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Constraint Dialog Proposal v2 - Interactive Demo

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Max, Oct 23, 2019.


How do you like what you see here? If you have questions, please get them answered before voting.

  1. I think it's great - ship it

    20 vote(s)
  2. I like it, but still have suggestions

    4 vote(s)
  3. I'm not sure I like it

    1 vote(s)
  4. I do not like it

    2 vote(s)
  5. I'm having issues with the demo and can't really tell

    2 vote(s)
  1. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Hello everyone, we'll continue the discussion from the previous preview in this thread.

    We've done a bit of tweaking and have something for you to try out. This will give you a sense of how big this dialog is, how it acts, etc.

    Click here to try it out

    I haven't used this demo tool publicly before so if you run into any issues, let me know.

    The purpose of this is to:
    • Let you get a feel for the size
    • Let you get a feel for changing options
    • Let you get a feel for which expand/collapse style you might prefer to work with, and gauge whether you like it or not.
    Also, please let me know your thoughts on the icon style. These are not final, and we're considering a more 3D look, but those get messy at low resolutions and can be more "fancy" than "clear" sometimes. So this flatter style may be what we go with. What do you think?

    We're still open to changing verbiage and the iconography, but starting to settle in on a general UI paradigm, though not completely finalized if you have great feedback.
    jfnewman likes this.
  2. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    Perhaps coincident, offset, limits, and free should be sub options of a single orient icon? What do others think on this?

    The geometry selection box is too short. I would estimate many of my part names to be around 20 characters long using a naming scheme like: Client name Job name Part name. I definitely like the wider current box. Sorry I didn't notice earlier.

    I'm looking at this from an android device so these next suggestions may be related to that.

    The equation button icon looks tiny.
    The help button icon looks tiny.
  3. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks Nate. I'll see what we can do about the geometry input boxes. The Equation Editor and Help buttons are consistent with the rest of the product, which I agree on high dpi monitors is tiny, and should be fixed, but is not unique to this UI. I'll see if we can fit that in.

    The Coincident constraint exists for one purpose:
    • When using the existing Quick Constraint, the default is a mate/align (now "coincident") of 0 offset. Having this here allows us to keep the default behavior as "let me pick stuff and press check" and get behavior just like quick constraint. To do that, we have to have something with a 0 offset.
    • The reason we don't default the Offset constraint to 0 is because a benefit of the regular constraint dialog is that it picks up the current offset position. That is the behavior of the Offset constraint tool. So, if you just want to mate something real fast at 0, you'll use Coincident. If you want to position something in place at its current offset, you'll use the Offset tool.
    • This really boils down to satisfying 2 groups of users - people who like using quick constraint "just like it is" (read: don't give me more clicks!!) and people who like using the more powerful, but perhaps less fast regular constraint dialog.
    Definitely would like to hear suggestions on this thinking, if anyone has any.
  4. Thompson

    Thompson Member

    I like it quite a bit. Like Nate says, the list box should be bigger - maybe full width with the buttons below it. If numerous selections can be made at one time (making a half dozen faces coincident at one go, for example), it would be nice if the list box is tall enough that no scroll bar is necessary most of the time - 6 or 8 lines before scrolling is necessary.

    One other comment about the offset feature. I see the default is shown as 5.000". OK, that's fine - I suggest that the default be used if the dialog box is brought up before any features (faces, axes, etc.) are selected, but if two faces for example are selected before the dialog box is "activated", the distance box is filled with the current distance between the selected features - It helps give a clearer idea of what's going on.
  5. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the feedback, glad you like it.

    We are thinking about how to "mass apply" constraints. It won't be in v21 - so this tool's input box will need to support only 2 lines.

    The default behavior for the Offset constraint tool is to take the value from the current model offset. 5" is just a visual placeholder for this mockup.

    Further, like the existing constraint tools today, all constraints will be grayed out until you select geometry. Both the quick and regular constraint tools are input driven.

    Let's say you select 2 parallel faces. The tool will default at first run to the Coincident tool. It will preview a 0 offset. Then you say "no, I want to constrain this in place" - you switch to the offset tool and the model returns to its previous position - the default offset value is whatever the model offset currently is.

