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#73931 by dhs
Mon May 21, 2018 2:33 pm
Hi,

My Space Planner macro was written after receiving suggestions for enhancing Bill D'Amico's Blocker macro, and after confirming with Bill that he had no intention of any further development of Blocker (which he tells me was originally written in 1989).
I've tried to add quite a few new options and functions compared to Blocker, and have produced a couple of videos demonstrating the new macro. I invite you to view the videos using the following links:

First video: https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=vp3hdF188EZP_Wqq&u=/watch%3Fv%3DMae1NcoSAf4%26feature%3Dem-share_video_user

Second video: https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=UPUz-IMVCYLgDJnG&u=/watch%3Fv%3D4T2nW4yjtfw%26feature%3Dem-share_video_user


I expect to be releasing the first version of Space Planner by the end of the month (still have a little documentation to finish), and will be sending an advice to those on my mailing list when it is available for download.

Although I have added quite a bit of functionality compared to Blocker, I still see scope for quite a bit more functionality to be added and intend to continue with further development of this macro. If anybody has any comments or suggestions then I would be pleased to receive them.

Thanks,
David H.
#73940 by Mark Bell
Mon May 21, 2018 7:21 pm
Hello David,

This looks a great new addition with a lot of flexibility. Something you might consider for future releases is the ability to contour search DataCAD entities, especially smart walls of a design in progress.
1. This would allow the polyline shapes and annotations to be added to floor plans, and where walls are moved the areas would auto update,
2. The polylines could then be copied to layers, a thickness added, and be reused as a room floor finish, and/or ceiling,
3. In multi-storey scenarios, can your upcoming macro allow floor by floor 'Layer' separation of polyline areas and annotations?
Thanks.
#73943 by Neil Blanchard
Tue May 22, 2018 8:49 am
Hi David,

The way that I have used Blocker in the past, is on an existing building that I have a drawing for, I use Blocker to measure the area on each type of room / area in the building. In one case, this was a nursing home, which needed a spreadsheet analysis of many categories of room types. The total usable areas needed to be compared to the total gross area, to get a ratio of the areas, of various types of uses in the building. The spreadsheet is required to show that the plan has the required size for the various uses.

Another similar situation is in a commercial building, for the area sizes of each lease unit, and the common areas, circulation space, etc.

This could also be used to get a area of various flooring materials.

The ways that I have used Blocker are all along the lines of gathering data of an existing building. If this functioned as a Smart Floor tool that integrated with the Smart Walls, that would be great - but is probably beyond what is possible in a macro. We still work exclusively in 2D construction drawings, though, and having a organized way to measure and report floor areas (and wall areas for that matter!), would be a very important update in DataCAD.
#73946 by David Porter
Tue May 22, 2018 11:56 am
What Neal said: "We still work exclusively in 2D construction drawings, though, and having a organized way to measure and report floor areas (and wall areas for that matter!), would be a very important update in DataCAD."

I second that. I use Blocker for quick, plan studies for spaces and SF and Blocker gives me the overall SF of various spaces and then allows those SF to change as I massage the spaces to get the SF down to what a client can afford or needs. And, I use it mostly for existing plans to obtain the SF table, as others have commented about.
#73947 by dhs
Tue May 22, 2018 1:41 pm
Mark Bell wrote:
Something you might consider for future releases is the ability to contour search DataCAD entities, especially smart walls of a design in progress.

Thanks for the suggestions Mark,

The current macro can 'convert' existing polylines to 'Spaces', so you could use DataCAD's existing contour search to create polylines and then convert them (the process of 'converting' simply adds a number of attributes to the polyline entity).

I will look into adding the contour search into the macro in a early update (replicating the DataCAD contour search should be relatively easy, but I had also contemplated a more sophisticated contour search that could recognise door openings etc and treat them appropriately ... probably I will just start with the easier option first and contemplate the harder one in a later release!)

Interestingly, the ability to search Smart Entities was also something that MFM suggested in an early discussion I had with him when I started this macro .... but he then went on to acknowledge that it was not possible as they had not exposed the smart entities to DCAL as yet. The current macro is written in Classic DCAL (which I doubt will ever have access to the new entities), but I do plan to convert it to DCAL for Delphi for future releases, so hopefully if the smart entities are exposed I will be able to incorporate your suggested functionality.

Mark Bell wrote:
In multi-storey scenarios, can your upcoming macro allow floor by floor 'Layer' separation of polyline areas and annotations?

