Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

PowerCADD & WildTools
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Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by chip.clark » Tue May 04, 2021 3:50 pm

Our small commercial architecture office is in a similar position as many others that have shared concerns about a future with (or without) PowerCadd.
We are 95% reliant on PC, with sketchup filling in at the front end for client visualization and marketing purposes. Interestingly enough, our average office age is around 30, with our most senior individual/owner in their mid-40s, so we cannot claim a long-standing user loyalty dating back to powerdraw, but we love and value the product. We were all trained in school on other cad platforms: Autodesk products, Rhino, Sketchup, the occasional flirt with Solidworks, etc. We have all learned PC in the office, "tossed-into-the-deep-end" style, and have come to really appreciate PC for what it is and can do in the scope of our business workflow. I will be celebrating my 2 year anniversary with PC this July (you could say our relationship is pretty serious now). We do not require BIM-level workflows (but we acknowledge the benefits of it and all have some experience with it) and agree that our business model does not greatly benefit from most of the BIM platforms available. We see the front-end work of transitioning our PC projects/resources into a BIM environment laborious, dreadful, and frankly we are so incredibly busy we cannot bring ourselves to disrupt our work efficiency at the moment if we do not have to. We do not want to, thats for sure. But we might have to.

So, we check this forum each week, hopeful of some news that lets us channel some Wilson Phillips and "hold on for one more day" (sorry/not sorry, i'm a child of the 80s/90s).

But, the color-wheel of death seems to appear more each week, and we keep losing time and patience to increasing frequency of click-and-wait moments while PC "catches" up; the writing on the wall grows larger and louder and we are now making plans for a painful transition to another platform. And I am pretty sure that if we transition away, we likely will not transition back.

So I am curious, and somewhat saddened to be asking this on this forum, what alternatives are folks using or transitioning to? While we will always have a copy of PC running somewhere in the office, we are eyeing a transition to Archicad, especially with our younger/newer staff. I would love to connect with others on how they have managed transitions and any advice they might have.

And if this post gets flagged and removed due to a solicitation for "other" software, so be it. But at the same time, what do you expect after so much silence in response to the pleas for communicating future intentions of PC? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction....
Chip Clark

Howard in Durham
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Howard in Durham » Wed May 05, 2021 5:20 pm

I haven't really thought this out completely, but it occured to me that PowerCadd ought to become a user owned cooperative. I am wondering if all PC users- (I have no idea what the numbers are) could chip in some amount of money to pay Todd Stanley for the program, and then possibly hire a few good programmers, and with the aid and collaboration of Alfred Scott, bring PC up to the current Macintosh OS. I am thinking that Todd could be given a cut of future sales, as a substitute for a total hard cash up front purchase. I don't even have a good idea of what kind of time and effort would be involved, but just as none of us are writing out invoices on our Royal typewriters, as each year goes by, the idea of continuing to use PC on close to obsolete old Macs is equally ludicrous.

Todd Stanley has demonstrated his current inability to update PC, and a change of ownership, to us, the PC users, might be a (admittedly desperate) solution, with the help and guidance of Alfred. I have no idea is this is remotely feasible, so I am wondering what others think, and wonder if Todd Stanley has the flexibility to consider alternatives to letting the program sink into an archaic anachronism.

I would like to hear, on this forum, what others are thinking, particularly if anyone else thinks this is even remotely possible.

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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by poolvibe » Wed May 05, 2021 7:23 pm

The toughest part is not knowing if PC is 25%, 50%, or 75% re-written yet. According to the last comments from Todd about a Summer release of PC11, we should be more than half-way to the finish line. I hope he considers updating us on any progress that has been made and how things look for the Summer or Fall release. I have 5-7 new machine purchases to make but cant until I know the status of PC11.

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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by RTCool » Thu May 06, 2021 4:12 am

Howard in Durham wrote:
Wed May 05, 2021 5:20 pm
I haven't really thought this out completely, but it occured to me that PowerCadd ought to become a user owned cooperative...
Interesting idea.

