It’s exciting times out here in Dynamo-land, lots of work on the guts of the machine and finishing off some back-office refactoring that will allow for faster/more stable growth. But the really big news is we’ve gone out into a much larger world. For those of you on Revit’s subscription program, you may have already received the latest update which has Dynamo 0.7.1 pre-installed. This represents a stronger commitment between the two teams to support and nurture a tighter interoperability moving forward, even as Dynamo and Revit develop and release at different speeds. In support of this newly expanded audience, we’re releasing 0.7.2 which we very much recommend to upgrade to. We suggest a nice clean uninstall of 0.7.1 through Add/Remove programs before running 0.7.2.
Our hope in this wider distribution is to open up the world of design computation to a new audience, and to help unlock many of the tools that are available in Revit through it’s API. Now, we understand that Computation is not necessarily for everyone. For instance, when the Macro editor came out for Revit several years ago, I thought “awesome, now I’ll program.” I almost immediately found that, well, I didn’t know how to program, and having the tools available on my desktop didn’t change that! At least, not in a magical, unpin-my-hair-take-off-my-glasses-and-transform-into-a-beautiful-princess kind of way. There were new concepts and ways of thinking that were needed to get started. However, when you open Dynamo, please see that you are not alone! Along with several gentle “Getting Started” videos, and sample sets of various ranges of skills, there is a forum for questions, and a whole community of very nice people who love to answer questions. Noobs welcome!
Dynamo opens up a whole world of awesome, and it can be a big world. Dynamo is not like a new feature functionality, it’s not a button that automatically makes a more awesome stair, or solves your save-to-central issues. It is an environment; some even call it a whole language. It is a powerful harness for driving all sorts of Revit interactions, not just with Revit, but also with other applications. For instance, check out the samples data sets to see how it can move around data between Revit and Excel. For people who are new to computation, ideas around how to define and articulate rules and processes can be eye opening, and we have samples and video tutorials to help with this. You won’t master it in one sitting, but you can make some pretty kick-ass stuff in your first session.
If you are an old hand at computation and parametric design, but new to Revit, a similar word of caution/encouragement. Revit is a parametric change engine in it’s own right, and when Dynamo is running in the Revit process, it needs to play by the Revit rules. For instance, Revit doesn’t make “stuff,” or something Roof-ish-Wall-ish-I’ll-figure-it-out-later. Revit thrives on well defined categories and relationships and generally requires you to define them up-front. Dynamo allows you to work in pure data and geometry, extract and abstract information from Revit, and create and control Revit elements, but you need to define what those things are before interacting. Check out the Revit specific samples included in the application for a peak at what kinds of things you can do with Revit models.
For system administrators and BIM support folks, part of the preparation to integrate with Revit involved an overhaul of the Dynamo installation process, resulting in much smaller download with more flexibility for installation and updating. BIM system administrators should find that pushing out new deployments with Dynamo should be a lot easier with the ability to run silently. Individuals who are upgrading from 0.7.1 should make sure that they do a nice clean uninstall from the control panel and reinstall to get up-to-date with the current builds. Moving forward, keep an eye out for the friendly little green cloud in the upper right corner of the application to let you know when there is a new release.
So, there is still a lot to do. We are currently focusing on further improvements to Revit element creation and manipulation, clarity around error and warning messages, and new tools for analysis. In the development builds, new tools are on the way for exchanging work flows and expanding the capabilities of Dynamo through the Package Manager and Code Block Nodes. Thanks to everyone in the community for their support. Dynamo is and will remain an Open Source tool, depending on and built by the people who use it.