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Constraint Dialog Proposal

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Max, Oct 18, 2019.


How do you feel about this proposal?

  1. I fully endorse it all - gimme.

  2. I like it, but have some recommendations.

  3. I'm not sure I like it.

  4. I hate it.

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  1. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Hi everyone,

    Below is our first pass of a new unified constraint dialog that hopefully takes the best of both worlds from the the existing Regular and Quick Constraint methods, replacing both. All the names and icons are quick and dirty to get fast feedback and aren't final - I'm sure some people will have special feelings about the "Touching" constraint. ;)

    Further, "mate" and especially "align" can mean so many things. Is it a cylindrical align or do 2 planar faces point in the same direction? We're considering abstracting away these concepts into more individual constraint types, for example "Concentric" (a cylindrical align), "Touching" (a mate/align today with 0 offset, flipped as required), and "Offset" (a mate/align today with an offset value).

    If you're interested in providing feedback, please review the document below carefully in full and then let us know your comments. Please reference the A/B/C so people have an easier time finding what you're describing.


    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    MKR and jfnewman like this.
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    To me 'touching' would imply a Mate with zero offset - I wouldn't see 'touching' as also applying to an Align with zero offset. Further, 'touching' implies at least some overlap.

    I realise that some new users struggle with the difference between Mate & Align, so I understand why you would want to look for alternatives.

    Mate & Align give directional information (faces 'pointing' in same or opposite directions) , if replaced by Offset, that information isn't as obvious in the design explorer. Intuitively that concerns me, but it in reality I'm less certain if it is a major problem.

    It may be that if I'd started off with these new terms, they wouldn't give me any concerns - in which case some thorough explanation ahead of any change may be all that is needed.

    I'd be interested to see how an existing assembly, opened with this new interface would be shown - I guess my worry here is if 'old' constraints would be interpreted consistently in the 'new' scheme. I presume that the internal representation of the constraints wouldn't actually alter - so no reason to expect any possible inconsistency?
  3. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    I think a more engineering-friendly "Co-planar" is probably what we'll use.

    I don't think it's a major problem either. People who use the quick constraint dialog do not choose mate or align - they choose what looks right and then we make a mate/align for them. When searching for constraints in the DE, how often do you manually look for the words Mate or Align in a sea of Mate<95>,Align<45>? Probably not often. Usually people hover over them until the faces in question highlight, and then you edit it without regards for what it's called.

    We will probably not rename any existing constraints and apply this only to new constraints. Or perhaps an option will exist when opening a legacy assembly. The mapping is quite simple. We'll probably have to rename them if/when they are edited. Haven't thought through this yet.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  4. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    In E I'm intrigued by the difference between concentric Align and concentric Mate - I can't quite envisage that (though not relevant if that dialogue will disappear).
  5. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    Rather than changing the underlying given name to include the associated dimension, just append that info to the displayed tree node text (plus system option to turn the extra info on/off). That way it doesn't change any lagacy designs but just enhances them if the user wants to.

    I.e DisplayedText = <name>[<type> <values...>]

    Name = freeform text totally defined by user
    Type = Mate, Align, Touch, Thread, Angle, etc
    Values = 3.56", 6.55mm, 45.0°, etc
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
  6. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    I like the collapasable panels (nice for adding more features hoing forward) and removing technical terms.

    Edit boxes need to use the full width of the dialog (as someone else noted). B, D, C, J.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    jfnewman likes this.
  7. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Those are the fastener constraint. It lets you pick 2 circular edges or 2 conical faces and performs an align and a mate simultaneously. I'll post a demo in a bit.
    jfnewman likes this.
  8. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    That is a good point. I hadn't considered the global param case, thanks! It's a bit clunky for most values. Maybe we can detect long strings and increase size if needed. Will look into it.
    simonb65 and jfnewman like this.
  9. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    What would 2 points show up as?
  10. DBC

