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Thread: What API should I learn?

  1. #21
    Administrator Ed Jobe's Avatar
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatart View Post
    I think in my case it is just fear of change that is worrying me, that and the huge task of learning a programming language from scratch. It's taken me about fifteen years to get where I am with Lisp (and, truth be told, that's not very far!), now I've got to do it all over again in .NET or VBA or C++ or whatever....

    Everyone seems to chant the mantra "Change is good, embrace change", I'm not actually too convinced by that.
    That's ok, there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone's circumstances are different. Many change only when they have to. It has to do with goals, etc. I'm probably on the other end. (Sometimes if feels like a minority.) I like learning and looking for better ways to do things. I admit though, sometimes that takes me away from the job at hand.
    C:> ED WORKING....

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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Jobe View Post
    That's ok, there's nothing wrong with that. Everyone's circumstances are different. Many change only when they have to. It has to do with goals, etc. I'm probably on the other end. (Sometimes if feels like a minority.) I like learning and looking for better ways to do things. I admit though, sometimes that takes me away from the job at hand.
    I agree with you, but increasingly we are being forced to change by AutoDesk and as you say, the productivity, ironically, nosedives as we all learn the new productivity tools.

    I am all for finding new, better and more efficient ways of working, as I am, ostensibly, a lazy git, but it would be nice to not have to learn new stuff all the time just to keep up. Hopefully the new API's (new to me anyway) will be around for a while.
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatart View Post
    Hopefully the new API's (new to me anyway) will be around for a while.
    Just to clarify, this is a two part problem. You need to separate the language from api's. While VB, C++ have been around for awhile and matured, the api's (both Windows and acad) have changed considerably. While both (lang & api) should be around for a long time, there will always be some progression/change. However, its not like starting over each time. For example, the CLR is a huge change from the old winapi, but mostly in the sense of where objects are located, not necessarily how things get done. Thus, there is some cary-over in what you had previously learned. Getting started is the hardest part because there is so much to learn. So the sooner you get started, the more experience you will have.
    C:> ED WORKING....

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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Jobe View Post
    Just to clarify, this is a two part problem. You need to separate the language from api's. While VB, C++ have been around for awhile and matured, the api's (both Windows and acad) have changed considerably. While both (lang & api) should be around for a long time, there will always be some progression/change. However, its not like starting over each time. For example, the CLR is a huge change from the old winapi, but mostly in the sense of where objects are located, not necessarily how things get done. Thus, there is some cary-over in what you had previously learned. Getting started is the hardest part because there is so much to learn. So the sooner you get started, the more experience you will have.
    Better get going then, hadn't I?
    ^^ Ceci n'est pas une post ^^

  5. #25
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    I thought it would be a great idea to get input from someone who is beginning as it seems most of you have already began and been back a few times.

    About a year ago I worked for a company that had only 2005 LT. I was put in charge to upgrade our .mns code that was written for 98 LT to the current software they just bought. This was an eye opener for me, but something I have wanted to explore for some time. Of course it began trying to understand the language and then began to dive into Macros. I became familiar with the very basic concept of using macros before I reached a limit of the tools that they need (They only used CAD as a secondary program time spent on this wasn't as valuable). So after that point of being told to not explore much more during working hours, I sadly lost interest in advancing my knowledge with programming. I will still say that to this day I still dont understand the difference between DIESEL, macros, and Script.

    Anyway as of four months ago I switched jobs to a company that was looking at developing standards within the office. This was a great opprotunity for me to begin my education again. My interm years were spent with a company that used a lot of AutoLisp, so that's where I was turning my attention. I hadn't gotten a good foundation of Macros, knew nothing of Script or Diesels, and have never done any programming. I studied again the very basics of the Lisp functions, but still struggle to understand most everything it can do (it's early so it will probably come with time). I did manage to put together some code for some basic functions. As someone else said, it's not pretty but it works.

    Since about a month ago, a consultant recommended that I start looking into Visual Studio and .NET. He mentioned that VBA and Lisp are not supported with new functions of ACAD, and definately not with Revit. So for the last few days I have began looking into VSExpress. I really like the platform that you program in. It seems more user friendly than Lisp or macros, but am still really curious on how this will benifit me for ACAD.

    Anyway this is a perfect thread for me to post in because this is a huge question for me. Obviously my ambitions want to learn Lisp, Macros, VB, etc. overnight, but the reality is I can't. It really sounds like learning VB is the way to. I see similar concepts between Lisp and VB with just using different language. Because of this I feel that if I learn VB, the functions of Lisp will make more sense. In the end, I would like to learn something that will do the most for me regarding the ACAD software and helping implement standards, without having to learn 3-4 different programing languages. In time I may get familiar with them all, but right now I need to be able to focus on one and know that I will get the most out of it.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?