The current macro can report and sub-total by layer, although it can only use the 8 character layer names. As an alternative, it also allows you to assign a 'Category' to each space and sub-total by Category (the category can be up to 60 characters long). Currently it can only sub-total on one or the other ... Would it be helpful to be able to report on Category within Layer ?


Neil wrote:
I use Blocker to measure the area on each type of room / area in the building. In one case, this was a nursing home, which needed a spreadsheet analysis of many categories of room types. The total usable areas needed to be compared to the total gross area, to get a ratio of the areas, of various types of uses in the building. The spreadsheet is required to show that the plan has the required size for the various uses.
Another similar situation is in a commercial building, for the area sizes of each lease unit, and the common areas, circulation space, etc.
This could also be used to get a area of various flooring materials.

I think this is where the macro's ability to add a Category to each space might be very useful. The report can then be sub-totalled by category and can show a percentage of area for each category. The macro can copy the report to the clipboard, so can easily be copied to a spreadsheet (you would probably want to make sure you used decimal notation rather than fractions in the macro's units settings, as I know that Excel will recognise '1/2' as a fraction, but I think it will have problems with the smaller fractions as well as distances that are shown in feet and inches).

The macro can report on existing spaces created with Blocker, so you could also report on these by layer (but the macro does not allow you to manipulate Blocker spaces, so you cannot add a category to them).


Neil wrote:
We still work exclusively in 2D construction drawings, though, and having a organized way to measure and report floor areas (and wall areas for that matter!), would be a very important update in DataCAD.

The macro can also report on wall areas (it simply multiplies the perimeter by the net z-height of the polyline).

Would it be helpful to be able to categorize wall areas (either by room, or potentially being able to define each line segment of a polyline as a different wall category and the having the ability to report by wall category as a separate report type)?
Would it be helpful to add percentage reporting for wall areas (in the same way that the macro reports percentages for floor area) ?


David wrote:
I use Blocker for quick, plan studies for spaces and SF and Blocker gives me the overall SF of various spaces and then allows those SF to change as I massage the spaces to get the SF down to what a client can afford or needs. And, I use it mostly for existing plans to obtain the SF table, as others have commented about.

One option I have considered for a future release is the ability to automatically update a report that has already been placed in the drawing (either dynamically as you change spaces, or else at the press of a single button). Once I convert the macro to Delphi it may also be possible to automatically update an excel spreadsheet as you change spaces. I'm getting the impression that these might be sought-after enhancements ?

_______

Those that I consulted with during development seemed to have an emphasis on using the macro as a design tool (creating, dragging spaces around, manipulating them etc.). Hence the name 'Space Planner'.
But the impression I'm getting is that the reporting of already designed spaces is just as big an emphasis (if not bigger) for a lot of potential users of the macro .... this is actually the way I would have seen it (but then I'm more of a technician than a designer), so I will definitely look at enhancing the reporting aspects of the macro going forward, and will also look at tighter integration with Excel spreadsheets as a possible avenue of enhancement. Possibly the Delphi version of the macro will be renamed simple to 'Spaces'.

Thanks for all the comments, and obviously I am still happy to receive further comments or suggestions.

Regards,
David H.
#73948 by Mark Bell
Tue May 22, 2018 6:44 pm
Hello David,
This all looks promising in its current form with the potential to improve further with extra features over time. A pity the coding can't work with smart entities as we use this part of DataCAD in all our projects, especially continuing the 3D/2D model into working drawings for the various plans. Hopefully there will be some movement in the new DCAL in the near future to allow third-party writers like yourself to create add-ons such as this Space Planner. Until then, using fence/area to trace the wall lines will still provide the polyline spaces as per your videos. As per the other comments noted, I also generally use area scheduling on an existing design or one in progress rather than using it to generate areas prior to design. I assume these have/will be tested for use with xrefs/self-xrefs as this is also used frequently.
Thanks.
#73951 by Roger D
Wed May 23, 2018 7:40 am
Looks very promising.
Noticed on the 2nd video, with the auto numbering, the void took on a number, but is not shown (spaces went from 1.01 to 1.03) Don't know if that is good or not, just an observation.

Like others, I currently use blocker to trace spaces after design to verify/document room areas and occupancy counts.
I could see this becoming an auto Room Finish chart generator. Maybe could add a function so one enters the occupancy rate, and it shows the resulting occupancy count. Need to look at UTube again, maybe create chart A, chart B, can be done.

Being able to do a contour search on smart walls, that would recognize smart doors/windows as also defining the space area would be a great improvement.

Also be able to customize the room label, maybe using a symbol (user defined) and the macro fills in the labels.
#73957 by dhs
Wed May 23, 2018 12:30 pm
Thanks for your comments Roger.

You are very observant about the room number after the void - I had not noticed that.
The video is actually wrong in that respect: What has happened is that I found myself incapable of talking even for a minute or 2 without hesitating or saying or doing something wrong, so the video was produced in small bits (typically less than 30 seconds) which were then stitched together. I probably made a mistake which incremented the numbers after doing the bit of video with the void, and didn't think to reset the numbers before producing the next snippet. Voids do not actually increment the numbers.

In regard to room labels, they are highly customisable as is, with different data, fonts etc being able to be specified for each line. The interface for specifying text style (font, size, slant etc) is a bit clumsy (and does not allow the selection of True Type fonts).
I can see the attraction in using a symbol. It would allow even more customization and would probably be a more intuitive interface, so it is something I will consider for a future release.

Regards,
David
#73963 by Neil Blanchard
Thu May 24, 2018 8:06 am
The limitations of Blocker as I used it were the number of room names that it would "remember", and the need to manually transfer the areas (or other data about the spaces) to a spreadsheet.

The main feature of Blocker that makes it so useful, is the ability to edit the spaces, and when you open the macro, it updates all the data. If that updated information could be automatically - or just a click or two to get the updated data into the spreadsheet - then Spaces would be a killer macro.
#73966 by ORWoody
Thu May 24, 2018 10:37 am
This seems like such a useful macro that there will be a lot of people that can't live without it.
Being that the "supply and demand rule" is always in play, I'm going to need to start saving my zeros to put after the dollar sign and some number. As great as this looks, it can't be cheap.
Thanks for putting this one together.
#73967 by dhs
Thu May 24, 2018 12:56 pm
Thanks Oran,

If I charged you a cent for each line of source code in Space Planner then it would be a bit over $120 .... but of course, like all my recent macro efforts, this is free software (not to say that I don't appreciate financial contributions from those who find my work useful! ... but there is certainly no requirement for users to contribute).

Version 1.0 of this macro has now been released, and there are video links as well as a download link on the page at http://www.dhsoftware.com.au/planner.htm. The second video has been updated (thanks Roger for pointing out the error in it), so the second video link in my original post is no longer valid.

Best regards,
David H.
#73980 by dhs
Sun May 27, 2018 5:59 pm
I have released a minor update to the Space Planner macro. The new version (1.0.1.02) provides better handling of rectangular spaces that are not parallel to the axis (it reports the dimensions of these correctly, and also there is a new ability to use rectangle input to create angled spaces when using the Key Size option). For non-rectangular spaces it still reports dimensions based on the X & Y extents (same as Blocker).

I have received many suggestions, both on and off this forum. I do intend to act on a lot of them. This was an easy change, but most suggestions will have to wait for a major release...

The new version can be downloaded from the http://www.dhsoftware.com.au/planner.htm page on my web site for those that are interested.

Rgds,
David H.
#74147 by Roger D
Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:21 pm
Will you be supporting the stacked fraction for dimensions?
#74161 by dhs
Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:25 pm
Hi Roger,

Being in a metric country, I hadn't even noticed DataCAD's stacked fraction option for dimensions.
It should be possible to support it, but will be a bit fiddly to implement as it effectively means producing 4 entities for each fractional dimension (as well as managing the 4 entities each time a dimension needs to be updated).

I won't be supporting it in the current Space Planner macro, but I am currently working on a new D4D macro with extended capabilities (compared to Space Planner) and I will certainly look at including a stacked fractions option in that macro.

The new macro will include most of the suggestions made in this thread as well as plenty of other enhancements when it is released (but that is likely to be several months away).

Best Regards
Davud
#75132 by John Daglish
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:55 am
Thanks for the space planner macro.

Can the text and corresponding drawn rectangle or polyline (and with void) be linked such that when you do an identify both entities are highlighted? and an identify button included in macro? It becomes a bit difficult to remember what space/perimeter with complex and different space calculations eg some include internal walls others such as passivhaus dont, attached garages include the internal wall building regs calcul, planning is different, .... With a visual highlighting the perimeter and text can be confirmed.

Once again thanks for the macro.

John

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