftentimes this will mean comparative reviews. In example: for family/content management apps, there are well-established solutions like UnifiContent Studio, and BIMList Server, comers such as Avail and Kinship, and others that seem to fly under the radar like SPECtrum. And are there any free alternatives to these for-purchase solutions, and, if so, how do they measure up? And what differentiates a content management solution from a relatively limited content browsing one?

With nearly 1,000 posts on the site, I want to make it easier for readers to focus in on apps that may best meet their needs, and identifying The Essentials will hopefully help to achieve this goal.

I also plan to start a series on my own explorations of Dynamo. I'll call these articles DynamoTIM, a simple play on the DynamoBIM product website. If time permits, I may also write a series of articles on my explorations of the Revit API. I've had some ideas along these lines for quite some time. It's high time I got on with them.

I'll also be doing some interviews and human interest stories with add-in developers. For instance, I'd really like to do a piece on the transition of CASE to We Work. Companies can always feel free to contact me about these kinds of free marketing opportunities.

I plan to add LinkedIn to the social networking platforms that I post Revit Add-ons updates to, in addition to those I'm already using, Twitter and Facebook.

April will be a big month here on Revit Add-ons. It will mark the 5th anniversary of the site, and I have some special things planned to mark the occasion. Stay tuned!

My posts and pageviews goals for 2016: 366 and 500,000 respectively! Oofta.

Acknowledgements

Though I already credit them when I develop their leads into posts or repost information they themselves originated, I want to thank here those I've sourced, and especially Luke Johnson of What Revit Wants and Jason Howden of RTV Tools for all the leads and inspiration. Your hard work on behalf of the Revit community is much appreciated.

Thank you readers for helping me feel that the site is valued. It's a rare occasion when more than a couple days pass without my being notified of new followers on Facebook or Twitter. And that's not to mention those that opt to receive updates through Blogger, email or RSS. I'm humbled by your attention, truly.

Thank you again to our outstanding group of current advertisers:
ArchVisionRTV ToolsINVIEWlabsIdeate SoftwareRevitWorksCTC Express ToolsVabi Software3DCONNEXION, and Xrev.

And, most of all, thank you to all the developers who continue to push Revit in new and exciting ways, making our workaday lives a little more rewarding, and a little bit easier!

Wishing you a happy and productive 2016!


Tim Grimm
Seattle, WA, USA
December 29, 2015

"Not bad for a reformed Bentley guy."

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