[ORD] When will we be able to install different versions to run in parallel?

Currently, it is possible to install and run only one version of OpenRoads (or any CONNECT product AFAIK).
But different versions of ORD have somewhat different schema. Older versions cannot run design created with newer versions, and there is no way to save a newer version back to an older version.

This is going to be a BIG problem as more and more DOTs come online with their ORD conversion. I can see myself coming to a point where Indiana would only run on one version, Ohio will only accept a different version, and Colorado may run on another version entirely. Never mind partnering with other firms, and getting data in whatever version they run.

It is not realistic to believe that every major client in the world will be running the exact same version of OpenRoads at the same time.

I don't even know how firms are supposed to manage this.
Are we supposed to keep a library of laptops lying around idle, for working on projects with THAT version, and others sitting around for the projects with THIS version?
I've seen some mention of "virtual machines" but that sounds like a lot of IT overhead, which would be crippling to smaller firms. It may not even be practical for larger firms to do on a company-wide basis.

Lack of backwards compatibility paired with the inability to run different versions in parallel is going to hamstring production with multiple clients and multiple partners.
What is Bentley doing to address this problem?

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  • That's excellent to hear that some movement is being made to address this issue, thanks for letting us know Beebe.

    In follow up, a couple questions. You may not know the answers, but they just come to mind I as hear this, and they will be the next set of concerns for our organizations, CADD managers and users.

    • Is that going to be a "retro active" change. Namely, will I be able to install the 2021 version with a version I already am using, or will that be for that version and forward?
    • What becomes of the configuration? Is that going to be replicated for each installed version?
    • Does the branding in the DGN file permit the software to inform/warn users of version differences?
    • Does this indicate that the suspicion is that the civil schema is going to continue to evolve? (The very limited feedback we as users have gotten previously in regards to this question has been that the schema would eventually stabilize and there would be compatibility between versions.)

    I suppose the gist of these questions, is that this opens up an entire can of worms in my mind on how this gets managed and implemented. So an encouragement to not only answer the question of "how does a user work with different civil schema?", but also, what are the implications of that solution on hardware? (I already push against my hard drive side without having to have three versions of the software and related configurations.) What are the impacts on the management of configurations? What's the user experience like in having to switch between these?

    Again, I appreciate the response here. Mary is one of numerous users (myself included) who have been jumping up and down about this is an issue for a what has not been an insignificant amount of time. The remedy needs to come out and be viable. we can't have something that does truly met the needs of consultants and wait two more years to figure that out. The silence on this issue in the 18 or so months since I began looking for solutions here has been deafening. You have a great group of users who I suspect would love to help you help them. Bring us into the process. Ask questions. Share road maps. We, and our organizations, are successful when you are. Partner with us.

    Enough of me for now. Again ,thanks for sharing.


    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant


    ORD - / / /
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads -
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022 / 2024

  • I just want to continue to share what I know. I asked for an update on this topic in a standing SR I have open, and got a response indicating: 

    "there will be the option to Downgrade the civil model to the previous 3 versions, in an upcoming release of OpenRoads Designer."

    This opens up a whole new set of questions in my mind. The first being that it would not appear this is in the impending fall release. After that, I would have a lot of questions as to how this is actually implemented and what the user's experience with it is. In an effort to get as much response as we can, I share my reply to the SR below. Beebe, if you (or any of your colleagues) have thoughts that would help expand on the direction ORD is heading that would be appreciated. 



    SR Reply:

    Thanks for the update, I have two items in follow up.

    1. "in an upcoming release of OpenRoads Designer" would seem to indicate to me that it will not be included in this next release, is that correct?
    2. Can you offer any insight (or point me to someone that can) on what this "downgrade" process looks like? The driving need here is for me, as a consultant who works with many organizations and agencies, to be able to work in and with the files that have varied schema. Specifically, my mind immediately asks some of the following questions:
      • Is the downgrade process done in the product? (As opposed to the alignment process that requires the user to perform the actions via Version Checker.)
      • Is the downgrade process done at the file level or the session level? The question here is really one of user involvement. Does opening a file with an older schema version still upgrade the file upon opening such that I will need to do an export or save as a process to get the file to the "downgraded" schema once done with my work?
      • If in-product, can the downgrade process be performed from the older version?
      • How will configurations from different versions/schema be handled? (Currently there are some issues that seem related to running a configuration with DGNLIB files that are not in the same schema as the working file / current application.) Will agencies have to provide unique configurations for consultants? Will consultants have to individually manage their own copy of an agency's configuration? 
      • What limitations are applicable to a downgraded file?
      • What level of transparency of the "file version" is available to the user through common day to day interactions with ORD? Can they tell what version a file is? From in the product? Before opening the file?
      • When discussing "previous 3 versions" are we discussing at that point three software versions (10.##.##.##) or schema version (04.08.##)?
    Again, for a bit of context, we do design technology support for our clients. We do not perform design work, we support our users in the software they use to perform design work, including OpenRoads Designer This year, we have worked with at least eight different DOT workspaces and configurations not to mention numerous other agencies, utilities and companies. I need to be able to interact with ALL our clients and their files without impacting their work. There are very specific ways in which questions like these will have to be answered for this to make a meaningful change to a consultant's ability to work with multiple agencies. My fear in this "solution" is that we are moving from having to track one variable (installed software version) to having to track one or more variables (my installed version, the installed versions of my client and subconsultants, and the version of a file, not at the user/device level, but at the individual file level.
    I don't know that the SR process is the best place to have conversations of this nature, but attempts by myself and others have had little success in seeking for this information in the Communities which is really the other location we have available. I appreciate your time and any further information you can offer.
    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant


    ORD - / / /
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads -
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022 / 2024

  • The Downgrade Civil Model will be in the upcoming 2020 R3 release 10.09.   It will be a Technology Preview.  It will be run from inside the software (found in the backstage) or you can also run it as an executable outside of the software.  They have enhanced and renamed the Version Checker tool to Civil File Manager tool.  I do not have all the details but you can downgrade the file to 2020 R210.08.01 or 2020 R1 10.08.00 or or 2019 R3 10.07.03.  There will also be an option to Remove the Civil Model from the file.  You will be able to do one DGN or a Folder and Subfolders of DGN's.

    This tool is the first step in addressing some of the concerns you mention.  We also hope to have side by side installs available for the first release of 2021.  This will further address issues and concerns along with the downgrade model tool.

    As in any tool or program in the software we welcome your feedback so we can enhance it or fix issues with it.  I know this does not answer all your questions but should give you a sense of what is coming and that we are continuously working to improve the user experience.

    For more information about the Road and Site design tools, visit the Road and Site design WIKI at: http://communities.bentley.com/products/road___site_design/w/road_and_site_design__wiki

  • Will we be able to work on a downgraded model in downgraded "mode"? or will we have to continually have to take files back and forth depending on our partners?

    Design is an iterative process, and files are transferred at many points in the process. Not just at the beginning or the end.

    When MicroStation moved to V8, they retained V7 Mode - Where elements of a design file that conflicted with V7 format drawings were disallowed. There was also DWG Mode, where you couldn't do anything that was incompatible with DWG format. If we can't run parallel versions, can we have "2019 R3 Mode"?


    Power GeoPak
    Power InRoads
    OpenRoads Designer 2021 R2


  • Beebe, thanks for the additional information. 

    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant


    ORD - / / /
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads -
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022 / 2024