I haven't seen 2005 yet. My boss is finally talking about releasing some
money to upgrade from ADT 3.3 (maybe the economy is improving after all).
Looking at Revit and ADT. I see that upgrades to the Details module are a
big part of this new ADT release. Apart from supporting MDI, what is
improved? Has lots of new content been added? Can anyone who has used Revit
and ADT comment on the relative merits of detailing in each, including the
libraries? Has ADT come close to Revit in terms of revision management?
If you mean 'detailing' as in calling predrawn whole details automatically from a database, then this is something in the new ADT 2005 that Revit doesn't have. In Revit you have to manually find the detail you want and bring it into your project.
If you mean 'detailing' as in generating new details in the first place, then some of the new features in ADT 2005 bring it closer in some ways to how one details in Revit, and takes things a little farther in certain cases. In both now you can grab standardized detail content, like wide-flanges and such, from a library and place them into your details.Very handy. In ADT you can even keynote stuff automatically, so when you then point to that wide flange it calls it out as such. Can't do that automatically within Revit in regards to simple detail compents (but you can if it's something actually created as part of your building).
ADT 2005 has nothing on Revit when it comes to Revision Management. Sure there are 'sheet sets' and such that add some level of Revit-ish functions to ADT, but it still requires a great deal of set-up and management, and it's still not fully bi-directional (for example in Revit I can change something in my details/callout/sections and have that change the building, and that callout will be automatically generated, numbered, and managed for me...). That's where Revit really shines, is the ability to make changes wherever you want and have the software do the work for you...
I'll post more when I've got more time. But I would recommend that you download the Revit Trail, and go through some tutorials on detailing so you get an idea of what I'm talking about and to see if it's a better approach for your firm.
I found that once I learned how to work in Revit that it was vastly faster for me to produce details in it rather than in AutoCAD- to the point that a lot of the details I drew for a big state project being done on AutoCAD were drawn in Revit and exported out. This is due to the way that Revit 'helps' you draw, the ability for detail components to find and snap to each other, and many other benefits of using a BIM vs. a more traditional Drawing solution. Work with Revit a little, and try drawing some details with it, and if you're coming from a heavy AutoCAD background you'll hate it at first but soon find that you're producing a lot more work in the same amount of time, even when it comes to simple 2D details drawn from scratch... and when it comes to detailing off the model, then watch out! :-)
As for ADT 2005, it has the ability to make keynotes that know what they are pointing to and a database-driven detail library that's pretty powerful in it's automation and ability to pull up what you need just by clicking of stuff within your drawings. It's a feature I'm rather jelous of. However it's a lot to set up and manage, and creating those details and bits in the first place I feel would take longer than it would in Revit, so unless you've got the support and time to set up the system this feature of ADT 2005 might not really be that useful for you, for you wouldn't be able to fully leverage it or it would cost more to set up and manage than it would gain you in efficiency...
The other MAJOR difference is that in ADT 2005 you're still just drawing stuff, and while you can generate details from your model, those just become static flat blocks. In Revit, if I cut a wall section, and then detail the heck out of it, but then that wall changes construction or something I can go back to that detail, change the wall there, have it then change *everywhere* within my project. Soooo let's say that the client has decided for cost reasons halfway through DD to use CMU on the exterior walls instead of metal stud. Changing all those wall details in ADT or AutoCAD mean redrawing and regenerating a bunch of stuff. In Revit, I grab one of those walls in any view, plan, section, detail, whatever, I tell Revit that the wall is now using CMU instead of metal stud, and on every single one of my wall sections it's now showing CMU- now I only have to change some notes.
One thing I talk about when showing Revit to people (I work for a reseller now) is that a decent hand-drafter and someone back in the day using AutoCAD 12 could almost stay neck-and-neck (and sometime the hand draft could go even faster) when it came to putting lines down on paper. But the moment there was any kind of revision or change the person on R12 was now way out in front, for they simply had to push some lines around and change some text, while the other guy was still getting out his electric eraser. Now, with Revit, the situation is almost the same. a decent ADT user can stay neck-and-neck with a Revit user in terms of generating Construction Documents (and sometimes the ADT guy can go even faster). But the moment there is a major design change, the Revit user will be way out in front because they can globally redefine and change things in any view very quickly, while the ADT user is still waiting for their section views to regenerate.... ;-)