cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

Participant

Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

I need to rant about how rubbish Prime is, so I am looking at the support renewals and its coming in at like £3k for my current licenses. We only use MathCAD 15 as prime's functionality is so poor compared to MathCAD 15. So what am I paying for? I sat through a 30min webinar on Prime 5.0, the only thing that they had done was add a graphing app, I had to temper my annoyance that that was the focus for the prime 5.0 release. What about the simple stuff:-

1. Why have they changed how you do subscripts! Every time I type a variable I add a subscript, this is now a two button operation. Did the developers ever open up MathCAD 15? I have been through multiple software upgrades on AutoCAD, Solidworks, Inventor etc none of them just decide to change how the user fundamental interacts with the software.

2. Why are there no formatting styles available? Prime is there to present maths in a nice consistent format so we can deliver it to our clients, did the developers forget that the output from Prime is a sheet that is often delivered as part of a client engineering pack?

3. We have hundreds of MathCAD 15 calculations that we can't convert to Prime without lots of work to re-format and sort out. This is a ridiculous place to be, no other upgrade on other software platforms has ever created so many issues.

I am sure I could keep going if I had the time, PTC have taken a market leading piece of software and rubbished it, we used to recruit based on people having used the software, this is no longer the case.

So why not forget Prime, it has such a bad reputation, it couldn't do maths when it was first released and it has continued to disappoint from release to release. Stop what you are doing PTC and look at MathCAD 15, just update that, give it tabs and nice icon colours (because that's what we all need) and sell it as MathCAD 16, I can tell you the engineering world will rejoice, and you will see customers coming back to MathCAD! Or continue with Prime and watch all you engineering clients walk away.

29 REPLIES 29

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

The general consensus is that PTC thought Mathcad would be a nice (simple) addition to their modeling software; since 3.0 they have advertised that it interfaces with Creo.

 

What they didn't realize (IMHO) was the effort that would be required and the number of stand-alone users that needed the features you've noticed are missing.

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

You ask a very good question. I happen to have been the chairman of the technical committee way back in the day when PTC approached us to discuss the "re-write" of Mathcad (~11 years ago now). We understood the reason - modern software development tools and keeping-up with changes to the Windows OS and CPU technology. They wanted to improve the UI and make it more "MS Word-like". Bottom line was - they wanted to focus on the documentation aspect while rewriting it for a modern OS, thinking they would appeal to the larger audience of the general engineering staff member (the largest segment of their customer base). We told them they were missing the point. The core functionality is where this tool was at. To drive the point home I added that most every medium to large sized company most often have more senior engineers who write very useful "tools" in Mathcad that are then used by all other technical staff. Even though these people are fewer in number, their work is used and recognized by a much larger audience. I'll never forget the silence that overcame the room on PTC's side, and they had some high-level management there to make the pitch.

 

Given this, we told them they must maintain the functionality list first, then go after a modern UI. I cannot share how many times I was very firm in our requirements and how terrible the software would become if they didn't listen - all the members of the tech committee provided the same feedback. And here we are about 11 years later -  hey PTC, we told you so! I know of companies that have left Mathcad for other math/programming tools because there was no path to migrate Mathcad v15 files without excessive effort, and often without any way to fully duplicate the old functionality. And there still isn't. I've also told them to never change legacy behavior. I know you would all cringe if I were to share some of the conversations I've had in the past to try to make them realize how large a mistake they would make if they continued down this path. I left participation in this technical committee a few years ago, having had enough with their lack of VOC and listening skills - not only for Mathcad but other CAE tools as well.

 

Having said all this, I must give kudos to PTC for the connection they have developed to Creo. For their Mathcad customer base that uses Creo as their CAD tool, this offers a significant advantage. But, this does not come without issues - like trying to incorporate old v15 tools into Creo if the functionality is missing from Prime.

 

PTC - you had some incredible tools that were very powerful and unique, not only for the CAE world, but for the general engineering community as a large following. Unfortunately you've insisted on ignoring your core, primary customer base.

