Using gamification to tweak the UI

[ Edited ]

I realize the topic of macros has come up before, and so has the gamification of CAD.  But I'm doing some monotonous work and I don't want to create a custom application to reduce the repetitive mouseclicks.  Therefore, I decided to open a thread to discuss another view on macros and how gamification of CAD can lead to more productive workflows.


My Situation:

We're closing out a program and therefore the entire tech data package has to now include a government distribution statement and other limited rights verbiage.  To do this, I

  1. open each file,
  2. go to the background sheet,
  3. zoom into the area,
  4. delete the standard proprietary note,
  5. insert the symbol with the new verbiage,
  6. close the background sheet,
  7. zoom all,
  8. save,
  9. close.

Where a Macro would help:

This got me thinking, my background sheets are never displayed.  Therefore, when I go to the View menu and select the Background sheets, it seems intuitive that I'm going to want to do some work on the background sheet.  Why not, when I click on the Background Sheet, wouldn't Solid Edge automatically change my active sheet to  Background Sheet 1?  Maybe not everyone would want to do this.  But, wouldn't it be nice if I could tweak the UI and include a macro-like string of options to perform tasks when I click an icon instead of just the default behavior?  In my specific example, when I click on Background sheets from the view menu, Background Sheet 1 should automatically become active.


In other words, I want to be able to change the default behavior of every command in SE to streamline my personal workflow(s) based on the current status of the environment.



I relate this to games because this request is actually really easy to do in games.  For non-gamers, your character typically has special moves that only become active after a certain event occurs, assuming you have enough points to perform the action and the action is not on cool down.


Points translates into being in the right SE environment.

Not on cooldown means that the command is valid for the elements selected.


The UI in games is like a workflow diagram.  The initial action is selected.  Upon successful use of that action, the next option becomes available assuming the conditions are correct.  If not, the second branch of the workflow is verified for use instead and the secondary action is made available.  And so on and so on.  If the primary follow-up action is always available, then the secondary follow-up action won't ever be active.  That's when you have to use a modifier like Shift+Click or Alt+Click to trigger alternate secondary actions.


The New Solid Edge Command Options Window

To get this to work in Solid Edge, a new dialog has to be invented.

On the top of the dialog, the primary selection in this dialog corresponds to an command on the menu bar.

A panel of all available commands is listed in the left pane.

The right pane is the graphical workflow window.  The first three icons on the left side of the graphical window represents the selected primary command plus Shift+Click plus Alt+Click.

By dragging commands from the left pane list over the existing icons, a link is created and a follow-on command is automatically initiated after the primary command finishes.  Dragging a command from the left pane over the Shift+Click icon or Alt+Click icon creates secondary and tertiary workflows based on the keyboard modifier. Infinitely long strings could be created, but I doubt any strings beyond 3 is necessary.

If no workflow was created by a user, then only the default function is carried out when the command is clicked.

--Scott Wertel, P.E.

Re: Using gamification to tweak the UI

About the background sheet starting with ST7 u can right click the working sheet and select "edit background" and it automatically enter in the associated background sheet.

About you suggestion on how to get rid of macros I would much better prefer a Macro recorder with VBA code as results.

Another option would be a Command sequence recorder, where while using in an interactive mode Solid Edge would create a list of command\keys\clicks to be performed.

My 2 cents


Re: Using gamification to tweak the UI

[ Edited ]

A command sequence recorder would be useful for those moments that require repetitive actions, but associated to projects that aren't quite large enough to benefit from the development time to create a custom application.

I like Macro recorders with VB code, too. They are a great way to start a custom application -- record the general steps via the macro recorder and then manually tweak the VB code to include all error checking and adjust for universal applicability.


But, since I also prefer the security of not having embedded code inside of a SE file so I'm relaxed in excluding SE files from my antivirus program, I'd rather keep it like it is but add functionality to provide something like a command sequence recorder without needed custom code.

--Scott Wertel, P.E.