[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?

  • Beebe, thanks for the additional information. 

    Steven Litzau, P.E. - Senior Consultant


    ORD - / / /
    Power GEOPAK / Power InRoads -
    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


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

    Answer Verified By: 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.


    Power GeoPak
    Power InRoads
    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.

    Karl Dauber, PE
    Advance Consulting
    Laurens County, SC

  • Since I now wear a DOT hat, you might think that this would seem to be a non-issue to us. But you would be wrong.

    We are still working on our "Beta" workspace and have fewer than a dozen users with ORD even installed. I cannot easily keep track of what version they are running. And since most of us are still working remotely, it is not as easy to check. As the CAD manager, I really want to install the most current release to evaluate, but then, It complicates my job if I am also working on DGNLIB's for the workspace.

    The downgrade tool gives no indications of what actually happens in a file as it is downgraded. So if I put something in a DGNLIB and then downgrade it so the other users can work in the workspace, is it possible something I added was only part of a newer version and is therefore stripped back out?

    And having spent 20 years away from the DOT, I feel the consultants pain. I worked in dual CAD firms where we had to deal with multiple versions of Autodesk products and had to deal with the occasional occurrence where someone upgraded a file to the newer version for a client using an older version. And since we also worked for multiple DOT's, we often had to deal with workspaces that were intended for a particular MicroStation version. In those days, you could usually install different versions on the same PC and users had to deal with it.

    We really need to be able to install more than one version on a single PC.

    Charles (Chuck) Rheault
    CADD Manager

    MDOT State Highway Administration

    • MicroStation user since IGDS, InRoads user since TDP.
    • AutoCAD, Land Desktop and Civil 3D, off and on since 1996