The title is a clue that this is going to be a bit of a rant, but it is backed up with data. SWX' Enhancement Request system is LOUSY. Years ago I submitted lots of ER's. It was then and still is a one-way street. We submit something and NEVER hear back. Eventually we might see some of the things implemented, but we never know if our ER was associated with the new features or not.
Case in point, I just went into the ER system to look for something. Wow! I actually searched in the ER system!!! As cumbersome as it is I did it anyway. I searched on "Limit Mates" and got 29 hits. I looked them all over and found one that seemed similar to what I wanted. I opened it and added my comment to it and voted for it. What a PITA and unnecessarily laborious process!!!
Now here is the fun part. I went there because I just started using SWX2016 SP4 this week. I have a problem with an angle limit mate working properly in the subassy where it should reside, but in the next level up the arm that is being controlled is flipped 180 degrees. It can still move within the range allowed by the limit mate, but it is obviously incorrect. I go to the subassy and the part is fine. I go back to the top-level assy and change the subassy from Flexible to Rigid and it is just fine, the arm is where it was properly within its range and at the last position when the file was saved. Change the subassy back to Flexible and the arm is again movable, but 180 degrees from where it should be.
So I find SPR #445613 within the 29 hits for "Limit Mate". Its description is "Don't allow limit mates to jump to other half of solution, make it be dragged to the other limit." So in the required field for Product Version in Use I select SW2016 from the drop-down list and add my comments in the dialogue box. Under the box are three buttons: Back to Search Results, Save Details and Vote for This Enhancement, and Create a New Enhancement Request. So I click on Save Details and Vote for This Enhancement Request. Fine. At least I added to the pile of votes to hopefully get some attention here. Aren't we encouraged on this very forum to do just that?
Notice the little button, Click to Review your Enhancement Requests. Yes, I should review what I have submitted, so I click it. It shows that this ER response and several others I've submitted in the last few years are all Closed. What does that mean? Does Closed mean the original ER, #445613 is closed and no further action will be taken on it? Or does Closed simply mean I cannot edit my comment when I voted for the ER? I did get an automated e-mail acknowledging my submission of an ER, however, I didn't really submit one. All I did was vote on an existing one. I thought we were supposed to do it that way, research and comment/vote for one that is already pretty much the same rather than have a proliferation of separate ER's that are pretty much the same and get low vote counts.
I don't know if the actual ER #445613 has been closed or not, but to me it shouldn't be closed as I'm having the same problem it describes. I'm on the latest production release and just encountered this problem!!!!! Was it closed because they think they implemented a solution for it? Was it closed because they gave up trying to solve it? I can't even see much information on the original ER so I have no idea when it was posted, how many others voted for it, nor what their comments were. Why is this secret?
Okay, so I'm a little unhappy about this. The ER system suques!
So, instead of this just being a long rant I want to actually propose an improvement, an Enhancement Request if you will, but I'm posting it here rather than the lame ER system SWX currently has in place.
I propose that this forum itself be augmented to include the ability to mark a post as an Enhancement Request. We have a button for Like and Reply, why not add one somewhere (it could even be in the drop-down under Actions for all I care) for Vote for this as an Enhancement Request? Look at the advantages:
1. An active community of concerned users. This is FAR, FAR more than the very few people that ever bother to formally submit an ER through the current system.
2. Easy to search postings
3. Easy to add quotes, links to other posts, and even pictures to the posts. This would serve the purpose of providing even better definition of the situation. Case in point: Enhancement requests - How to improve it from Elmar Klammer
4. This forum is already used to solicit a Top Ten each year, (but then those posts are wiped from our view immediately after SWW - WTF?!).
5. This forum is already moderated by SWX, as it should be. We occasionally see posts from Jim Wilkinson, Jody Stiles, Richard Doyle and others. Tagging a post as an ER should automatically bring it to the attention of someone at SWX in charge of collecting and collating ER's. I would even expect them to reply with a link to other requests for the same thing or with a comment that the item has been implemented in version xx or in the upcoming service pack yy.
Yes, we can currently tag a post with many terms including several spelling versions for ER's, but that tagging function is a general feature intended really to just help with searches. Enhancement Requests are too precious to be lumped in with general search terms. Are they also too precious to be discussed in this informal forum? I don't think so. How many times do we see a discussion progress and someone, perhaps from SWX, says "you should submit an ER or you should vote for an ER that already exists".
Look, part of my philosophy as a design engineer is to make it easy for people to get it right. If "it" is too cumbersome or complicated you'll have few people using it. The current Enhancement Request system makes my point (for the too cumbersome perspective). The fact that this forum hosts the temporary (that's stupid!) Top Ten list makes the point for ease of use of this forum and appropriate user base for Enhancement Requests. We have even had forum threads closed by the moderators when they felt the issue had been adequately implemented. It included their participation so we understood their conclusion. This forum is already being used as a general place for enhancements, even if the poster never bothers to make a formal submission in the cumbersome official area. Let's add a few features to this forum so it fosters real enhancement requests. Let's take advantage of this forum to make it easy to request real and meaningful improvements to the software.
Have a good weekend everybody!