In the CONNECT edition of Microstation, launched in 2015 and completed this year by 2016, Microstation transforms its traditional lateral menu interface into the top-level menu bar Microsoft Office. We know that this change brings its repercussions from the user who knew where to find the buttons, as happened to the users of AutoCAD in 2009, although according to what has been seen in the presentation events, if there is something that has well smoked Bentley Systems is your strategy to integrate changes gradually and sustained for a long time.
We can remember the case of the DGN file that has only had three changes in 36 years. The IGN of 16 initial Intergraph bits from 1980 until the DGN V7 of 1987 appears with 32 bits, the DGN V8 that was implemented in 2001 when it passed to 64 bits, which is already 15 years old.
At the level of substantive changes (Without going into details of 35 years) of the platform the behavior is approximately every seven years, it can be remembered of Microstation 95, Microstation V8 in 2001, Microstation V8i in 2008 and now we have Microstation CONNECT edition that is launched in 2015 and is fully integrated in this 2016 according to the they have shown at the London Conference.
For now I'm interested in taking a look at the interface change, which has left me somewhat surprised at first sight; although the transformations of V8i to Connect are many, highlighting the adaptation of the different lines on Geo-Engineering in the context of BIM Infrastructures, concentrating its three main products: Design (Microstation), Management (ProjectWise) and Life Cycle (AssetWise) and especially passing the licensing model under the concept of Software as Service.
The closeness of Bentley with Microsoft
Microsoft may not have been the inventor of that interface with Ribbon, although people associate it by saying "Microsoft Office 2010 style" and therefore it was popularized to the extent that many tools today have their function interface in that way. So, the recent closeness of Microsoft with Bentley will have some influence. But the fact that I have seen Microsoft with its core cloud, its HoloLens, its surface git screen and its emotive presentations at the Infrastructure Conference since last year, in my conspiratorially geofumed perception, when Bentley goes out to the stock market the other year, Microsoft will want much more than selling ProjectWise licenses over the Azure cloud. This is how it works, although with the mystique of a CEO who has thought very well so that the dream of his life does not die; and this is evidenced by seeing Trimble, Topcon and Siemens with links of complementarity that go beyond the traditional approach.
What is the advantage of the Microstation Ribbon
Sincerely, Bentley always resisted to have an interface similar to the tendency of the others, so that the vertical menu previous to V8 happened to be a side menu in V8i, with more facilities of access to tools in function of workspace. But it was always uncomfortable to look for buttons for newbies, so the top Ribon theme is a useful change, considering that the logic of single windows following the flow of commands does not change. In the end, this type of menu is already so popular, that at least it will not be necessary to reeducate the users.
It is also important, that many things of the workspace options were hidden there now can be seen more friendly on the start menu. And finally, it is important to value, that the menus will not be so specific to the platform that, due to the change in screen size, they were a problem for a long time.
So, what we have above is the workflow dropdown, Quick access toolbar, Ribon tabs, and a search box that is activated with F4, the best to go forgetting the key in.
Maybe this will allow users to really take advantage of tools that were out there. At least it seems to me that they have given many more features to the "Explorer" menu, with which many things have always been managed, such as line styles, texts, dimensions and objects, but which, apparently, is still ignored. They have implemented very useful things, such as the ease of generating links between sheets of maps (layouts) with simple drag and drop, which can be done not only with internal objects of the drawing but with external files such as images or office documents (word, excel and powerpoint).
It is interesting that when handling sheets they have added the option to generate a dynamic table of all the plans that are included in the project, being able to be placed as an index plane with hyperlinks to all these views, a map index or a conceptual index . Likewise, enter tables in dgn, excel or csv associated with the objects of the drawing, including lengths or areas to be integrated into the quantification of works and budgets. I always found this very unhelpful, but I may change my mind, now that it is possible to connect to projects via Bentley Cloud Services.
For professional users there always exists in the corners of the menu blocks, the option to raise the floating menu; Additionally there are tricks for keyboard navigation and customization of functions.
It has also been added to the explorer, greater functionalities to the attributes called «items», with which the objects can be labeled, such as «column», «beam» «rod 1 / 4», etc, allowing searches of all the objects of a specific type or their geometrical properties.
And as is done with Office, in the "file" option, you can see the normal functions of opening, saving, sending, etc. But also the access to the properties of the workspace that only the specialists knew how to find; now with many more management options such as the allocation of gestures and variables.
When the program opens, an interface with examples, video tutorials and links to news appear. You can open the files of the examples here, or open a specific file; Even when the work file is closed, it can be interfaced again. ... but where had I seen this with a black interface? XD.
This welcome page is connected to the Bentley Learn training server indicating the level of experience, a great learning option; Additionally the RSS feed allows Bentley to keep users abreast of official announcements, and at the bottom access to social networking accounts and Bentley Comunities.
Those who know the term Benchmarking and other tools in the market will see that these changes are not totally innovative. However I must admit that something Bentley does to ensure that the platform feels very fast, consume less memory and ... although I criticized both the AutoCAD 2009 ribbon, I must admit that now Microstation looks less weird.