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29 Flaws in CUI

September 14th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

AutoCAD 2006 made a huge change in the customization of toolbars, menus, mouse buttons, and so on. The new environment is called “Customize User Interface,” or CUI for short.

Working with CUI for my “Tailoring AutoCAD 2006” e-book, I found dozens of bugs and irritants. Here’s my list:

1. The TbCustomize command prevents tampering with the user interface. It disables the Customize and Toolbar commands, but not the CUI command. (By disabling the Customize command, it prevents access to tool palette groups, and locking out Toolbar makes no sense, because it is an alias for CUIl.)

2. Commands are listed illogically:
– some are listed by name, as they should be, such as AcisIn.
– some commands are missing, such as AcisOut.
– some commands are listed by a description, such as 3D Pan, instead of 3dPan.
– several commands are listed by the same description, such as “Center” for Zoom Center, Ellipse Center, Center osnap, and DimTEdit Center. You can only tell which is which by examining the macro.
– some commands are listed with an option first, such as “4 Viewports,” instead of Vports 4.

3. The Customize User Interface dialog box is hugely complex, so it is strange that the Find command is “hidden” in shortcut menus, instead of on the dialog box’s toolbar.

4. CUI loads slowly. It takes 10 seconds to open the dialog box on my 2.4HGz computer with 1GB RAM and 300GB of diskspace. When debugging macros, this 10-second delay really cuts into ROI [return on investment]. Makes me pine for the days of editng the acad.mnu file with Notepad.

5. CUI is supposed to control how toolbars appear when AutoCAD 2006 starts, but most of the options don’t work.Properties such as Orientation and Default Location have no effect.

6. When creating a new toolbar, it does not appear until you exit CUI and then explicitly open the toolbar. Perhaps this bug is linked to the bug in #5.

7. When working with toolbars, CUI displays a non-operating mockup of the toolbar. All it does is display buttons that make a depressing motion; nothing else works, mockingly.

8.The Description area has incorrect wording. For example, the description for a toolbar’s Name is: “Displays the name of the menu item.” It should say, “Displays the toolbar name in the tooltip.”

9. Ironically, there is no icon for the CUI command, nor does it appear on any toolbar. Related to this, numerous other commands also lack icons.

10. You can no longer drag commands from CUI to the Tool Palettes — useful for adding commands to the palettes. No commands can be dragged out CUI to anywhere, as was possible before.

11. The Customize command should be an alias for CUI; instead, it displays a stripped-down version of the Customize dialog box that deals only with Tool Palette groups and their import/export.

12. AutoCAD 2006 uses eleven commands to do the work of 2:

* (1) CUI displays the the Customize User Interface dialog box.
* (2) CuiExport, (3) CuiImport display the Transfer tab of the Customize User Interface dialog box; could be replaced by CUI +1.
* (4) CuiLoad, (5) CuiUnload, (6) MenuLoad, and (7) MenuUnload perform the same action as the Load Partial Customization File button in the Customize User Interface dialog box.
* (8) Toolbar, (9) TbConfig, and (10) Workspace Edit are hardwired aliases for CUI.
* (11) Menu opens .cui and .mnu files.

Of the eleven, only CUI and Menu are unique.

13. A bug that has existed since menu macros were introduced: macros start with two ^C but should start with three, as in ^C^C^C, to handle deeply nested commands, such as PEdit. IntelliCAD uses 3 ^Cs, why not AutoCAD?

14. Several toolbar options were relocated from the Customize dialog box to the hugely-complex Options dialog box; why not keep thiings together in the CUI dialog box?

15. When selecting a .bmp file to use as an icon, CUI does not immediately display it. Instead, you need to scroll to the end of the list of icons, and then select it.

16. CUI remembers every .bmp file you load for icons, so if you are just playing around, be forewarned that there is no way to remove icons you don’t want.

17. When creating a new icon in CUI, you cannot start with a blank icon. You have to select an existing icon, erase its bitmap image, and then draw the new one.

18. The Button Editor lacks a floodfill tool. Filling areas with color requires picking every pixel.

19. When working with menus, the Properties pane lists the Large Image option, even though they are not used with menus.

20. Menus seem to show shortcut keystrokes automatically — sometimes. The pattern seems to be that Ctrl-keys are included automatically, but F (function) keys are not; they have to be hand-coded.

21. CUI displays a list of shortcut keystrokes. Attempting to print the list crashes AutoCAD. This bug was not fixed in Service Pack 1.

22. When creating new keyboard shortcuts, you cannot right-click and then select New Keyboard Shortcut from the menu — as with most other customizations in CUI. Instead, the menu shows “New Temporary Override.”

23. Buttons cannot have macros added from scratch. The Properties pane is blank until you drag a dummy command into it, and then edit that command’s macro.

24. When you drag a command onto a button, the button’s existing macro is replaced; there is no undo.

25. As with toolbar properties, the Workspace properties for toolbars have no effect.

26. Not all customizations are centralized in CUI yet. Among the missing are aliases and tool palettes.

27. While the documentation implies that only .lsp files can be added to the LISP section, you can include .vlx and other files as well.

28. Speaking of documentation, it is dismal for CUI — although I do understand the frustration of documentation writers working with unfinished software.

29. The .cui file, while in ASCII XML format, is harder to read and edit than the previous .mnu format. Indeed, comments in the .cui file warn agains editing it directly, an irritant to third-party developers.

Other flaws have already been reported by users and fixed by Autodesk — such as the .cui file becoming corrupt.

Originally posted by ralph grabowski from WorldCAD Access

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