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Deployment of both Mathcad v15 and Mathcad Prime 6/7

ChrisKaswer
16-Pearl

Deployment of both Mathcad v15 and Mathcad Prime 6/7

As most of the more experienced users of this board will recall, I am a very long-time user of Mathcad (I think it goes back to Mathcad 4!). You may also recall my significant reluctance to use and/or deploy Mathcad Prime...of any version to date, for the countless reasons we've all shared here. Even given this history, I am to a point where the topic has arisen within my division & company to consider deployment of Mathcad Prime ("Why haven't we moved to the newest version?"). Through all of this, I have given kudos to PTC for a number of advantages from newer features within the Prime family (yes there are some very nice capabilities we don't have in v15). Because of the continued, significant need to keep a foot heavily planted in Mathcad v15 world along with now a desire to begin considering a migration to (or inclusion of) Prime, I'd like to know if anybody has deployed BOTH codes to their community. If you have, how have you accomplished this? Was it worth it (i.e. would you go back and do it again)? I have one approach I would consider at this time. Any feedback would be very welcomed. 

 

I would very much hate to officially deploy 2 versions of an engineering/math tool to a large group, but PTC's insistence on leaving many superior capabilities behind with v15 leave me little choice but to consider this approach - and use the code that best supports the goal of the user. Because we use Creo as our native CAD package, it would make a ton of sense to deploy Prime for the occasions where we would like to integrate these tools (I know we can integrate with v15, but it's more involved). Honestly, that's about the only reason (the largest by far anyway) I'd move forward with it...maybe the user community wouldn't realize an advantage to integrate them, or not enough to make it worth it?

 

I'm looking forward to a "lively" conversation - I just really wish PTC would have followed a path to have removed the need to ask such a question!

7 REPLIES 7

I've retired.

 

But before I did, my company (a division of Lockheed) wrestled with just this problem.  I (and a very few others) had been using Mathcad (I think I started around 4 too!)  When Prime 1 came out I judged that it did not have enough computing power to be useful.  Prime 2.0 didn't even get installed.  Just about the time Prime came out my group tripled the number of engineers; as senior engineer I decreed (!?!) that we would use version 15, but many of the new (young) engineers pushed back, "Eventually version 15 will not be supported,  Why should we learn two editors?"  They began to generate work in Prime3.0, and I was forced to learn another editor.

 

About the same time several other groups (that supported production) began to generate Mathcad files to "standardize" routine calculations, and they mostly used Prime.  When I retired the company engineers (and most other Lockheed engineering groups) were using both and complaining about not being able to exchange files.

 

Most of the newly graduated engineers have been spoon fed MatLab in school, and they want to use that.  (I took great delight when I found an incorrect MatLab result, usually a unit conversion error, and corrected it using Mathcad with units.)  As far as I know Lockheed is still running both versions but the file exchange issue is preventing wider use.

As you imply, part of your decision will be based on the relative math capabilities of M15 vs. MP6 and part of it will be based on integration with Creo, among other things.  And, as retired Fred lamented, the younger engineers will muck up the best laid plans.  I don't envy you.  🙂  Unfortunately, it seems to me that you may need to run both versions, at least for a long while, because you seem to need the more advanced capabilities of M15 AND the better Creo integration of MP6.  If you only want to run one version, then which advantage is more important than the other?

 

As non-retired Fred, I have it much easier than either of you...except for the part about not being retired.  Everywhere I have worked--from a small one-office civil engineering firm to two different multi-national multi-discipline firms and a couple in-between--I have been the only (or one of the few) Mathcad user(s) I could find.  I have also been one of the few who still programs HP calculators.  On the other hand, all the engineers I work directly with use and abuse Excel, even when it’s the wrong tool.  I have encouraged the younger engineers I work with and mentor to learn Mathcad (or at least give SMath Studio a try), but so far only one has made the move and he just started.  Thay all like seeing the Mathcad worksheets I prepare, but I am pretty sure they think it’s magic.  In the end, I have never had to deal with a situation involving lots of engineers all using Mathcad and having different preferences.

 

I also have it easier because my math needs are relatively modest compared to what I assume you need.  I deal mostly with algebra, trig, root solving, a little programming, a little calculus, small matrices once in a while, some simple statistics, the occasional symbolic, and so on.  I am currently using MP 5.0 at work and I have a personal copy of MP 3.0 at home, and there is nothing in M15 that is missing from MP3 or MP5 that I need.  One of the reasons I favor MP5 over M15 is the presentation quality of the output.  I sometimes prepare calculations that will be reviewed by a client or a governing agency, and I have found that the better looking and easier to read output from MP5 makes my life and the reviewer's lives much better.

 

BTW, I started with Mathcad by demo'ing Mathcad 2.52 (the last DOS version) in the late (?) 1980s.  I instantly liked it better than TKSolver, which I had been using for certain calcs.  I then progressed through M4.0, M5.0, M6.0, M7.0, and M8.0.  For a long time, I stayed with M8 because it did what I needed, and I was doing less pure engineering for a long while.  I jumped to MP3.0 when M8 became too frustrating to run on modern computers.  I had demo'ed MP1.0 and MP 2.0 and felt they weren't finished.  MP 3.0 was the first version that met my modest requirements, even though I knew it was a pale shadow of M15.

"I also have it easier because my math needs are relatively modest compared to what I assume you need.  I deal mostly with algebra, trig, root solving, a little programming, a little calculus, small matrices once in a while, some simple statistics, the occasional symbolic, and so on.  I am currently using MP 5.0 at work and I have a personal copy of MP 3.0 at home"

 

If this is true, you might think about letting Prime fall back to Express.  (That's what happens when a "30 day evaluation copy" times out--the "premium features" are disabled.)  Since I've retired I can't justify the retirement special of $300/year for a license; so I'm constrained to Express.  It feels a lot like very early Mathcad: no programming, no solve blocks, and some strange selections in regular features.  (I'd stay with 3, or get 4.0 if you can--later versions splash a large disclaimer across each page, 4 has it  as a footnote.  There is a fairly strong effort on this forum to expand Express through innovative math; you can even put gridlines on the native graphs!  Built in 4.0 Express:

Fred_Kohlhepp_0-1612962022213.png

 

Thanks to you all for your thoughts and suggestions. I have created some pretty involved files with Mathcad in the past - some for my own use to solve unique problems and many developed for others to use. Many use a significant amount of programming too. My thought is to use Mathcad 15 when I develop a design/analysis tool that can be deployed to the org where options are required and/or good plotting is needed. Until Prime has a release with controls (7?), it's more clunky to create a nice I/O without them. Some of the tools I've created rely heavily on plots (good ones, and some are 3D), so Prime is out. BTW - this one really bugs me that a really solid, higher-end plotting tool is not part of Prime yet...it's actually quite shameful to not have at least the previous version's ability for plots in the year 2021 (or even 2011). Many tools I work on more recently re-use approaches I've created in the past and most all of those do not convert into Prime files...and some can't be re-created in Prime...yet (somehow there's still a part of me that's optimistic after all these years of waiting!).

 

I am going to dig a bit deeper into Prime 6 the next few weeks and I might roll Prime (😨) with the caveat that if they can't get what they want, we use v15 with my help. Files I create in v15 for others to use should be straight-forward for people to interact with, so they shouldn't need to learn (or remember) to much to use the older Mathcad. This way they can focus on Prime and hopefully PTC will invest in the skill set and bandwidth required to drive the software toward v15 capabilities.

 

I'll try to remember to update this post with how things work out after a few months. I'll look forward to any further thoughts anybody may have.

 

Thanks!

fyi, Prime 7.0 is still supposed to be released in February (2021).  We'll see.  The updates don't look very special.  Hopefully they fixed the GUI bugs like they said they did.  Pulldown menus maybe.  Updates to the new symbolic engine.  

I own MP 3.0 outright (no subscription) and the MP 5.0 I use at work is company software, so no need to revert to Express.  Also, Express doesn't do programming or solve blocks and I use both features.  My company is large (>50,000 employees worldwide) and has enough Mathcad users to justify making it available to anyone who needs it.  I just haven't met any other Mathcad users in the offices I deal with regularly.

I'm glad that you have Prime available to you and you're satisfied.  I used to use programming and solve blocks a lot too, when I had them.  Now that I don't, it's surprising how inventive you can be; and how powerful Express can be. I never used recursion before, but it can be used as a substitute for programming; and the root function can be pressed into service to replace a lot of solve blocks.

 

I didn't intend to suggest that you needed to change your lifestyle.  I'm just sharing what I have learned about the new software. 

 

(I have looked at SMath.  Perhaps because I'm familiar with Mathcad it seems a great deal different.  I also seems to rely on vectors for plotting; I am more tuned to plotting functions via range variables.  SMath also seems to want more programming; something I really like to avoid if possible.)

 

It boils down to personal choice.  Be happy with yours!  I would like to have full access to Mathcad 15 and Prime, but but for what PTC wants me to pay.

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