Why are there no LEARN MDL training resources?

Why are there no LEARN MDL training resources?

Haven't Bentley held any MDL training courses in the last decade?


I went to a 5 day course back in '92 and a 3 day advanced Course in 96 (held by Koreenreef in hoofdorp?)

Surely there is a enough difference to warrent a MDL Update or another Advanced MDL course where changes in the latest V8i & CONNECT versions can be explained.

In the 90's MDL was openly available and some of the best utilities were created outside of Bentley.   Select By,  matching elements with tentative, exchanging files, Fence from shape, etc.

They are now part of Microstation.

  • Hi Karsten,

    my (more and more pesimistic) opinion is there are two main reasons: For many years Bentley have no strategy for 3rd party developers and they don't want / are not able / have no person to manage dev community.

    Long time ago developers were important for Bentley and they were partners. It was win-win relationship, because exactly as you wrote, many ideas were transformed into applications. Some were incorporated into MicroStation, some others were developed further into complex solutions. It all led to the situation where MicroStation (and  other products later) were widely accepted because gaps and niches (like local specifics, specifications, rules etc.) were easily solved. This is not true anymore, Bentley actively limited number of developers and don't care about any community development. Because of that, Bentley has lost their position over last several years quickly in favor of more flexible solutions with better local suppor (and the most of 3rd party developers are nothing else than special local support).

    In Bentley there is even nobody brave enough to formulate clearly and publish it what rules, strategy and approach Bentley applies to external developers (I don't count so many "we are listening carefully" posts without any results). Compare it with competing CAD and GIS solutions: They all offer some API for free for everyone and (which is far more important) precisely and openly explain difference bettween free access and formalized partnership. There are some exceptions (just a few) where a partnership is always required, but in such case all information are available on web.

    Today all companies are hunting for developers and their ideas. Not only Autodesk and ESRI, but also such giants like Microsoft or Siemens are motivating everybody to try and use their platforms, API etc. Of course 90% of all code is valuable for an author or company at best, but from the last 10% will be 9% critical to local success (local standards and regulations, transfering of popular tools from competing platforms to preferred one etc.) and the last 1% will develop into international success. Bentley? Visiting a web is disaster, there is zero information, only marketing formulations and "contact us" ... why to bother when other offer more information automatically?

    Unfortunately this problem is multiplied by Bentley's conviction their solution is "complete" and no extension/integration/customization is required (as it was explained to me by several Bentley sales guys I talked with). I remember several big companies that thought the same in a past and today they don't exist (Intergraph is classic example). Others survived, because they changed: Originally very closed Microsoft now supports as many other platforms and technologies as possible, even IBM, HP etc. opens and try to cooperate and intergrates their HW and SW solutions etc.

    Back to your question: When there is no strategy (long term aims), consequently the tactics (how to act locally / how to follow strategy) is naturally missing also. Especially when sales strategy is oriented in opposite direction. The learning materials and workshops etc. are tools how to fulfill long term strategy, so they don't exist in case of Bentley.

    Unfortunately even if you become BDN partner, the situation is not better. If I counting right, 3 persons have been BDN directors in last few years. Nobody (repeat it: nobody) bothered to communicate with BDN member in any way (even anthing like "Ciao, I am new BDN director and you have to listen me" ;-). That's also a proof how important the developers are for Bentley. In time when all other companies have dedicated developers' blog/news channel or twitter and directors and product managers use them to keep developers' interest at their platforms.

    From my perspective Bentley are like a farmer who don't like "just born chickens" (pullet?), because they require too much care and there is no immediate benefit. So he doesn't invest into hens, their feeding etc. But in future he will find less people is interested in his farm, because why to visit it and to buy something (goose, ham...) when there are no eggs and chickens for sale? His wife is not able to cook cakes to make visitor happy and interested in to visit the farm again (remember, no eggs and it's expensive and embarrassing to buy them from other farmers). And because less people is visiting the farm, he will sell every month less and less other products, because people will go to another farms with more complex offering that are able to cover even unusuall local requirements and needs. I am not sure about the end of this tale, but probably I will be somewhere else at a time when the end will be known.

    I apologize for not optimistic comment (I tried to to find something optimistic, but I ended with a growing number of my dev projects not related to MicroStation based on C++, C# and typically some amount of open source platforms, with greener grass, better supported community, more tutorials and shared vision and strategy ... but it's not answer related to MicroStation).

    With regards,

      Jan

  • Hi Jan,

    So we agree there should at least be an OnDemnd MDL basic and MDL advanced course?!

    So who in Bentley do I have to talk to to ask that such OnDemand courses are created?

