ADSK 2019 & Px Tools 3.4/4.0 update

It’s spring again. The sun is out, Rosé wine is appropriate, and Autodesk has a new batch of “updates” for us. So, a note on what’s coming.

  • Most ADSK 2019 products are available now, so final deployment testing is ongoing, and resource data is being gathered. Recipes will be available no later than these dates, and likely earlier in each week.
    20 April: Revit 2019 & Bundled ADSK Addins, Navisworks 2019 & 3DS Max 2019.
    27 April: AutoCAD and ACA, AME & C3D verticals.
    4 May: Advance Steel, Robot and miscellaneous others, as well as ongoing Addins as they become available.
  • Px Tools 3.4 will be released soon (hopefully the end of May if all continues to go well), with some bug fixes and some new features in the form of experimental tasks. These experimental tasks will allow us to experiment with the new tasks while the existing tasks remain unchanged. In Px Tools 4.0 the now polished experimental tasks will replace the current tasks. The new features to look for in Px Tools 3.4 are…
    -Rules: Rules will allow you to process or skip a task based on various criteria like OS, value of a registry property, presence or size of a file, etc. Rules will also be available in tasks like Copy and Delete when using wildcards, so files of a certain size or age can be moved or deleted, for example. Px Tools 3.4.0 will include the Delete_Ex and Move_Ex tasks to evaluate both task control and file criteria rules. Rules are being implemented initially at the task level, but in Px Tools 4.0 Rules will replace the current Directive system at the Package and Set levels as well.
    -Nested Tasks: The InstallProgram_Ex task will implement a simplified Nested Task that allows an Uninstall as a preprocess for the Install. This will facilitate moving C4R to an unbundled Addin, as some builds of C4R and Personal Accelerator require the previous version to be uninstalled while others don’t. In Px Tools 4.0 this concept will be expanded to allow any task to be used as Pre or Post Process nested tasks.
    -Shared Component awareness: Time permitting, the UninstallProgram_Ex task will be implemented with the ability to check all installed programs for shared components and only process the Uninstall if the hosting Package is the last installed Package that uses the Shared Component. This will be especially useful with regards to Material Libraries and FARO.
    There will most likely be a Px Tools 3.4.1 in late May, which will introduce some other Experimental Tasks and revise those from 3.4.0 based on customer feedback.
  • Px Tools 4.0 has been delayed for a number of reasons. First, getting it right has required a major refactoring to facilitate some of the new features, and that has been more of a project than I initially expected. In addition, things like addressing the unbundling of C4R and Dynamo has become a hot issue that needed to be addressed sooner than 4.0 would be available. Likewise addressing the issues with Revit updates when the original deployment has moved needed to be addressed. However, Px Tools 4.0 development has continued in parallel with 3.X, and the hope is to have 4.0 finalised earlier rather than later this summer. Some of the key new features in Px Tools 4.0 will be…
    Jobs: This is the major tentpole feature of Px Tools 4.0. Jobs will allow you to Conform a group of machines, up to and including the entire office or location, with extensive reporting, job processing during a set time window, and cue management so machines that are not processed can be scheduled for later.
    Multiple & Nested Conform Sets: A major shortcoming of Px Tools 3.X is the fact that only one Conform Set can be assigned, limiting the Conform Set concept to firms that have very strict software assignment policies. Those with a more ad hoc approach to who gets what software have been left out. Px Tools 4.0 will address this.
    Simplified & Improved Initiation arguments: Initiations, either by shortcuts or command line, will be simplified. Conform vs Apply Sets will be validated by code, so there will no longer need to be separate arguments. Location and Sets will be superseded with their own arguments, so no need to separately manage a supersede argument. There will be a new Test argument, that works in conjunction with a Rule to facilitate adding tasks, packages or nested sets to your definitions and testing them without also impacting regular Px Tools use.
    Logging: Logging will be improved in general, but especially with regards to the extra information Rules provide.
    Rollouts for Small Firms: The Jobs feature will finally provide a logical differentiator for a Small Firms version of Px Tools. The Single Location & Multipole Location versions will get the Jobs feature, while the new Small Firms version will not. Given that this version is targeted at firms of 15 or fewer staff, a shortcuts oriented means of Initiation won’t be a problem.
  • And finally, with RVT_2019 out now, the RFO Benchmark can progress. The introduction of 3D levels in 2019 has caused a crash in the model creation sections, but hopefully it is easy to work around and for once the RFO Benchmark can be available in a timely fashion. Fingers crossed!

As usual, Spring is a busy time for us all. But I hope it goes well, and I am looking forward to getting some new toys delivered soooooon!