95 Kudos
MegaJerk

Overhaul the Parameter Interface / Access

Status: Accepted
by Mentor on ‎11-04-2012 09:48 PM

Overview:  

 
The parameter manager, though certainly good on a very small basic level, can quickly become a nightmare if you're using more than 30~50 parameters. I propose that the entire manager is overhauled to allow for easy parameter group creation / parameter repositions (drag and drop to higher / lower levels in list) / AND parameter color labeling. I will explain each one of these three focal points before moving on to the second aspect of this suggestion (Parameter Access) to better define the goal. 

Easy Parameter Group Creation : About what it sounds. There needs to be a way for me to organize things in groups for when I'm concentrating on different tasks for my assembly. Simply having everything thrown into User Parameters isn't good enough. Even though selecting things as being key or non-key is helpful in filtering out some of the mess, you will quickly become overwhelmed when creating 100+ parameters. Though you can create parameter groups from the API, it should be accessible from your parameter manager! This moves us into my second topic: 
 
Parameter Re-Positions: Once you create a parameter, that's where it stays! Because there is no way to keep things properly organized as is, I typically find myself doing large chunks of parameters so that I can quickly know where they are at in my user parameters list. This of course goes out the window if there is something that you want / need to add later on, as it could end up being miles away in the same list. Your only option is to sort by name (if you had the forethought to name things in a systematic way), which is fine, but then repositions the relativity of everything else in the list meaning that your other groups are suddenly broken up... This is not an elegant way of doing things. Allowing the repositioning of elements in the parameter list would make life a lot easier. This should also apply to the reordering of custom parameter groups on an independent basis! While we're speaking of keeping things organized... 

Color Labeling: Assuming that you keep the basic way of handling parameters around, it means that all new parameters (though no able to be easily placed into groups and repositioned) will still get added to the master list of User Parameters. That is fine, but leaves absolutely no way for the user to see (at a glance) where things are being used. This is where color labeling could really shine. Essentially there is a new column added that shows the current color label of the parameter's row. This label is determined by the color label of group that the parameter is a member of. In this way you can see not only where an individual parameter is being used, but also where (in your list of groups / parameters) your actual groups are when scrolling in the list at a glance.  

Example Time! 
 
Parameters : A,B,C,D have been created.  A & B are both added to the group Upper_Group, while B,C,D have been added to the group Lower_Group. Upper_Group gets labeled as Red, and Lower_Group gets labeled as Blue.  In the user parameters list, in the color label box next to the parameter you would see the colors as follows. For parameter A, it would be totally red. For B it would be evenly split between both red and blue. For C and D, it would be colored in as totally blue. 
 
 
Perhaps not the most elegant way, but having words labels showing just didn't seem to solve the problem but only added more words for your to read before getting the information you truly wanted. 

 
 
This brings us to the second part of our wonderful talk about Inventor parameters. 

Access

As of now certain parameters are hidden from the user. If you draw a sketch on a Drawing sheet, you any dimensions that are placed there are practically hidden out of view from the user. Recently on the blog Being Inventive, they (with the help of Brian E.) published a means of accessing those dimensions using what is essentially an iLogic patch. This is, once again, a very non-elegant way of doing something that should be rather simple. Even if every new sketch / draft view parameters set is stored in its own separate group inside of the main drawing's parameter manager, it would be far better than the current situation. Allowing a person to interact with the parametric aspects of sketches + 2D reps of their model will help add another level of technical bliss to drawings (and perhaps even drawing automation) that can't easily be achieved with the current set of tools. 


Thank any of your that take the time to read through this, and I hope that together we can all better shape this wonderful tool that we are using here. 

(if not then I suppose I'll just have to start working on a new plugin :smileytongue: darn it!) 

- Jerk Face 
Status: Accepted

Accepted ideas [US4613] [US14414] [US14415]. Thanks!