    Would Greg Bentley be someone to email?  The main BDN guy has left.  
    I think just asking the question here is insuffienct.  


    Does anyone know if VS express can be used  with MDL CONNECT..  
    V8i is the last version you can compile without  VS.


    There is a cost to VS pro, so MDL is now less available to CAD users.  
    VS xpress doesn't share the compiler it seems so doesn't work with MDL out of the box.

    Are there any work arounds so VS xpress can be used?

    I'd use my home laptop but that is windows 32 bit and I'd need to rebuild it with 64 bit to run CONNECT.

    My work laptop is 64 bit win 7 enterprise and can't run the community version of VS.

    Did get corporate IT to install VS xpress but it won't work with MDL CONNECT.

    When I used to program MDL back in MSV4  MSSE days it was mostly at home.  

    With CONNECT not running on 32 bit I expect even less people will  use MDL.

    Karsten

  • Hi Karsten,

    with some delay (summer time seems to be unexpectedly busy ;-)

    So we agree there should at least be an OnDemnd MDL basic and MDL advanced course?!

    I am not quite sure whether the request should be formulated in this way. In my opinion the core question is what is Bentley strategy (long plans and targets) in support of 3rd party developers. Everything else like what API will be available in what terms, how to work with community etc. are just consequent dependning activities.

    The second question is what do you mean by MDL. This abbreviation have had different meanings in different MicroStation versions and today (in CONNECT Edition world) it's "everything that can be used to develop applications for MicroStation", so it spans from VBA over NET to native C++ code. And it's the reason I don't like this name and probably "MicroStation applications development" is less confusing.

    On a general level you are correct, there should be some tutorial "how to start with application development" for every API. All Bentley competitors provides clean overview and structure of development access including intro and training materials, often for free. Not always they created them, it's better to motivate community to create own ones (e.g. blog series etc.). But lets say that 0.1% of all developers are "writing capable", so when you A) demotivate and confuse all developers and B) do not communicate with them at all, this number will be even smaller and the community itself will be pretty tiny.

    So who in Bentley do I have to talk to to ask that such OnDemand courses are created?

    I don't know. BDN program does not exist, there are no information about structure, people, I have not received any update (and I assume it's the same for all developers) for years. Bentley don't care about 3rd party developers at all.

    The only exception exists: Robert, Artur, Yongan, Paul and others do great job in terms of technical support, but it's "the lovest level activity", more like staff trying to save sinking ship when its captain don't care about ship, people or anything else ... and in fact nobody knows whether captain position exist and what he has done :-(

    Does anyone know if VS express can be used  with MDL CONNECT.

    Because you did not specify what do you mean by MDL (whether native C++ or something else), your question cannot be answered.

    When talking about native C++, I guess it's not possible. At least it's not supported officialy. It's exactly specified that Visual Studio 2015 has to be used to develop native C++ application for MicroStation. Visual Studio 2015 Professional is the standard, but I guess Community Edition can be used easily.

    V8i is the last version you can compile without  VS.

    You are talking about MDL in terms of "pseudocode", which is technology, that was marked as obsolete in V8.0! and recommended to don't use at V8 2004 Edition, so nearly 15 year ago! Visual Studio is standard tool (and Community is free under specified conditions) so this is not issue.

    VS xpress doesn't share the compiler it seems so doesn't work with MDL out of the box.

    Don't think about Express edition at all, it's very limited tool. Community is the way to go.

    Are there any work arounds so VS xpress can be used?

    I am not sure, probably there is some way, but why to try to use unsupported tool?

    I'd use my home laptop but that is windows 32 bit and I'd need to rebuild it with 64 bit to run CONNECT.

    MicroStation CONNECT Edition is 64bit application, it was discussed about 4 years ago there will be no 32bit version.

    And to switch from 32bit to 64bit Windows is free, because Windows license is not "bitness specific".

    My work laptop is 64 bit win 7 enterprise and can't run the community version of VS.

    It seems it's (again) your problem. Visual Studio 2015 (I guess including Community) is certified for Windows 7. But you did not specify what Windows 7 version do you use. You have to use Service Pack 1 to install VS.

    When I used to program MDL back in MSV4  MSSE days it was mostly at home.  

    Nothing protect you to still write applications at home. The only problem is an access to SDK, which is not free and BDN membership is required. The rest (Windows, Visual Studio...) are standard (OEM) or free.

    With CONNECT not running on 32 bit I expect even less people will  use MDL.

    I strongly disagree. 32bit Windows are obsolete and recommended by Microsoft to don't use from Windows 7. Anobody who has used 32bit Windows did bad decision.

    With regards,

      Jan