Please try to remember that there are real people reading your posts here, including the team that is staying late and working weekends to bring something entirely new to life.
John, what a thoughtful reply from my negative post. I’ll try to reciprocate with something helpful. The bluntness of my previous post (and this one) is meant not just to be mean, but to emphasize the severity of the problems I think you face.
Choosing to move a 3D modeling app to the web is a tough choice to say the least. I remember hearing Mark Zuckerberg speak about Facebook’s decision to use HTML5 over native apps as his biggest regret—having to reverse course made them a year late to mobile. The promise of HTML5 web apps was there, but the reality was that the performance and interaction compromises were just too great. I worry that you are facing the same uphill battle.
As I mentioned, in my first hour of usage I ran into:
- (Several times) An issue where I became unable to change tool (i.e. hand/arrow/move) with either sidebar or keyboard shortcuts. I had to reload the page.
- Saving the scene took >10 seconds. The button didn’t change immediately to ‘saving’ upon clicking it (what is going on?)
- Clicking the ‘upgrade’ button on the outliner unexpectedly navigated away from the app entirely, rather then opening another page. Doh, we’re in a web browser. Cue lengthy app reload and file open.
- Frame rate way lower than same scene in desktop version. Simple boxes OK, loading a couple of more complex models from warehouse renders system very slow and unusable in a way I’m unaccustomed to.
- Clicked the ‘paint bucket’ button and app froze for ~5 seconds before returning control.
- The entire app froze crashed the tab in Chrome 67. Reason unknown. Lost a few minutes of work.
Zooming in particular (super critical part of using Sketchup efficiently) is horrendous:
- Zooming using my trackpad is difficult to control because it appears that “scrolling inertia” is present
- Zooming when you move two fingers right/left rather than up/down results in seemingly-random zoom behaviors
- Zooming speed is not proportional to amount of finger movement
- Zooming speed is modulated by low frame rate (slowed)
I’m sure you have a bug tracker somewhere with these issues in them already, as well as many others. However, I think you have a fundamental problem with your engineering process if a basic user can hit these issues in their first minutes. Maybe you have a theory too, but I have managed software teams for ~20 years and to me this usually means that the test suite is simply not good enough. I feel for you on this one. I can imagine how hard it is to build good end-to-end testing on a 3d modeling program in a web page.
Finally, regarding performance, you provide a link to the “improving performance” page, but it appears there are exactly zero actionable ways described to improve performance of the web version that don’t involve removing objects (which kind of defeats the purpose of modeling them) or “stick[ing] to simple styles” which most people will already be doing by default. The “Checking your computer” and “Setting OpenGL…” sections are irrelevant for users of the web version as far as I can see. Punting people to a fairly useless page on “improving performance” does nothing to acknowledge or fix underlying issues.
You and the team have done a lot of great work over the past years on Sketchup so perhaps these things can be overcome. I will be rooting for you!
Last question (sorry if I missed where this is addressed): What’s the deal with the desktop version now? Will desktop be a superset of web functionality or will capabilities diverge over time? Is everything going web eventually, or will desktop version live on? Hard to plunk down the $XXX for pro without understanding the strategy and where/how Trimble is investing their energy going forward.