Building Options Wish List

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My Wish List

Building Options are a very powerful and useful tool. But I would like to see the following enhancements that would make it totally awesome. What are your thoughts about these? Do you have any other suggestions?

Drag and Drop Reorder

This is a big one. The way Building Options are currently set up there is no way to rearrange the names. All you can do is Rename them. For instance if you have:

  • Roof
  • Ceiling

and you want to change it to:

  • Roof
  • 2 Car Garage
  • 3 Car Garage
  • Ceiling

You have to edit all of the Building Options to reflect the new names. You can't simply add more building Options and then move them into the order you want them. Plus, if you have already added items to the Ceiling Building Option from the first list you will have to reassign all of the items to the new Building Option. Believe me, in a project with many Building Options this can be extremely time consuming and hard to manage.

Imagine you have 20 building Options (I have some projects with over 100) and you want to add a new Building Option between number 8 and 9. Your choices are to just add the new Building Option to the bottom of the list and live with it being in the wrong order or you have to rename every Building Option and reassign everything to the new names. Not a whole lot of fun.

Insert and Delete Options

It would be really nice if you could insert or delete Building Options into the list like inserting a row into a Spreadsheet. Select where you want the new Building Option, select Insert, and give it a name. Or select a Building Option you no longer want, select Delete, and the Option is removed. I would also like to see the ability to reassign any items that were assigned to the deleted Option. A popup would appear and ask if you wanted to reassign the items belonging to this Building Option to another Building Option. You could select another Building Option for the items to be assigned to or you could have the items moved back to the Default Building Option. What could be more simple?

Reassign Building Options

What if you wanted to change all the items that belong to one Building Option and reassign them to another Building Option? Currently there isn't any automated way to do that. What I do in that case is turn off all of the Building Options except the one I want to move everything out of. Then I select one object, change its Building Option, then use Repeat Edit Box to move all the rest of the items to the new Building Option. An automated function would make this process much easier.

​Group Options

I would like to see the ability to create Groups of Building Options so that you can turn a number of them on or off depending on the Group Selections.

For example say you have the following Building Options:

  • Elevation A
  • Elevation B
  • Elevation C
  • 2 Car A
  • 2 Car B
  • 2 Car C
  • 2 1/2 Car A
  • 2 1/2 Car B
  • 2 1/2 Car C
  • 3 Car A
  • 3 Car B
  • 3 Car C
  • Standard Bed #4
  • Opt Study (replace Bed #4)
  • Standard Master Shower
  • Roman Master Shower

I envision Groups to have the ability to turn on or off options based on the definition of the Group. So I could create a Group called Elev A 2 1/2 Car Study. The Group would specify that the following Building Options be turned on:

  • Elevation A
  • 2 1/2 Car A
  • Opt Study (replace Bed #4)

And the following Building Options would be turned off:

  • Elevation B
  • Elevation C
  • 2 Car A
  • 2 Car B
  • 2 Car C
  • 2 1/2 Car B
  • 2 1/2 Car C
  • 3 Car A
  • 3 Car B
  • 3 Car C
  • Standard Bed #4

Since Standard Master Shower and Roman Master Shower are not part of the Group then they would be unaffected. Only the items specifically assigned to be turned off or on in the Group definition would be affected.

If a Building Option belongs to multiple Groups then its visibility will be controlled by the last Group selected.

There should not be any limits to how many Groups a Building Option may belong to. Nor should there be any limit to how many Groups you can create. I hate limits. They are so...limiting.

There should also not be any restrictions that prevent you from turning a Building Option on or off if it belongs to a Group. In other words, Groups should provide an automated on and off switch for the items defined within the Group. The Group should not place any restrictions on manually changing any Building Option's state.

Hover Preview

Currently if you want to see what items are assigned to a Building Option you have to turn the Building Option on. I would like to see the ability to just hover your mouse over a Building Option name and anything that was assigned that Building Option would become temporarily visible. Perhaps with a highlight color that would make it obvious what is being made temporarily visible. With this functionality you could just mouse over each Building Option name and instantly see everything that is assigned that Building Option. No more turn an option on, try to figure out what just became visible, find the name again in the list, turn off to verify, rinse and repeat.

Save to System

Currently there is no way to save your current Building Options settings back into the System for use in other Projects. This means that if you want to use your Building Options from your current Project in all new Projects you create you will first have to edit the System Options ⇒ Building Options and replicate your Building Options, line by line. There should be an option to save your Groups along with the Building Options.

Save to System exists for Layers but not for Building Options.

Reset to System

Currently there is no way to retrieve your System Building Options into a Project that has already been created. If you wish to use your System Building Options in the an already created Project you will have to replicate them, line by line. Reset to System exists for Layers but not for Building Options.

In version 14 and earlier the Building Options were saved in a special buildingOps.spo file. If you wished to transfer your Building Options settings from one project to another you could simply copy this buildingOps.spo file from the folder that contained the Building Options you wanted to use into the folder where you wanted to use them. Beginning with version 2012 Building Options are stored in the Project file. You could copy your Project file from one folder to another but you probably wouldn't want to do that if you have already been working with the Project extensively. The Project file contains all sorts of information pertaining to a Project that may or may not cause problems with a different Project.

Export to/Import from File

Once you get a set of Building Options set up there needs to be a way to reuse them. If you could export the Building Options to files then you could build a library of reusable settings. There should also be an option to export/import any Groups as well.

Retain Size and Position

When you open the Building Options window it moves to a default location and opens at a default size. SoftPlan 2014 allows you to resize the Building Options window and you can even make it be full screen if you wish. But the next time you open the window it goes back to the default size and position. I find myself constantly resizing the window to display more information. If SoftPlan were to retain the size and position of the window then repeated resizing could be avoided. In fact, I would like ALL windows within SoftPlan to retain their previous sizes and positions. Having a default size and position is just annoying.

Retain Sort Order

In SoftPlan 2014 you can click on the triangles next to the column labels in the Building Options window and the display will sort. The sort triangles are a toggle between sorting forward, reverse sort, and no sort. The items don't actually move but their display within the window will sort temporarily. If you close and reopen the Building Options window the sort setting previously selected is reset to default. It would be great if the sort order selected were retained each time you closed the window.

Building Options Schedule

Selecting this tool would generate a table populated with all the names of the Building Options defined in the current Project. The table would consist of 2 columns. The first column would contain an X and each X would be assigned the Building Option listed in the second column. Essentially, this would be automating the tables I have been creating manually. An example of this table can be found in the Examples section of this tutorial.

 

Bill is the owner and maintainer of SoftPlanTuts.com

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