Thursday, December 13, 2007

My "Single Central Database" approach & an Homage to "The Six Phases of Revit"

Typical Misconception:
Learning Revit is like Peeling an Onion.

Well let's take a look at that: traditionally we start by peeling away the skin then removing each layer one at a time until we hit the center. All you chefs out there please suspend your thoughts of the other 1000+/- ways there may be to peel an onion, I'm just making a point!!! :-)...Either way I find this analogy doesn't touch on Learning Revit successfully, thus: Misconception.

At a basic level I like to explain that:

Learning Revit Is Like Peeling An Onion From The Inside Out!!!
The Beginning: The Center of the Onion. We begin not knowing anything about Revit and must peel the tiniest part from around us; installing Revit. Then we transition into Phase One and we are impressed. We now have a bit of knowledge and room to grow into since we peeled another layer; "Hmmm I'm not so cramped in here... Moving on within Phase One we can quickly learn that there is another, larger layer surrounding us now and we don't like the perceived limitations (Phase 2), this can truly be like an onion; a bit spicy and can make us cry; that is until we learn to cook with it... Enter Phase 3; thus peeling another layer from limiting us, AKA learning more and learning to use Revit Like Revit!!!

Although the 6 phases are NOT a linear process (you can expect to experience every Phase many times in your Revit life) I will continue in a linear manner herein.

Cruising along in Phase 3 we get confident enough to create a family of our own... Just like adulthood & Worksets, all Family editing and creation in Revit "...takes careful planning and management..." So: Phase 4... What The Fuck is going on here.

The family editor can be a difficult mistress, no matter your level of Revit mastery; it is like a beautiful Lover that knows they're beautiful (and are a bit limited intellectually); Life is great when things are simple, fresh & new but as soon as things get difficult, or you want to do something complex, (or you don't know that your actions are creating unintentional relationships) then things can go bad quick...Remember to flex early, flex often and flex at every step... Also, it's important to know that lovers usually don't like to take on relationships that you may feel are logical (they are not mind readers) and prefer to impose their own relationships and terms on you!!! Whether or not this is true in 'real' life that's for another time but in Revit it does happen. Never fear, you're just about to peel another layer away (or one of a billion) and get to Phase 5.

Whew. Although I, personally, wouldn't call it "conquering" the family editor (if that's even possible): in any case it beats Phase 4 and the WTF-Zone!!!.

Phase 6 is a nice thought but I suggest that's really phase 5.

A zen of Revit, as I see it can not be achieved until there is truly a single model. A single database, wherein no matter the tool you use, no matter the task you need to accomplish, you access information in that "Single Central Database", no matter the format of info you need, without loosing any of the other data. (read as 'True Interoperability').

For instance: In a Single Central Database Universe 3DMax would pull ONLY that info it needs and basically ignore the rest, IES and Ecotect would do likewise, etc... That is why I speak of (and am beginning a book) "Toward a Zen of BIM".

Enlightened states are bigger than any one tool and we must think creatively and honestly and in universal terms.

As I see it, for BIM to be Zen-like, in a completely coordinated and efficient manner it must embrace the "Single Central Database" approach. The more this is endeavored toward the closer to Industry Enlightenment we will become, thus we'll earn more $ as well as gain real sustainability, not payola-realized-sustainable projects, as we can find examples of today.

So without further ado, I repost a copy of Chris Zoog's oft-cited "Six Phases of Revit" s
o I can not only have easy access to it when doing training, etc., but it is helpful in furthering many conversations and ideas I am interested in and am exploring.

Six Phases of Revit Copyright 2003 Chris Zoog

Phase One - Initial Excitement!!!
"Holy Crap! Look what I can do with this thing!"

Phase Two - First bump
"Hmmmm...? Why won't it do what I want? That's not how I do it in (insert other cad software here)!"

Phase Three - Creamy Middle
mmm... things are going more smoothly, now......mmmmm"

Phase Four - WTF stage
The family editor "eats you up and spits you out"!

Phase Five - The Enlightenment
Things really begin to click! You understand why things are happening in your model, and better yet how to control them and avoid problems. You have conquered the family editor.

Phase Six - Zen of Revit
You have mastered nearly all things Revit. You "know" what Revit "likes", and what it "dislikes" during model construction, a sixth sense, really. You spend your time exploring and tweaking advanced scheduling, OBDC, external parameters, AR3. You have a template to beat all templates, families for every situation. Copyright 2003 Chris Zoog

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