UPDATED: API’s abound down-under


After my original post about the great work ANZAC programmers are doing with the Autodesk Revit API, a few comments (and omissions) have come my way which I included in this update.

Firstly, a long time contact of mine, Autodesk APAC Manager of Partner Apps & Services, Mr Arvind Thangli took issue with my opinion that many of the work done by API programmers are “fixes”. Symantics aside, the brief dialogue is below.

  • Arvind Thangli You have drawn me into a conversation by calling plug-ins a “fix” 🙂 I will fight to death on why extensibility and choice isn’t (a) fix!
  • Matt Rumbelow I thought that may get a response/reaction .. and touche to you too. However, looking at some of the resources that these programs and plugins address, the ‘common user’ would wonder why they aren’t a feature of Revit already. So perhaps a “fix” is more its use then a descriptor. Debate.
  • Arvind Thangli Will try – Most consumers think that companies that build products (generally, not just software tools) know everything, can take care of everything. They don’t. They can’t (time, resources). By creating tools that have certain amount of openness we allow that farsightedness and expertise to trickle in. Too preachy?

Secondly, I lamented that I left out of my original ANZAC is fellow BDO presenter Mr Jon Mirtschin. (I knew I would leave someone out!). Jon hails from Warrnambool, Victoria and studied structural engineering at University of Melbourne. However, as he is currently delivering global programming and consulting services from Johannesburg, South Africa I (mistakenly) ommited him. My #BIMbad.

Geometry Gym Pty Ltd | Jon Mirtschin | Melbourne, Australia (Johannesburg, SA)

Jon Mirtschin worked as a graduate structural engineer at Aurecon on projects such as Eureka Tower and MCG Redevelopment before moving to London. There he utilised Rhino3d used on projects including the Infinity Bridge and Olympics Velodrome

This work formed the basis of his company Geometry Gym specializing in Computational Geometry and BIM software tools including Rhino to Revit IFC connector, Rhino3d Structural Analysis Plugin to convert structural models to Rhino.

Geometry Gym develops utilities and plugins for Rhino3d, Grasshopper3d, Revit and Vasari that enable BIM generation and exchange. Installation instructions are outlined here, please don’t hesitate to contact me for advice if you strike problems or need installers for older versions. Most Rhino plugins will work in Rhino v4 as long as Grasshopper has been installed and run.

REVIT/VASARI 64 Bit Installers
ggRevitIFC2014x64 v0.1.18.msi (16th November 2013) REVIT 2014
ggRevitIFC2013x64 v0.1.18.msi (16th November 2013) REVIT 2013
ggRevitIFC2012x64 v0.1.18.msi (16th November 2013) REVIT 2012

Rhino/Grasshopper – TEKLA
ggRhinoTeklav19.0 v1.0.06 GH0.9.0005.msi (10th May 2013) Tekla v19.0
ggRhinoTeklav18.1 v1.0.06 GH0.9.0005.msi (28th June 2013) Tekla v18.1
ggRhinoTeklav18.0 v1.0.06 GH0.9.0005.msi (28th June 2013) Tekla v18.0


Lastly, coincidently I received a posting from AR Software Solutions director Andreas Ricke which I thought was fairly representative of the benifits, abilities (and value) that API programmers (and their products) can provide. I have included it below.

AR Software Solutions | Andreas Ricke | Melbourne, Australia

“Are you cynical about addins, apps, people trying to flog you stuff that you might find useful, but not at that price?

I’ve got to admit that over the years I pretty much fell into this category. Cost was always an issue, as was the functionality of the software. Sometimes the software would get close to what was needed but often it simply didn’t allow for the way we worked. Then of course the payback period could be estimated to be months, if not years.

Do it yourself approach: Therefore, when the software didn’t exist, I would set about creating the routine to automate the task. I knew that spending a few hours today would save me, and the rest of the company, so many more hours the next time the same task arose.

If you consider the costs involved in software development, using salaries as a cost base, we are probably looking at figures of $500 per day. Using charge out rates, costs go up to $1600 per day. Depending on what the software does as well as the programmers skill level and understanding of the problem, it would be rare that anything of substance could be done in under a week, and often much longer. However the savings in time, and reduced frustration come the many times the routine is used again. Hopefully the returns will well exceed the cost of development.

Provided you have the skills and the time, developing your own in-house routines is a viable option, and there are many who argue that every company would benefit from having such a person in-house.

Costs: Unfortunately these skills are uncommon and excess time is not something many companies have. If you costed this up front, few companies would be comfortable with 10’s to 100,s of thousands of dollars to put toward this in house expert.

AR Software Solutions – The guy in the corner: This is where AR Software Solutions comes in. We are like that guy sitting in the corner, except we don’t take up space, we don’t cost $200 / hour, and when we are not working on your needs we are working on someone else’s. Often the needs of that other person were a need you had not even realised you had.”

Kind regards,
Andreas Ricke – Director

(My original post November 14th, 2013)


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