    Now let's say you have 20 such offsets to do in a row - well, the tool will remember what you did last time - so you don't have to keep changing it to Offset from Coincident every constraint you make.

    We think this is a good compromise allowing people who need to make multiple offset constraints able to do it with minimal clicks, while allowing people who typically use the Coincident behavior most often to default to that, assuming it was the last thing they used.
  6. Thompson

    Thompson Member

    Great! Only one other tiny improvement, then - the Equation Editor button label is so tiny, I'm only guessing that' what it is. All in all, really excellent.
  7. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    This is dependent on your resolution / scale factor. My resolution is quite high. Whatever you see the f(x) button size as today, you would see it as when you install this. However, I acknowledge that in general those should scale appropriately, but it is not an issue specific to this dialog and this demo is not intentionally making them smaller than what you are used to - just a side effect of my resolution.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  8. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    I could see Offset, Limits, and Free being options to the Coincident constraint but as I can go with it as demonstrated.

    Max, the new constraint dialog looks pretty good. It won't take me very long at all to adapt to it. A couple questions though; What is "Free"? Is that like a parallel constraint that allows movement of one or the other component? And is there any way to use Offset for a slot constraint?

    I generally use the Quick Constraint tool for all my assembly work. I rarely see or use the Standard Constraint tool unless I need to edit a constraint in which case I find it quicker/easier to just delete and reapply the constraint using the Quick tool. Getting back to only one constraint tool will be nice.
  9. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    When you get there, make the list box dynamically size, i.e by default its 2 lines, as you click on more items it grows by a line. Delete a reference, it shrinks until it a minimum of 2 lines again. The best of both worlds ... small and compact, no scroll bar!
  10. Nick952

    Nick952 Senior Member

    I think the Icons should be in the same style as those used in the ribbon (and possibly include the callout/tooltip), so that the overall appearance of Alibre is consistent and unified, rather than a patchwork of new and old styles.
    simonb65 likes this.
  11. oldfox

    oldfox Alibre Super User

    I don't use the ribbon except when I'm forced to (i.e. Exploded View) so I really can't speak to this. My thinking is, since we are in the throes of change, just use one set of icons, whether new or old, and not cater to old dialog icons nor ribbon icons.
    "I will only start using the ribbon when it is the last thing left". -- oldfox;)

    I like the expand/collapse concept. Takes care of callouts until we learn the new icons. I would like to see tooltips with "mouse hover"
    in the collapsed condition. (with OnFocus delay of course)

    My workflow is just the opposite. Just goes to show that Max et al is really having to deal with everyone's own way of working and come up with a simplified, more universal and accepted way for all users to work. Good luck with that one, Max. Seriously, my hat's off to ya.
  12. oldfox

    oldfox Alibre Super User

    OK. So i'm out of order with this post. My bad. See my post # 11 above.
  13. oldfox

    oldfox Alibre Super User

    I like the icons. They are very intuitive to me. I knew what they were without looking at the callout. (i.e. collapsed box)

    Will the "Fastener" constraint work for flat surface mating (eg Round Head, Hex Head etc.) and also countersunk Flat Head?
  14. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    How does Fastener constraint work with only two selections?
  15. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    At some point in the next 3 releases-ish we are redoing the entire UI and, along the way, implementing lots of user requests related to it. I hear you on the visual consistency. Before anyone gets anxious about this - we will be involving your feedback heavily as we do that project, like we are with this one. But it will be a top to bottom rethink of every UI piece in the product, long overdue.
  16. markporter

    markporter Member

    Could the "Assembly Constraints" pop-up be made scaleable by clicking and dragging on the right border, and then auto-scale the width of the input fields in "Options/Offset" and "Options/Limits" please?
  17. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Like this, but with one option (Fastener) and a Flip tool:
    MKR, cadtec, Jake_Steidy and 2 others like this.
  18. oldfox

    oldfox Alibre Super User

    That's great. I like it!!!:cool:
  19. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    I like the demo but have a question that I think has been asked elsewhere in the forum. Why isn't Preview "ON" by default in the Standard constraint tool? One of the main reasons I like the Quick constraint tool is that you don't need to toggle a preview ON to see how the parts align. With the Standard constraint tool I always found it a bit annoying to always have to go back to the dialog and turn ON the preview.
  20. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

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