Friday, February 11, 2011

Family Browser

Finally, a Revit add-on truly worth buying! Not only is the price unbeatable, but the improved user experience is something that puts Autodesk to shame (because similar functionality should have been standard in Revit for a loooong time).

I’ve toyed around with the previous version in the past and was on the fence about how it worked, but the new version is ready for prime-time. Their latest patch even includes a screen-capture utility called “Icon Maker” that enables you to customize the thumbnails in case the automatically generated ones are not adequate. Aaron Maller has written an extensive blog post about v2, and just a few days ago, he highlighted some of the new features in version 3.7.

Below are a couple of instructional videos on how to use it and about setting things up.



These are some of the features I absolutely love about this app:

  • Instant Family search with each letter typed in the search box;
  • Type Catalog functionality (Create/Edit/Recreate Catalogue);
  • Add families by drag & drop from Windows Explorer;
  • Add families from within the project environment;
  • Create a tab with wall families (more functionality to be added in upcoming releases);

Now, it is highly unlikely for me to not have my own list of wants for a future release, so here they are:

  • When adding single families to a palette through drag & drop from Windows Explorer, a link should be established to that family instead of creating a copy of the file. This is a biggie for me and I’m sure it is too for other BIM Managers out there. Linking would open up tremendous possibilities, such as creating custom palettes for each project team or project type and still retain content library centralization;
  • When closing the Family Browser and re-opening, it should refresh the list in case something was added/deleted in the referenced family library;
  • I’d rather not have to enable borders every time I need to resize the palette (I believe this is an API limitation);
  • When using the Locate tools in the BIM Management fly-out, Windows Explorer should open directly to that folder instead of launching a message box. Alternatively, copy the path to the clipboard to make it easy to find said location;

You must be itching to get your hands on it by now, so click here to try it out for free for 7 days and click here for pricing. Your productivity and user experience is about to receive a promotion.



coreed said...

i wouldn't waste money buying this app. Autodesk will be buying this app and making it part of Revit real soon. but in the meantime you can't beat the price if you must buy.

Unknown said...

Thanks Dave for the Plug for our Family Browser ;) I owe you one.

Coreed - What make you think Autodesk is going to buy it? I know that is not going to happen any time soon.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Coreed, I wouldn't hold my breath. You're welcome Phil, just take care of my #1 wish and we're golden :)

Michael Jones said...

I also must say that this "app" is a worthwhile investment. The price is more than reasonable and it greatly simplifies the process of bringing in families when detailing.

Aaron Maller said...

We would have bought it at ten times its price, and it paid itself back in a matter of minutes, considering Sharepoint was our previous content navigator.

Awesome app.

Dave Baldacchino said...

Well, Phillip can go ahead and charge you 10x more ;) But I honestly think that it's a sound strategy to have a price like that so he can drive volume sales. Some plug-ins on the market have ridiculous prices and are impossible to justify investing in them.

Unknown said...

The end user can install on one computer only - License is for a 12 month period from date of payment and.
Does this mean I have to purchase a new licence after 12 months?

Dave Baldacchino said...

I believe that's correct. The way I see it is that you are just paying a yearly subscription cost with no upfront fee.

Heather Worrell said...

Hi - Just researching before there any similar product on the market and is it any better?

Dave Baldacchino said...

Not that I'm aware of. If you're uncertain whether you'd like it (doubtful!), I recommend you download a trial.

Eli C. Cramer said...

I was looking for an easy to use Revit family browser and planned to try your descripted app. But yesterday in LinkedIn Revit users group I found a message about a free permanent licence of Revit app Smart Browser. I looked at its features and it looks good browser too. Dave, what do you think about this browser?

Dave Baldacchino said...

It doesn't do the same stuff as Family Browser: doesn't seem mode-less, you're stuck with the folder organization of your library & no way to customize thumbnails, no quick family placement options, no quick search options, no Favorites...I don't know, it just doesn't compare to Kiwicode's product IMO.

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