IES, Inc. Software for Structural Engineering

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March 2016
Table of Contents
VA 13: Big Picture
Lower Pricing
It Happened on PI Day
Online VA Forum

VA 13: Surpassing Expectations

The What, When, and Why of the Next Upgrade

This is going to be an IMPORTANT year. Already a LEAP year. It will be an OLYMPIC year. A PRESIDENTIAL year. And the year IES releases VisualAnalysis.NExT. We might call it VisualAnalysis MOOSE, or VisualAnalysis 13.0, or VisualAnalysis 2016. But whatever we call it, you definitely want it...here's why.

Editor's note: We later decided to call it version 17.0.

A Five Year Odyssey

For the past several years, IES source-code (what we write to create tools) has undergone a radical transformation from the inside out. We started experimenting with a new programming language (C# and Windows Forms) in 2009 with VisualFoundation 1.0. In 2011 we started an overhaul of the core components we use to create VisualAnalysis, which up until now has been built with C++/MFC technology, along with OpenGL graphics and numerous other 3rd party systems. 2013 started yielding the fruit of this push: VAConnect 1.0 and ShapeBuilder 7.0 both were built (in large part) upon the new technologies (C#/WPF/.NET 4.5) and components created for VisualAnalysis. For the past 18 months, most of our effort has gone into creating the best version of VisualAnalysis the world has ever seen.

Goals and Benefits

We have had many goals in this complete rewrite, many of which will directly benefit you. Many other benefits are primarily for IES engineers: easier programming, higher quality code, ability to leverage modern CPUs, fewer 3rd party dependencies, flexibility with regard to operating system, less overall code, consistency across our products, etc. But even these will yield improvements that ultimately produce more benefits for you.

What Benefits, Specifically?

The following is an incomplete list of what kinds of changes are coming. Please note that while we have made changes from the inside-out, we have worked very hard to keep the outside looking and functioning much the same as always to avoid disrupting your workflow and familiarity with the program.

Astounding Performance Gains

  • 64-bit Architecture: No 2GB Memory Limit
  • Full Multiple-Threading Architecture
  • DirectX/WPF Graphics
  • Fully Parallelized Design Checks
  • Area Load Generation in Parallel
  • Result Post-Processing in Parallel

Deeper Engineering Coverage

  • View Partially-Converged Results for 2nd Order Analysis
  • Automatic Model Checks
  • Automatic Result Validation
  • SJI Virtual Joist and Girder Tables
  • P-Delta Used in Time History Analysis
  • Plate Element End-Releases
  • More Accurate Design Checks
  • Better Custom Shape and Material Database System
  • More Flexible/Accurate Moving Load Analysis

Friendlier Operations

  • Automatic Combined-Members and Plate Connections
  • Ribbon Menu/Toolbar is Simpler
  • Simplified Report Management and Control
  • Merge Separate .VAP Projects
  • Snap-Points when Drawing Models
  • Automatic 'Named Color' Graphics
  • Many New Reporting Features
  • Optional Area "Sides" (supports/loads, etc.)
  • Simplified Preference Settings: e.g. Color Styles
  • Sticky Notes on Graphic Views
  • Many UI Simplifications
When Can You Get It?

We are working hard to get the program to about 90% complete and then we'll get out a beta-test version (Summer 2016). We encourage everyone to try the new version as early in the process as you can. The more people who evaluate it and comment, the better off we all will be when it is officially released (Fall 2016).

Editor's note: We spent about 5 months on VF 7, VA 17 was delayed!

 

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It Happened on PI Day

 

Terry's confused by the close occurences of St. Patrick's day (3/17) and PI Day (3/14) and the NCAA tournament. Here then is little bit of his own mad March...

PI in the Sky

an engineer circled the ground
calculating the distance around
he constructed on PI
his tower to the sky
and everyone gazed upward spellbound

 

A Slice of PI

an engineer scanned the gap between hills
a bridge here would test his skills
so he spanned a great arch
(a slice of PI made of larch)
then jumped with a bungee for thrills

 

Easy as PI

the EIT pulled up at the key
then shot a quick jumper for three
it banked off the boards
while exciting young hordes
"it's as easy as PI", said he

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Lower Pricing!

 

Competitive Network Licensing

We reduced costs for new network licenses by at least 37%. The changes were put in place last month. Pricing has gone through a bit of turmoil since we changed over to the new licensing system in 2013. We have now reached an equilibrium and rational prices.

Reasonable Maintenance

Maintenance costs have not changed but are now more consistent for all customers. Annual maintenance is now at 14% of new prices, per year, per license or seat for most products, and at 8% for the Quick- products. We will not raise any prices for 2016.

Single vs. Network

Single-user licenses are typically the most economical choice for one to five engineers using a given product. They also provide some flexibility for working outside of the office environment. Network licenses make sense if you have more people who need access to the software. Network licenses may also be simpler to manage and purchase as there is one license for all "seats".

Purchase or Conversion

Purchase new licenses of any type through the Self Service Portal. If you wish to convert between single-user and network licensing, we must do that manually for you and would be happy to quote prices or offer options. Please contact Olivia in the sales office (800.707.0816, sales@iesweb.com) for assistance.

Site Licenses and Large Installations

Because 97% of our customers purchase "off the shelf" licenses, we do not have any automatic way to purchase licensing for very large corporations. But we are very willing to provide a package tailored to your company's specific needs. Whether that is for consolidating billing or simplifying management of larger installations. Let us know what you need and we'll provide competitive pricing.

Competitive Upgrades

IES is committed to serving your needs for structural engineering software. If you use a competitor's product and would like to switch to an IES tool, we may be able to provide a significant discount on new-license costs to assist you in the transition. Send us some 'proof of purchase' or invoice from the competitor to identify the product(s) and tell us which IES tools you might like to purchase and we can provide a quote.

 

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Online VA Forum

 

Ask Your Peers?

Have you ever wanted to discuss IES products with other engineers? Perhaps now you can.

There is now a VisualAnalysis forum at Eng-Tips.com, where you can see that there is no real exchange of ideas, just some ads. It has some potential, but only if many IES customers actually participate. If you want to discuss questions that are outside the boundaries of technical support, this may be the place to do it. It is free.

Official Assistance

If you want good, fast answers about IES software capabilities, limitations, and features, please email IES technical support or use our FAQ.

For engineering questions that IES won't answer, we also suggest your local colleagues, or the professional organizations like ASCE, NCSEA, AISC, ACI, and similar.

Democracy Rules

Other possibilities exist for online discussion or exchange. These include Linked In, or Facebook, or similar. All it takes is for a few interested engineers to get the ball rolling.

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