Recently, CASE posted on their blog an article titled ‘Dynamo: More than Grasshopper Lite’. I had mixed emotions about this post. On the one hand, I was enthused in the sense that so many people were contributing to the open-source culture of Dynamo and encouraged to share-alike. Yet on the other hand, frustrated and annoyed that as a Revit and Dynamo user, we are being used to do Autodesk’s development work. And here’s why.
The examples that CASE posted are useful, everyday applications in Dynamo. Simple utilities to make our life as architects and designers just that little bit easier. So what’s wrong with that? Well, nothing, CASE does some fantastic stuff, and I love their work. My gripe is that it shouldn’t be up to the Dynamo community to make-up for the shortcomings of Revit.
Missing core functionality
The Dynamo examples presented are everyday examples, and therefore I believe they should be integrated within Revit’s out-of-the-box capabilities, and not require a custom node. Here ease-of-use is essential. For years now, every Revit wish list I’ve seen has included ‘Revit schedule customisation as Excel’. But every year, Autodesk ignores this and comes up with other tools which are less universal and hence, less valuable (e.g. sketchy lines). As it is almost universally acknowledged, there is a frustratingly limited range of native Revit tools for data entry and this explains the popularity of Revit plugins that exchange data with spreadsheets, such as BIMlink. But if others have managed to enhance Revit’s data entry capabilities, surely Autodesk can do the same natively within Revit? So why don’t they?
The power of Dynamo
Personally, I see the power of Dynamo as being able to create objects which aren’t every day. This is the power of Grasshopper and why the comparisons between Dynamo and Grasshopper keep on emerging. In effect, Dynamo has already started to do this by breaking some of the geometric limitations that Revit strangely impose, such as the inability to create closed splines or 3D splines within a project environment.
At the same time, the Dynamo community has made some significant breakthroughs with the integration between Rhino and Revit with the development of Rhynamo and Mantis Shrimp. But if Dynamo is ever going to take over the mantle from Grasshopper as the preferred visual scripting program for architects, it needs significantly more development. Therefore, let’s hope Autodesk finally address all the long-overdue wish list items so that the Dynamo community can focus more on geometry development and less on data development.