I've gradually gotten to relying on SketchUp for a greater and greater percentage of my work, but it's still not good at 2D drafting. I've tried to start using Layout, which comes with it, with limited success, but compared to PowerCADD it's a relative toy. I keep saying that PowerCADD is the program Layout dreams of becoming when it grows up. If they only allowed plugins for Layout like they do for SketchUp, maybe some of Alfred's plugins could be dropped on it and stun everyone.

fred johnson
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by fred johnson » Thu May 06, 2021 3:04 pm

I started using PC/?WT with the 2000 version while at the same time using MiniCad and Vectortworks Architect. What I wanted was the quality of PC drawings without having to "model" an entire project and "extract" the various items for construction drawings. VWA having morphed from a 2D program did and does have very good 2D tools and with the parametric stuff has let me grow into a sort of hybrid 2D workflow; rarely do I model anything. You must understand that to get the quality of drawings, such as, say, Matt's you will need to construct a very comprehensive model to extract the level of detail he achieves with PC/WT and here you will run into the productivity vs profitability issue very quickly, this applies to all other BIM type CAD programs vs PC/WT, in my opinion. I hope PC/WT keeps evolving and continuing with a corresponding and justified price increase.

Rik Negus
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Rik Negus » Thu May 06, 2021 6:14 pm

This is Todd's reply to my email about PC future:

Here is the situation.

Work on PowerCADD 11 had been progressing as planned. However, Apple has moved to obsolete the language PowerCADD 11 was being ported into, Objective-C in favor of Swift. Most of the base of PowerCADD is written in C++ which interoperates with Objective-C. Swift on the other hand does not have interoperability with C++. The obsoleting of Objective-C has placed a wrench in the development of PowerCADD 11. At this time I don’t have additional information regarding PowerCADD 11. We are evaluating options with PowerCADD 11 and will have a statement soon about our direction and the future of PowerCADD.


So it is all Apple's fault.
Yes I would be onboard with anything that would save PowerCadd, unfortunately it is all about Todd, I want to support him but as I have said before the silence is deafening.

If it was me I would be soliciting all the support I can get, but hey I am a Canadian.

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Alfred Scott
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Alfred Scott » Thu May 06, 2021 7:54 pm

None of this is scary at all.

When you click and drag with a drawing tool, that's all C++. The dialogs are objective C which is dealing with the buttons and things. If we are to switch over to Swift, then that's not a big deal.

I'm very busy with new stuff in WildTools, and it's becoming harder to come up with new things to work on. Today I'm working on the Thicken tool using Beziers instead of polygons. Visually it's the same thing.

Matt Arnold has an idea for a stone pattern tool.


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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by poolvibe » Thu May 06, 2021 10:18 pm

Just curious. Wondering if because PC is native to C++, would it be easier to port it to Windows or Linux. I know that sounds crazy, but I would change platforms to keep PC alive.

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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Derek » Fri May 07, 2021 1:13 pm

Alfred Scott wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 7:54 pm
None of this is scary at all.
I don't think anyone said or even suggested they were scared, they just want to know when the programmers of PowerCADD and WildTools will complete the upgrade to current operating systems and hardware.

(and I now fall from the fold. it's been fun)

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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by PeterKona » Sat May 08, 2021 4:05 am

Derek, You started the thread on the 4th and dropped out on the 7th?

Here we use PowerCADD and SketchUp--a good combination. Yes PowerCADD prevents us from buying the latest computer or upgrading the OS. But I haven't seen a reason for either--until the M1 came along. Even then you might still be able to use PowerCADD on a virtual machine setup.
We don't have any performance problems with PowerCADD up to and including Mojave. I have a crash with WT offset tools occasionally--or when I hit too many command keys too fast!. Nothing new or worse than some other software. I did buy a new computer a year a couple years ago and took it back. Top of the line MBP: not worth the trouble to pick it up. Bought a refurbished 2014 later, just fine.

So rarely the color wheel or "beachball' (occasionally a quick old "wristwatch" will pop up! ) If the color wheel does show, it's because I'm hitting all those keys clumsily and then it's all over--PC won't come back.

I've looked into the idea of using SketchUp eventually for construction drawings (I just hate the idea of depending on LayOut), or ArchiCAD, or VectorWorks if I have to. PowerCADD's fine for us for now.

Hi Fred! I can't testify to BIM or not. But I do know the value of being able to put down some lines and text to get the idea across without all that.

Hi Alfred! Thanks for all the great work!

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