Comments
by Valued Contributor DVDM on ‎11-15-2012 05:09 PM

I agree it could do with improving. It's basically the engine room of any Inventor design, so why not make it more user friendly as well as more powerful at the same time.

My suggestion:

To be able to keep the parameters list open on a second display, while working in the model. I want to see it update as I'm working in the model, as well as update parameters on the fly.

Also, get rid of the old fashioned  E=mc^2 and other formulas nonsense that is shown in the background. I'm not sure how long it's been around, but it's starting to look rather stale.

No, actually, leave it there under the condition that we can actually use natural maths notation in the Equation field (similar to Mathcad for example), it would really help the readability of more complex funtions.

 

Another example of hidden parameters is in Sheet Metal, and reference parameters created in Unfolded mode, aren't visible in the parameters list in Folded mode. That and other hidden sheet metal parameters that are there apparently, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the parameters list. Make all visible in their own category in the parameters list please.

by Mentor on ‎12-19-2012 07:10 AM

I agree. It would help to be able to pool together all of the parameters together in one place for a given model instead of having a totally different parameter set on both a flat pattern and folded part.

 

By creating a new variant of the parameter groups that we already have, they could create a sort of 'stand alone' group that would work as a parameter container (much like how the parameter container Sheet Metal Parameters works), and then displayed alongside any other container / group in the same window! 

 

It would also be nice to have the parameter window as a its own dockable frame so that it could be positioned where you wanted it, as well as kept active whilst you work through a document. As long as it didn’t impact the usability of the software (AutoCAD files with parametric parameters do occasionally take a foolishly long time to load / and it has a parameter dock / window) it should be a given.

 

Lastly, yes, the background for the parameters window is certainly old looking. Perhaps a user customization option or just a solid color would be more appropriate :smileywink:

 

Thank you for your input / listening!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

by Employee steven.dennis on ‎01-28-2013 12:22 PM
Status changed to: Under Review
Several ideas under here that we are considering, thanks for the input
by Valued Contributor jamjumpin on ‎02-04-2013 09:08 AM

I'd like to se an option to have the parameters window open permanently like you can with the autocad layers window. 

by Distinguished Contributor gcross on ‎02-11-2013 06:53 PM

In addition to keeping the Parameter Window open, I'd also like to suggest being able to select a parameter directly from the open Parameter Window to imediately populate a value needed in a dialog box. It's like populating a dimension box  by simply selecting another dimension (d#) you want to also use there- fast, efficient.

 

It's extra time consuming to have to open the Parameter Window, select/copy it, then close the window to populate or paste in your selection. Better to just be able to click on the value & have it go to your input box.

by Employee dan.szymanski on ‎02-25-2013 01:40 PM

As Steve mentioned, these projects [US14414] [US14415] are under review by the development team.

by Employee dan.szymanski ‎03-12-2013 01:13 PM - edited ‎03-12-2013 01:22 PM
Status changed to: Accepted

Accepted ideas [US4613] [US14414] [US14415]. Thanks!

by Active Contributor bentbrandt on ‎05-17-2013 02:19 AM

Colors in the parameter Window would be very nice!

Until then my CAD sensei taught me to always add odd decimals to new parameters in order to find them in the chaotic parameter list, especially to the hidden parameters in dialogue boxes like pattern that you can't name when you add them. I would add values like 12,001 1050,002 300,004 300,005 and so on, the change them when you spot these in the list ;-)

by *Expert Elite* on ‎05-30-2013 11:29 AM

bentbrandt wrote:
...especially to the hidden parameters in dialogue boxes like pattern that you can't name when you add them.

Why can't you name pattern parameters when you create them? I name nearly every parameter in my models as I create them, including pattern parameters. The only exception are mates with a zero offset.

by Mentor on ‎05-30-2013 11:33 AM

Using the  'ParameterName = Value' method, you should be able to (pre-)name any parameter that will be (or has already been) created.

Picture : http://www.inventortales.com/p/tips-for-short-attention-spans.html

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