Newsletter 2Pro/User 2000 Conference
June 21, 2000
This newsletter brought to your desktop by Sun Microsystems and Dell ComputerPeter Nurkse
Subjects for this newsletter:
Biggest single news of the day was that the 2001 Pro/User conference (in Reno, Nevada) will still be on Father's Day weekend, but the 2002 conference will not be on that weekend. The entire PTC management panel joined the applause at that news. Something to look forward to, some people coming to the conference haven't had a Father's Day at home for years.
PTC Management panel
Dick Harrison, Jon Stevenson (MCAD), Jeff Lontz (Services), Brian Shepherd (Technical Marketing), and Phil Getto (Product Development) participated in the PTC management panel, answering user questions submitted in advance. Easiest way to summarize this session is just to list major points each speaker made.
High turnover, especially recently, in field sales and service has been a consistent problem. Internal and external high sales expectations just encouraged some people to quit. More reasonable goals should reduce turnover.
The two new sales organizations (described yesterday) should eliminate the problem of UK sales and US sales groups not talking to each other, even when dealing with one global customer. There are 400 sales reps, 800 people total in the Primary Accounts sales group (customers falling in between Rand and the Major Accounts group).
Sales reps are now getting more compensation for working on consulting deals which include companies like Andersen Consulting (a systems integrator) as well as their customer. It's public information that PTC is in talks with Oracle about close integration between Oracle and PTC's PDM products.
PTC is commited to a 64bit version on Intel, and is testing 64bit versions on other platforms.
PTC is deploying WorkGroup Manager, an Intralink like product for managing Pro/E data. Internal Pro/E database management expertise is shared between Intralink and the Windchill product.
PTC has in the past included enhancements in builds between the major revs. But introducing enhancements always had the potential to cause bugs. In the future there will be two separate build streams for the life of each rev: one build stream just with bug fixes, what most customers will probably prefer, and another build stream which includes extra specific enhancements for those customers who need them urgently and who are prepared to risk new bugs.
In the new org structure, simulation products group (located in San Jose, CA, formerly Rasna) will report to Jon, and integration of simulation with Pro/E will improve, Jon said with emphasis.
PTC hasn't set a date yet for release of an ACIS translator, and hasn't completed negotiations with Spatial Technology (the developer of ACIS), but still did start work on an ACIS translator 12 weeks ago.
Pro/Toolkit and Pro/Develop will be supported beyond 2000i4.
GeomToolkit is an internal PTC tool used to create the ATB for data exchange, and it might be used to provide limited backwards compatibility.
Asked about the assumptions and process flow of PTC's PDM products, and the configuration management rules, Jeff said that the entire services organization will become more solutions based in the future, rather than function based (this tool, that module) as now. Services will deploy offerings that address process and configuration management.
PTC will be releasing a free viewer for Pro/E parts/drawings/assemblies, for Netscape and Explorer, in a month at the new Online Store to be announced.
Brian said he expects at every single user conference to explain upgrade fees. If you are content with ADPIII functionality, you're welcome to stay with ADPIII "as long as you like". Whenever enhancements are made to a package included in ADPIII, you'll get them. What you won't get is new packages, like Behavioral Modeling, or ModelCheck.
Kansas is the code name for a new diagramming product (apparently based on Medusa), for driving Pro/E routing (which can also be driven by Windchill data).
2000i3 includes strictly 2D parametric sketching in drawings (real news, lots of people assumed PTC had totally forgotten about 2D drawing sketches).
Foundation package has by intent only limited surfacing (Pro/Surface). There are no plans to include ASX (Advanced Surfacing extensions, or CDRS capabilities) in the Foundation package. Machine designers are one group who don't usually need surfacing and who don't want to pay for it.
Although in the past PTC has considered backward compatibility too risky (possible loss of data), now the company is considering a limited form, similar to Word and other products: you might get a warning, and you might lose some features or references.
Phil said if you're now moving to Intralink, or considering moving to Intralink, go ahead. If you're on Pro/PDM, then consider whether Intralink or the Windchill based WorkGroup Server product best fits your needs.
Phil said there were obvious deficiencies with Pro/Help recently, due to an internal PTC mover away from in-house developed documentation tools to new 3rd party tools. PTC will be re-introducing the graphics and figures that are now missing from the doc. Future for doc will include show me type tutorials in the doc.
3.6 won't be the last version of Pro/PDM. There will be a 3.7 version to work with 2000i3, but decision hasn't been made whether a 3.8 version will be needed for 2000i4.
Intralink 3.0 at the end of the year should fix WAN speed problems by replicating data servers. On the client side, the old proprietary GUI has been replaced by a new GUI written in C++ and Java.
There is a long term multi year project to improve usability throughout Pro/E, with changes evolving over the next two releases. The top level menu bar will be developed, with more graphics area one result.
Top Down Design(Thomas Braxton, Motorola)
Here was a major presentation which really needed more time. It's hard to understand when a lot of information is packed into a smaller time slot, and the demo in this case had to be cut short. Perhaps major presentations could be identified in advance, and given more time, 1.5 hours or even 2 hours.
Thomas also wrote a good article for the current, Summer 2000, issue of Pro/Files magazine (the Pro/User magazine), on defining assembly structure, "Mapping Your Good Intentions". If you can get a copy of the magazine (which is sent to everyone with a known address in an active local user group), the article makes a good introduction.
A key point in the article, and in the presentation, is that you should do a lot of top down design, a lot of work, before you ever turn on the computer. Pencil and paper work, even, or at least, word processing work. Defining the knowledge and rules of the engineering team. You can't capture knowledge in the Pro/E results if it isn't defined first. Define the design specs and constraints, understand design requirements, understand relations (not necessarily just geometry relations) between components, plan how components will be defined in Pro/E. A whole lot of work, capturing design intent. Not at this stage defining final geometry, but laying the foundation for the final geometry.
These are the planning steps, from the article:
So, you do all that, before you startup Pro/E. You don't even know which Pro/E tool you are going to use to capture design intent, until you've done all 6 steps.
That probably is the most important part of what Thomas said: the planning and preparation necessary to lay a foundation for what you do in Pro/E, which has to be done first if it's going to be a foundation.
But he had a good deal to say about working in Pro/E too:
Problems he mentioned, Top Down Traps: