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Customer feedback

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As a product manager, customer feedback is essential in developing our product. What we do well is nice to hear but what we don’t do well is what drives our thinking when determining what to put in each release. On a recent Pragmatic Marketing course I was introduced to the saying “As a product developer your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.” This is something we’ve been saying to each other on the Mathcad team for the past few months. We have ideas about what we want to do with Mathcad, many good (and some bad, which get shot down pretty quickly) but ultimately the people who should be deciding what our product should do are the people who buy it and use it. It’s a waste of resources to put something in the product, even something that seems incredibly interesting to us, if it isn’t useful to our customers.

At the end of August I visited several customers on the west coast. I was joined by our regional application engineer for the area. Between us we presented both the power of Mathcad as a tool for each company’s particular use cases and the product roadmap – what’s coming in Prime 4.0, what we’re considering for Prime 5.0. There were lively discussions – as a product manager I understand and appreciate the enthusiasm that short and long term customers alike have for the product and do not take offense at constructive criticism. I need that criticism to refine the direction of the product so it’s paramount I get to hear it directly from the people who use it. We got some very good feedback from the visits, a lot of that focusing on plotting – an area which we’ll be adding to greatly with Prime 4.0 (as mentioned in previous blog posts). All the feedback we get is added to our extensive enhancement database and will be used to prioritize functionality for upcoming releases.

We also got to talk a little about our new, in development calculation server product, PTC Mathcad Gateway. Long time Mathcad users may remember a calculation server product that was discontinued many years ago. PTC Mathcad Gateway is a similar product that will offer the ability to distribute the power of Mathcad worksheets to anyone on any device while protecting the IP of the worksheets themselves. Those companies we talked to seemed excited about the deployment possibilities of such a product and as we get closer to release we’ll talk some more about what it can do here in the blog.

Comments

For Prime to be considered a success, IT IS PARAMOUNT that it has all the functionally of Mathcad 15 as a starting point. I really like some of the new features in Prime, and will grow to like the interface. But currently, I cannot use my existing worksheets and tend to convert back to Mathcad 15.

Prying Prime 4.0 takes a big step forward.

Mike

Upgrading plotting should be a major priority!  The plotting ability of "original" Mathcad left a lot to be desired (a brief search will turn up a lot of complaints and requests,) but Prime 3.0 is primitive by comparison!  At an absolute minimum, get Prime back to the abilities of version 15.  As it is now I'm experimenting with pushing data into an EXCEL component and plotting in EXCEL.  (Anybody remember CricketGraph?)

Mike,

Every release we focus on bringing more MC15.0 functionality back to Prime, that is our top priority. The Prime version of Mathcad was developed because the legacy version was based on 20+ year old technology which made it difficult to update. Prime uses modern technology for the user interface but that means re-writing much of the functionality that got put in the older version of Mathcad over the many years it was developed. This takes time but it’s something we’re committed to doing – we know what we need to put in and we use feedback from customers to determine what order it gets added for future releases. We’ll continue to maintain MC15.0 for those customers like you who can’t yet migrate.

Andy.

Fred,

Data visualization is a major part of the next release, Prime 4.0. We’re taking a slightly different approach to get as close to MC15.0 level of plot functionality as we can in the release. To do that, we’ve been working on certifying, licensing and embedding a third party plot tool into Prime that already includes the functionality available in MC15.0 plus a lot more. This means that not only should Prime 4.0 be up to the level of MC15.0 plotting but it should include extras we’ve never had in Mathcad. Future releases of Prime will make use of the full repertoire of extra data visualization functionality the tool gives us. Until then we have a lot of work to do embedding the tool, creating the UI to make the formatting functionality available to the user in a clean and elegant manner and defining the data communication syntax. Early development work is promising and we’ll be able to share more of what we’re doing at a later date.


Andy.

Andrew McGough wrote:

Mike,

Every release we focus on bringing more MC15.0 functionality back to Prime, that is our top priority. The Prime version of Mathcad was developed because the legacy version was based on 20+ year old technology which made it difficult to update. Prime uses modern technology for the user interface but that means re-writing much of the functionality that got put in the older version of Mathcad over the many years it was developed. This takes time but it’s something we’re committed to doing – we know what we need to put in and we use feedback from customers to determine what order it gets added for future releases. We’ll continue to maintain MC15.0 for those customers like you who can’t yet migrate.

