[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?

Parents
  • I believe side by side installs is being looked at for the next release or by first release of 2021.


    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

  • 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. 

    Thanks,

    Steve

    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.
    Thanks,
    Steve
    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant

    www.envisioncad.com

    ORD - 10.10.21.04 / 10.10.01.03 / 10.09.0.91 / 10.08.01.33
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads - 08.11.09.918
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022

  • 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"?

    MaryB

    Power GeoPak 08.11.09.918
    Power InRoads 08.11.09.918
    OpenRoads Designer 2021 R2

        

  • Beebe, thanks for the additional information. 

    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant

    www.envisioncad.com

    ORD - 10.10.21.04 / 10.10.01.03 / 10.09.0.91 / 10.08.01.33
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads - 08.11.09.918
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022

  • Now that we seen this downgrade functionality, i wanted to just continue to articulate that the underlying issues here have not been resolved. This functionality does little to address any practical considerations for the use of ORD by consultants. Also, I had said I would work to continue to share what I know, and my last SR update sharing my thoughts on the downgrade functionality was an request for more information on how the process remains inefficient. My "rant" is below. 

    To my follow users, I think we need to become a significantly loud squeaky wheel, so I encourage you to share your concerns.

    To Bentley, you have right here at your disposal, advocates who have carried the torch for you and your software. They are loyal, knowledgeable and respected in their organizations and the industry. By not being able to share a larger vision of how you are addressing these concerns, you are losing those advocates. 


    SR Reply to the statement "But you're saying "incapable of effectively performing work for our clients" can you please elaborate on this so that I can update this in the Enhancement description."

    The downgrade process is actually not a solution, or even partial remedy to this concern. Now, instead of only having to keep track of what version a client is working in, I also have to keep track of which file they are working in, track 2 files that hold the same content, and actively know which of those two files is "current". Multiply this by tens or even hundreds of files on a project and it makes a designer's full time job file management, not designing. Additionally, I need to know what functionality has been added since the older version, because my client won't be able to leverage that when I convert the files to their version. A significant amount of our work is the development and management of ORD configurations. I have very little confidence that a workspace I develop in 20R3 will operate properly in 20R2 after the downgrade process. And, without the ability to install 20R2 I can't confirm whether a configuration will work properly. Once I get to a configuration that I can deliver, if any of my users experience issues, I can't work in their files to see what is happening. So that is what I mean when I say "incapable of performing work for our clients." As a user am I supposed to uninstall ORD and reinstall it each time I need to work with a client in a different version? I will also need to maintain a different set of configurations for each, because the older version can't leverage the DGNLIB associated with a newer install.

    It is a SIGNIFICANT concern to me that organizationally it appears that Bentley has no understanding of the implications of this on the industries they serve. I have been having this conversation in various forums for almost two years now. And the implication that "downgrade model" is even close to a workable solution is laughable. That Bentley has been unable to articulate true understanding of this concern in numerous tickets I have had as well as the many conversations in forums tells me that they either don't know how to fix it or don't care. I am currently training an organization with 10K+ employees with 200 offices in 13 countries in ORD. I can't tell them how they will do their work. That these implications are not globally understood within the management and development of the Civil products to the point I have to articulate them for updating an enhancement description is tragic.

    I am under no illusion that this is something you can fix directly. But as an organization, you (Bentley) need to make a concerted effort to let us as users of your product know that you hear, understand, and are working to fix the issues that plague our use of your software, version compatibility being only one. I will finish my training with that same firm tomorrow showing them plan production, and anticipate open revolt with the deficiencies of that process. Finally, if I am totally off base here, and the issue is really understood internally, and you have a solution, we need to know that. We need to understand what you are doing to address it, and when it will be addressed. And as users we need to be involved well before you "bake" it into the product so that the next "solution" is not as laughable a solution as is the downgrade civil model.

    Thank you for listening to my rant.

    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant

    www.envisioncad.com

    ORD - 10.10.21.04 / 10.10.01.03 / 10.09.0.91 / 10.08.01.33
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads - 08.11.09.918
    Civil 3D - 2021 / 2022

    MISSING RESOURCE: VerifiedBy MaryB 

  • Well said. Very well said.

    As consultants, we work with a number of different clients - State DOTs, municipalities, other partnering firms. Lack of compatibility between versions is going to become a huge headache very quickly. It's very easy to imagine a situation where Ohio standardizes on a different version than Illinois and a different version than Texas. Never mind whatever version our multi-national partners end up using.

    The "ability" to downgrade data to a previous version is nothing more than a logistical nightmare. It doesn't address differences between standards, libraries and workspaces between different client entities which will not work forward and backward. It doesn't even address any way to review the downgraded data for accuracy - just cross your fingers and pray everything crossed over correctly.

    MaryB

    Power GeoPak 08.11.09.918
    Power InRoads 08.11.09.918
    OpenRoads Designer 2021 R2

        

  • I'll add my voice.  I currently have clients using 2020 R1, R2, and R3.  This is a really big problem.  I sincerely hope the side-by-side ability of the upcoming release addresses these concerns.  As Steve has said, including the user community in the process would be good for all concerned.  Thank you Steve for pushing on this, and thanks also to you Beebe for responding.

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