    DBC Senior Member

    Don't know if this is the right post or the constraint's wish list would have been, but one thing SolidWorks added about 3 years ago was a check mark to select to 'lock rotation'. This was real handy for constraining fasteners. This way one really only needed two constraints to complete mating as opposed to three. Useful for other items as well, not just fasteners.
    cadtec likes this.
  11. Idahoan

    Idahoan Member

    Also,in the Constraints Dialog (E) would it be possible to have the preview check box sticky so you don't have to turn it on for every use? If there is already a way to do this please let me know.
  12. bigseb

    bigseb Alibre Super User

    I have always used to the standard constraint box, never quick constraints. Don't really have much to complain about. What I saw in the image above... to be honest I don't like it and I don't see the point either. Apart from missing constraints (that will be added) the current constraint box does exactly what I want it to.

    Also not a fan of a 'touching' constraint. Co-planar or mate. Lets keep it professional.
    JL82, Markaj and oldfox like this.
  13. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Max -- I have spent a fair amount of time reviewing your "image" and have a question -- Why would Gear describe only relative rotational radius rather than (also) a Rack & Pinion relationship? It seems to me that a Rotational Ratio "modifier" would allow any pair of "Features" to "rotate" at a defined Ratio. Further, a Screw Displace "modifier" would allow for an "offset/rotation" connection. Th that we could have a Pinion Displace "modifier" that would create a (if you will) "tangent displacement/rotation" connection. ??? -- Lew
  14. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    I personally would like the Constraints list to be collapsed by default and moved to the bottom of the DE. It can be seriously long on large assemblies when it's expanded and you either need to collapse it or scroll a long way to get to the parts list. When I need to investigate or change a constraint I will right click on a part, select Show in the Design Explorer, then expand that part's Constraint list to edit. No searching thru the "sea" of Mates and Aligns, just straight to the part in question. AD could give a warning when applying the constraint if it was over-constraining the assembly thereby allowing the user to make an adjustment or change to the constraint.

    One more item that I've put in as a suggestion quite a while ago is having the constraint dialog open in the Design Explorer pane. Maybe located at the top or bottom portion so you don't lose visibility of the parts list, AND, have the DE scroll to the parts that are selected for constraining. I've grown used to in SW where it opens it the Feature Manager and keeps the workspace clear of dialogs for easy access to the model.
  15. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Truthfully, I am for the one that takes up the least screen space. That is the "E", which you label as "for reference".



    Note: yes I fully intended to "shout" in old school internet style.
  16. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    I've got two wide screens to use. I'd prefer it not cover any of the valuable design explorer space. I find it dumb that Solidworks does that with dialogs and then they had to create a tree outside of the tree pane to fix that. If you want to make dialogs float and dock-able in multiple places like Alibre Script windows I'm all for that - but don't force covering the design explorer.
  17. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Can anyone tell me why someone would not want a preview? Our current thinking is that previews are always on, there is no option.
    Idahoan likes this.
  18. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    I hear you. I also almost exclusively use quick constraint when I'm designing stuff. I get it - it's better, for us.

    But, having 2 dialogs is bad. Being able to do some stuff in 1 and different stuff in 2 is bad. And being able to create stuff in 1, but only edit it in 2 is bad.

    So we need to unify them, which means supporting everything. Now if we weren't adding new constraints and options like limits, we might be able to keep it very small, but we are. Do you have a suggestion on how we could take the existing smallest dialog (B) and make it smaller?
  19. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    Yeah we're past "touching", I think. There is actually a ton of subtlety going on here that I didn't expose earlier, but probably should have. For example, CoPlanar makes a lot of sense but where do you put an Origin/Origin double point constraint? It really belongs in what the "touching" one does - 0 offset mate. But, it's not really "Co-planar" intutively. Our current thinking for this "touching" constraint is now "Coincident" to accurately describe the wide variety of geometry inputs that will result in its usage. Thoughts?
    NateLiqGrav likes this.
  20. Max

    Max Administrator Staff Member

    (edit) Nevermind, I think you were responding to HaroldL's comment

    Is this based on what you saw or just a general comment? We were not planning on consuming DE space for this dialog.
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