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Architosh Staff ([email protected])
24 Jan 2001 Updated: 7 Feb 2001


Mac Architect: AIA and Mac software status

Architosh brought news back in September 2000 that the AIA was finally going to produce a Macintosh version of their software for AIA electronic documents. As of this writing that software does not yet exist. Furthermore, it appears that the schedule for its implementation is not yet fixed or announced. Read on for more information.

Macintosh-Based Architects Respond

Back in September of last year architect Keven Pierce AIA wrote in with the following news (included in the report linked above) that a "Mac version [was] due out 'sometime in 2001'", according to the latest information from the national AIA (American Institute of Architects). That information was from Alice Sinkevitch, Hon. AIA, Executive Director of the AIA Chicago Chapter (312/670-7770).

Just recently Mr. Andrew Boone, Information Systems Manager for King & King Architects LLP, wrote in with the following message regarding EF 3.0, as sent to Phyllis Krasnokutsky of the AIA.:

Phyllis Krasnokutsky:

We have just received an update of version 3.0 AIA Contract Documents, Electronic Format. To date we have been running version 2.5 on Virtual PC, as we are a Macintosh Network. While not ideal, this set-up has worked for us. I was quite dismayed when we installed v.3.0 on the same machine and received and error message saying "Windows emulation on a Mac is not supported".

It's bad enough that the Macintosh platform is not supported, but even worse to re-write the software so it can't even be used in emulation of Windows. I cannot even see a rationale behind such a move, unless of course a Macintosh version was released at the same time. Why the AIA would purposely alienate a whole section of it's membership is beyond me.

Please let me know what the rationale behind this move was, and any update on a timetable for a version for Mac would be appreciated.

Andrew Boone, ISM, King & King.

The following is the AIA's reply to Mr. Boone, from Phyllis Krasnokutsky, Product Coordinator, Marketing and Research.:

Dear Mr. Boone,

We apologize for the inconvenience caused by the current release of EF 3.0. We do have a version getting ready to start testing (mostly likely in late February/March) that will run on Windows Emulation Software for the MAC. During the original beta test of EF 3.0 several security problems arose when the program was run on emulation software and the only solution we could arrive at was to create a separate version. In addition the AIA has committed to creating a true MAC version of this program. However, a development schedule is not available at this time.

If you are interested I would be happy to add you to the list of beta testers for the Emulation version of EF 3.0. Please let me know by return email.


Phyllis Krasnokutsky - Product Coordinator, Marketing and Research

Emulation Is Not Good Enough

While this phase in the development of software for electronic documents may be just a bad programming incident, the fact that in improving the program from version 2.5, Mac architects were once again disenfranchised and this is simply not exceptable

Macintosh-based architects pay their AIA dues just like the rest of their PC-based peers and deserve the same level of services for their membership dollars. This situation is inexcusable on a number of levels but we'll mention just a few.

It would be one thing if the percentage of Macintosh-based architects was dramatically less than the percentage of Macintosh users overall. Such a percentage would mean that architects are in general not inclined toward the Macintosh. But since the percentage is higher than that of the overall market, (currently it is estimated that 15-30% of architects use the Mac) with Mac use worldwide lower than 10%, then it indicates that the Mac is "actually popular" with architects. In spite of overall market trends the Macintosh is more popular in architecture than it is in general.

Secondly, if the above was still true and yet there was a lack of qualified architectural CAD and software management products available for the Macintosh, then the AIA would likely have grounds to argue that the support of a Macintosh version was financially untenable. However that is not true at all! The market bears a quite opposite picture.

"It's bad enough that the Macintosh platform is not supported, but even worse to rewrite the software so it can't even be used in emulation of Windows." -- Andrew Boone, King & King Architects

While Autocad may not run on the Macintosh, just about every other leading architectural CAD product does. Moreover, the leading architectural CAD products in their respective classes are not only cross-platform applications but started on the Macintosh and are Mac-spirited at the development level. ArchiCAD, VectorWorks and FormZ are all basking in the lime light that comes from recent (and many) CAD Shootout victories, glowing editorial coverage, and growing marketshare and adoption rates (much at the expense of Autocad's eroding marketshare). And all of those programs started on the Mac and are flourishing on the Mac.

And that is not counting such programs as PowerCADD, the new DenebaCAD 2.0, and the very new parametric model-based BOA CAD. And let's not even talk about 3D. The Mac currently is going through a 3D renaissance, for those who were unaware. Management programs exist for the Mac as well, largely due to FileMaker Pro's development flexibility and the loyalty of such developers as AEC Software.

All of this proves one thing. That the Macintosh architectural market (or AEC) is large enough to support the development of complicated, cross-platform software products. Indeed, to actually support a thriving group of competing products.

If the Mac is clearly popular in architecture...and software development is both viable and stronger than ever on the Mac in CAD/AEC then by all accounts the AIA's reasoning (if there is any) for not supporting Mac-based architects is simply flawed.

No Excuses for AIA!

So what is the AIA's excuse? Why can't they hire appropriate developers skilled in working with the excellent cross-platform development tools out on the market and produce a good cross-platform product? Even Microsoft can do this well and does. So what could be the AIA's motivation in disenfranchising a sizable segment of their membership?

Asking for AIA Mac Software

Below is the following contact information to the national AIA. Architosh will also be launching a Mac AIA Software Petition very shortly so that you can send in your comments and we can gather momentum. In the meantime please feel free to contact the AIA below:

Phyllis Krasnokutsky, Product Coordinator, Marketing and Research.
The American Institute of Architects
1735 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006
PH: 202.626.7382
FX: 202.626.7522

Contact Phyllis at AIA

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