[Plugin] Prototype Slope Marker tool

After a concentrated 3 week effort, Steve Baumgartner (@slbaumgartner) a has coded a prototype Slope Marker tool, as first discussed in June 2017, and later followed up in a more recent topic

Here’s a link to the latest RBZ file:

Please try it out and give us feedback (positive or negative, with or without Feature Requests).

Does anything not work as you expected? Are there forms of slope marker symbol you would like to use that aren’t included?

Planned enhancements for later versions include:

  1. Saving user-selected parameters as future defaults for subsequent SU sessions (they are saved now only for a single user session).
  2. Translation of the Input dialogue into other languages; and possibly also the User feedback messages and help/documentation, with a menu link to select language, and display the documentation as an HTML page.
  3. A user-input Note added to the slope marker.

Steve wants to take the time to clean up the code before formal publication on SketchUcation, as there are duplications and inelegancies in the code, to get the prototype working quickly.

So please don’t criticise the coding style just yet!

It has been tested so far only on Mac Mojave and SU 2019, but it should work the same on older versions of OS X and on Windows 7 or 10, and on versions of SU at least as far back as 2017, and perhaps earlier. When I return from a two week trip away from home, returning on 1 May, I’ll try it out on as many older versions of SU as I can, on both Mac and Windows.

If slope markers are your thing, try it out!

Here’s a link to the current documentation at the Plugin Store


Slopes in metric [e.g. continental EU] are typically shown in percents, e.g. “10%”, but in the UK, and related locales, typically it’d be “one-in-…” e.g. “1:10” or “1 in 10” - with an ‘up’ arrow [i.e. unit-rise per length, whereas “5:12” is American - based on inch rise per foot].
So a pedestrian ramp would be described as e.g. “1:21” [with a full-length up-arrow], as it’s almost always seen as a ‘rise’ - but for ‘falls’ on e.g. ‘flat’ roofs, paving-cross-fall or drain-runs, it shown as e.g. “1:40” [with a full-length down-arrow] with additional ‘fall’ notes where needed.
UK’s slate/tile steeper roof slopes are also indicated differently - are typically stated in degrees, e.g 27.5° or 54° - or sometimes, where it’s critical for coordination, a total rise/height of “2345 mm” - with clarifying notes etc: with steeper roof-slopes no direction-arrow is usually needed, as that’s obvious from the context.

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That’s very helpful, @TIG, and suggests a feature or features we could add.

The different denominators are no problem - the user can set that at will to any integer. And percentage is already an option.

And as well as Ratio and Fraction, we could add ‘rise in run’ to use the word ’ in ’ between rise and run.

I don’t think we should need to force the use of ‘1’ as the numerator (top value). If the denominator is correctly specified, the actual slope in the model should indicate either 1 in x or (if it isn’t exact) ~ 1 in x.

But there seem to be different conventions about whether the slope arrow should point down (as presently programmed) or as you describe for ramps, etc., up.

That suggests to me that we should include in v1.0 a user option ‘Slope arrow points [Up | Down | Up (don’t show) | Down (don’t show) ]’ as a list box choice, and then optionally add text ‘up’ or ‘dn’ to show which it is at the pointed end of the arrow.

The Marker Length can be chosen to make the arrow as long as needed.

And if we add a User Note option, that could take care of this usage too.

@TIG, thanks for the quick feedback!

The existing code allows the user to specify any denominator, but it would be quite fussy to try out values until you find one that results in a unit numerator! It’s easy for code to calculate while it has the data, so this would be a useful addition to the production version. Is the “in” text deeply ingrained, or would it be fair to assume a user would understand 1:10 or 1/10 or 10% to mean the same as “1 in 10”?

We debated some about arrows going up-slope vs down-slope. On John’s other topic about notation conventions for slope, the majority seemed to vote for down-slope so thats’ what we did. Adding an option for up-slope is also possible though a bit more work - coding correct placement of the parts of the markers was the main challenge of the prototype.

Regarding user notes, I must point out that there are already extensions that offer this ability (though not in the context of a slope marker as such). So, that won’t be at the top of my priorities unless a lot of people chime in to say they really need it.

Given the large number of configuration choices and the likely individual preferences for settings, I think that saved defaults needs to be high on the list.

The 1 in x variant turned out to be pretty easy to implement, so it will definitely be in the 1.0 release.

Awesome tool, thank you so much for sharing!
Dan - architect in LA

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Thanks for the feedback, @dan20047. There have been more downloads than we initially thought probable, so if there are further enhancements you can suggest, we may be able to implement them.

Your post has made me realise that I should remove the original 0.9 prototype link from the first post in this thread, and replace it with a link to the current SketchUcation Plugin Store version. [Now done.]

If you have used just the original v0.9 from this thread, do check out the slightly improved version 1.0 at SketchUcation instead. The main enhancement is that current user settings can be saved as defaults for future sessions, and a couple of minor bugs were fixed.