Confessions of an Ex-InRoads Trainer - Part 1: One format

I just finished teaching a couple of InRoads v8i SELECTseries 2 training classes.  I hope they’re my last.

There are a hundred reasons to upgrade to OpenRoads as quickly as you can.  My personally favorite reason is that OpenRoads is just more fun to work with.  I’d argue that that’s probably the most important reason, but I save that argument for another post.

As a trainer and developer of training, there are lots of reasons why teaching OpenRoads is more enjoyable that teaching the old stuff.  The most pervasive reason:  One Format!

Ignoring all the amazing NEW things you can do with OpenRoads that your old software, even if you’re doing the exact same work, OpenRoads is dramatically easier to teach because it’s dramatically easier to learn.

Why?  One Format!

Being fully committed to Bentley’s universally sharable data platform – the dgn – truly revolutionizes how you teach, how you learn, how you use Bentley’s Civil Software.  It’s easier, it’s cleaner, it’s WYSIWYG.  What You See Is What You Get eliminates whole categories of inefficiency and confusion.  It’s reason alone to move forward, but, of course, there are many reasons.

I’d start my old InRoads classes explaining the similarities and differences between the three primary data formats:  graphics, geometry and surface. Why three?  Because all three were incomplete solutions due to software limitations.

I’d explain that my favorite tool in InRoads was Select All and Delete – because I couldn’t trust the graphics.  Think about that.

I’d explain why we needed a Geometry file format.  I’d explain that because we couldn’t trust the graphics, we had a DTM file format where we’d build our “real” data model.

Neither DTM nor ALG format was even visible.  That which was visible could not be trusted.

Heck of a foundation…

It had been several years since I taught old InRoads, I knew I’d have to suppress my impatience.  To someone who has worked in the One Format Truth, the old system seems as efficient as using punchcards.

But I had also forgotten (willfully?) a whole slew of other inefficiencies and burdens on the designer because of the splits.

OpenRoads: One set of tools.

But in InRoads:  three formats meant three separate (mostly) parallel palettes of tools to perform the same tasks.  This doesn’t triple the training time, maybe only doubling it. 

OpenRoads has one set of tools because it only has one format.  OpenRoads uses MicroStation tools whenever it can, like the Trim tools and Snaps. 

Consider a fillet in InRoads.  MicroStation has a Trim tool, InRoads has a Surface Feature Trim tool, and InRoads Geometry has techniques to trim a tangent.  MicroStation had a Fillet tool.  InRoads Geometry had Curveset tools and InRoads Surfaces had a Fillet tool.  The Surface Fillet Feature tool is a labyrinth that confuses even the experts.

On an individual or corporate level: which is easier?  One comprehensive and complete way to do things or three incomplete overlapping partial solutions that you need to merge to a solution?  Easier to learn, easier to troubleshoot, easier to manage, to archive, to resurrect? 

I loved InRoads, I thought I was happy.  Ignorance may be bliss, but it shouldn’t be a strategy. 

It’s time.  Come into the light.  Open up to OpenRoads.