Andy.

Hi Andy,

I fully appreciate how hard the task was to essentially, re-write all the code. Please do not take my comments as being a stab at PTC. I really like some aspects of Prime and have been behind the development since day one. It has just been a little frustrating that Mathcad has not moved forward for several years. I do believe PTC will get it right and we will have a better product further down the line

Mike

Andrew-


Below is a post from August 1, 2012.


From the post...


  • Improved ad-hoc copy/paste between other applications: It is a common practice for some engineering teams to collaborate by copying Mathcad content (e.g. plots) and pasting them into an email for transmission.  Similarly, Microsoft PowerPoint is a common medium for conducting design reviews, and Microsoft Word remains a common final documentation format for extended teams.  Mathcad Prime 3.0 will support the direct copying of content to be pasted into all of those mediums.


From the post --->>> "Mathcad Prime 3.0 will support the direct copying of content to be pasted into all of those mediums."


Today is December 30, 2015, almost 2016...

I'm currently using MathCAD Prime 3.1 and cannot cut and paste content from MathCAD to Powerpoint, Word, etc.

(I can cut and paste a plot but desire to cut and paste an entire selection)


Will cutting and pasting content from MathCAD Prime ever be a reality?


(Currently I use the Microsoft "Snipping Tool" to perform this function...I would prefer to be able to save the steps and directly cut and paste.)

-Wayne




By Terese Brooks

Mathcad Prime 3.0 is planned for release in the latter half of 2013, promising stronger documentation and presentation, and delivering capabilities that will help engineering teams achieve higher efficiency through standardization and re-use.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Walker, Director of Product Management, to discuss Mathcad Prime 3.0 – as well as take a look at an early development build of the software.

Walker and the Mathcad team have received a lot of feedback from early adopters of Mathcad Prime, and a common theme of requests called for better documentation and presentation. Here are a few feature-level updates that the Mathcad team is actively developing keeping in mind this theme:

  • Templates: Templates help teams standardize both the presentation and content of design documentation.  The ability to also manage shared templates ensures documentation compliance. It also ensures adherence to design guidelines across team members, by building design checklists and references that leverage the breadth of the available worksheet features, as well as the new ones planned for introduction in Mathcad Prime 3.0.
  • Math-in-text: Improved by the new UI paradigms of the environment, this feature building off of past versions of Mathcad allows authors to create live math regions in-line with their textual presentations, offering a tight and readable flow to their reports when required.
  • Superscripts/subscripts in text, Greek character support: This is complementary to the returned support of math-in-text.  The reality is that such characters are not only required within the live math regions of a worksheet – they are also required within the textual descriptions that surround and describe them.
  • Spellchecker: Mathcad Prime 3.0 is planned to include a spellchecker for all pertinent ship-to locales, including user-expected behaviors such as identifying misspellings as they are typed.
  • Math-specific formatting and highlighting: Currently available for text regions only, the expansion of region formatting to math regions will allow customers’ entire documents to be fine-tuned to fit the page better, maintain consistency in presentation, and improve readability.  This will help users to draw a reader’s attention to specific results of the worksheet.
  • Text styles: Text styles allow forusers to quickly control the presentation of their worksheets in an ad-hoc fashion, but can also be combined with templates to become more prescriptive when generating certain types of reports or analyses.
  • Improved ad-hoc copy/paste between other applications: It is a common practice for some engineering teams to collaborate by copying Mathcad content (e.g. plots) and pasting them into an email for transmission.  Similarly, Microsoft PowerPoint is a common medium for conducting design reviews, and Microsoft Word remains a common final documentation format for extended teams.  Mathcad Prime 3.0 will support the direct copying of content to be pasted into all of those mediums.

Walker assured me that they have been listening to the feedback from early adopters of Mathcad Prime 1.0 and 2.0, again aiming to focus on this strong documentation and presentation theme.  While those plans comprise the primary part of the release plan, customers should expect two major integrations for Mathcad Prime 3.0 as well: an improved integration with Creo, and a newly introduced integration with Integrity.

Stay tuned for the next couple of days and check out my next blog post on Mathcad Prime 3.0 functionality features.

- See more at: http://blogs.ptc.com/2012/08/01/an-inside-look-at-mathcad-prime-3-0-part-1/#sthash.xt8Rl99y.dpuf

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‎Sep 10, 2015 09:13 AM
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