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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarchitect7 View Post
    I will still say that to this day I still dont understand the difference between DIESEL, macros, and Script.
    ....
    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    Diesel is a holdover from the old dos screen menus and is still pretty much limited to menus. Macros and script however are not a specific language. They basically mean the same thing, i.e. text stored to be run at once rather than typed in manually. In autocad, they take on a little different meaning. A script still holds that purpose and is executed with the SCRIPT command. A macro is the text used by a toolbar button. Macro has also evolved from the 80's where is was just a script to also refer to a vba method. I think this is because vba replaced most proprietary macro languages. However, vba is a high level programming language and the term is not used inside vba, just inside the program that hosts vba.

    As far as suggestions go, have you read the other posts in this thread? You'll need to develop your own goals based upon your needs. I would recommend checking out the other sticky threads at the top of the vba forum, esp this one. It list some books you might want to read. Check out the ATP archives for classes.
    C:> ED WORKING....

  7. #27
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    For starters, the basics of AutoCAD cover a surprising amount of day to day activities, and they are well covered by LISP. The newer functions mostly cover automation of these functions and custom automation of these is (generally) not needed or covered by 3rd-party add-ons.

    If you are preparing for a future CAD Management position, you will encounter much more LISP/VBA than .NET. The .NET stuff you will encounter will almost all be compiled DLL provided by outside consultants; the chances of getting the source code along with it is not great. Rember, with LISP and VBA, the source code is the program, with .NET the source code and program are separate and don't always travel together. In my opinion (of course), it will be some time before you see engineering companies with their own .NET AutoCAD programs with documented source code. Also consider that if you create support functions for a company in .NET, you must consider the capacity of the company to support and upgrade those functions in the future with somebody else operating in your position. Also to consider, is the company going to spend money on converting its existing library of older functions to .NET? Like it or not, most things come down to budget in either terms of hours or flat out money.

    If you are looking at companies that develop add-ons (like the consultant you were talking to), then yes, knowing .NET is indispensable. They will typically develop programs with .NET, providing the DLL/ARX to clients while retaining the source code to preserve their rights.

    The IDE for Visual Studio is much better than that of LISP or VBA, no question there. Have you looked at the .NET language yet?
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  8. #28
    All AUGI, all the time Avatart's Avatar
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarchitect7 View Post
    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    I would say that if you are using full AutoCad and are looking at Revit, that VBA would be your best bet, you could port a large amount of what you learn programming for AutoCad to Revit and beyond as well, possibly hooking up with Word and Excel too.

    As much as I love working with Lisp, I think it is on it's way out and I will have to move with the times. I am learning Revit, for which Lisp is of no use, so look out VBA, here I come!
    ^^ Ceci n'est pas une post ^^

  9. #29
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Avatart View Post
    I would say that if you are using full AutoCad and are looking at Revit, that VBA would be your best bet, you could port a large amount of what you learn programming for AutoCad to Revit and beyond as well, possibly hooking up with Word and Excel too.

    As much as I love working with Lisp, I think it is on it's way out and I will have to move with the times. I am learning Revit, for which Lisp is of no use, so look out VBA, here I come!
    Thats exactly what was going through my head. Right now as I'm learning VB with Visual Studio I dont see how I make the connection to AutoCAD. But one thing I do know is Revit doesn't support Lisp at all and thus makes learning that much more redundant if I'm going to have to come back and learn something else just for Revit. Here is where I know my path for programming.

    My goal as someone stated before, is to start with VB and hope that I can begin to connect the dots to how this all can benifit me regarding ACad and Revit. From there I would like to explore VB.NET and lisp just to get more comfortable with them for possible future needs.

    I will say that starting off, this becomes one big clouded picture. Obviously everyone wants to learn, but by doing so in a productive manner and with good use of their time. I take all this as just the learning process of my journey, but man it sure causes headaches (I like the idea of a padded desk top).

    I want to throw out an example real quck if I can. Within lisp I have written a program to create all the necessary layers needed within our projects. By the click of the button they are created with all the correct variables. In general terms, can this be done with VB? Thats where I'm contemplating. Can I do some of these things I have done with lisp but now only with VB?

    Anyway, I'll stop typing now.

  10. #30
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    Default Re: What API should I learn?

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarchitect7 View Post
    I will say that starting off, this becomes one big clouded picture.
    To lift the clouds from your eyes, try typing "VBAIDE" at the command line in AutoCad.
    ^^ Ceci n'est pas une post ^^

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