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Dear diary,

These are the rambling words of a weary traveller, about to embark on the frozen waste that is Windows 8. Normally excited to try new things, I have reached a point in my career where the marketing hype around a product has little excitement any longer. I must admit, I volunteered to put myself through this, so hopefully you won’t have to. Buckle your seat belt.

I admit, I was very afraid after watching Chris Perillo’s dad struggle with the new experience (above). This did not bode well, and made me feel like I am too old for new things. But I soldiered on.

Day 1

With a shiny-new laptop, loaded with powerful specs, I admired it sitting there as an inanimate object for a short while. I think I apologized to it, for making it take this journey with me. I dove in with some hesitation. Expecting to find an interesting and new experience, I quickly discovered that it’s not for me, and those who don’t use keyboard shortcuts will forever be perplexed on how to find the desktop, err second desktop. Enough about the OS itself… this is about running Revit on it, in it, around it… or something. So here goes:

I installed Revit 2013 on my shiny Windows 8 computer and although not a touch-enabled screen, I knew there would be little to gain from it with Revit without a UI redesign. I am playing the role of tester for this configuration. Initial experiences were good. The RFO Benchmark utility works just fine, and the machine I tested had admirable results. Note to self, run in Safe Mode for really good results, and you’ll see how much baggage the OS carries.

Day 2

Revit opened fine that first time. Now that I’m actually using it and actually tried to make and edit things that I realized why Revit is not yet on the Autodesk Windows 8 compatibility list. Below is what I’ve found you might experience, and why I strongly recommend against upgrading to Windows 8 until or unless these issues are addressed in a product upgrade. Otherwise, we will have to wait for a future release that may be designed for Windows 8. No timeline for that has been made public at this writing.

I’ve categorized and captured my comments in the following format. Impact – Description

Ribbon

  • Low – Panels cannot be pulled off the ribbon to make floating in the workspace.
  • Critical – Contextual ribbon does not display any panels or tools. Try clicking family, and there is no load family or model in-place tool. Try selecting a family, and there is no edit tool. Select a wall and there is no edit profile, attach, etc… The non-functioning Draw panel shows up instead!
  • Medium – Similar to above, enabling Raytrace means you have no way of stopping the process or exporting the image. You have to close the active view and re-open it to return to the previous visual style.

Vasari

  • Critical – Beta 1 does not run at all. This is known and easily discovered on the discussion forum, however what you don’t know, you don’t know.

Day 15

API

  • {Varies} – The Python for Revit tools don’t function at all. More accurately, Revit hooks don’t work. Standard Python commands work – my usual test is:
      import this

    I wonder if some libraries are simply not found in the new OS. Given I’m only beginning to learn Python, I can only rely on my experience trying (unsuccessfully) to run the samples provided by the highly admirable Nathan Miller.

After tinkering a bit, I realized that the contextual ribbons will return if you cycle through the display of the tabs. This sometimes take more attempts to make it happen, and I’ve found that each time I edit something I need to repeat the process. Oddly, this does not seem to occur in the family editor.

Day 18
Add-ins

  • Medium to Critical – Most of the Add-ins written for Revit 2013 rely on the dotNET framework 3.5 or earlier. Windows 8 comes with 4.0 however, you have to jump through serious hoops, and in some cases you would need to work with your IT department to set up exceptions to group policies that are in place and get your hands on a Windows 8 disk or ISO (something that OEMs do not provide with new computers any longer). All in all, if you require any Revit add-ins, including the free ones available from the Autodesk subscription, good luck to you. You may be in for a bumpy ride, aka a very long Microsoft whitepaper on the subject..

Day 20

So, I’m ready to face reality. Time for a downgrade or at least create a Windows 7 virtual machine to continue to do my work in Revit. For that matter, maybe I don’t need a PC at all… if only I could do all my work from an iPad, that would feel way more civilized. At least the UX would be predictable, and simple to understand. I did after all, find more gray hairs on my head this morning.

Your results may vary
Others, Like Robin Capper have had good results with the upgrade.

Still, my favorite ranty (perhaps even NSFW) review of Windows 8 is…this: Windows 8: The Animated Evaluation – YouTube

BTW, Chris Perillo’s dad did indicate which OS he preferred recently…
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Happy trails.

(this post was written entirely on an iPad)

One comment on “Revit on Windows 8

  • Today I noticed a new behavior:
    Medium – Occasionally when working in the family editor, my screen will turn black in the drawing window. When it does, the view will save the appropriate preview in the file, and closing the family fixes the issue.

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