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

Its even more disappointing to hear that they just ignored a technical committee's advice. I am all for updating software and integrating it with other packages, but as a small consultancy we tend not to link all the packages up as by the time we set-up a mathcad linked to a drawing model file and maybe linked to an analysis file we would have spent all our hrs and missed our deadline! Most of our work is designing prototypes for our clients so the value in setting up linked bits of software is not really there as we rarely reproduce the same engineering.

I first came across MathCAD when I worked at Airbus in the UK, I guess their (or similar sized companies) requirements are maybe what is driving how they develop mathcad and the ptc suite. Certainly the wider community of small engineering companies has no influence.

The legacy behaviour is the biggest issue for me, as an example, AutoCAD still has all its legacy behaviour and it allows old and new users to be just as effective in the new versions on the flip side PTC have reduced expert users in MathCAD to beginners in MathCAD Prime and at the same time given it less functionality. But we can now do graphs in Prime, just like you have always been able to graphs in excel for like almost 20yrs. who uses MathCAD to do graphs anyway??

So do you know of any decent other options to MathCAD? We will likely to just keep using MathCAD15 till it no longer works on our computers, which will hopefully be a couple of years from now!

 

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

For PTC to not consider those that don't have the full suite of software packages is a serious error in judgement, surely even if MathCAD is intergrated with CREO the mathCAD still needs to be checked and approved and delivered as a document to a client as proof of some engineering? Am I stuck int he dark ages where I still supply evidence in pdf format to clients that some engineering was done?

The question then becomes will they improve prime and will it be in Prime 06? because if not then i don't see why i would pay for a support contract.

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

I believe that if you own Mathcad 15, you can use it forever without any further payments for maintenance. Mathcad 15 works on Windows 10, so as long as you have this latest version, you should be able to end future payments and use v15 until your computer systems do not support running this version or the licensing software required. I do stay on top of each release of Prime to see what has been improved/added. My wild guess would be that Prime 10 might be close enough to consider migrating from v15? Time will tell.

 

SMath is an option to Mathcad...interestingly very similar in UI and functionality to Mathcad v15. It will read v15 files too, but it is not without limitations. Worth a look when you consider the cost at $0! Migrating from Mathcad v15 would require very careful considerations of all pros & cons.

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

Under PTC both Prime and 15 use the same license.  They are changing that license so (I believe) you will need that altered license for 15. . .

 

Prime express is still free. . .

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

Hello Chris. Long time since we spoke.

 

I was on that committee, and I 100% back what Chris said. We were ignored. I go back much further with Mathcad than that committee though. I was on that committee almost since PTC acquired Mathcad, and prior to that I was part of a secret "Power users" group that advised Mathsoft. Until I was uninvited for testing of Prime 5.0, I alpha and beta tested every version of Mathcad since MC11. Mathsoft didn't always listen either, and if they had then static unit checking (the unit checking from MC12 through MC15) would never have happened. To PTC's credit, they did listen to that complaint, and Prime 1.0 reverted to the dynamic unit checking we had in MC11. But it was very clear from the beginning that PTC did not care about the existing Mathcad users (based on private conversations, extremely clear; but what was said was said confidentially, so I will say no more).  They have lived up to that, accompanied with a surprising (given how may programmers they have) degree of incompetence even implementing what they do want; the graphs in Prime 5.0 being an excellent example of that.

 

It's really sad, because Mathcad had enormous potential to be a game changing piece of Math software. Heck, it was a game changing piece of Math software! But it could have gone so much further if a company other than PTC had purchased it Smiley Sad

Highlighted

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

"...We will likely to just keep using MathCAD15 till it no longer works on our computers, which will hopefully be a couple of years from now!"

 

The same over here in Europe. Couldn't have said it better Chris.

In the meantime I'm learning MatLab. I don't like it, but it works.

 

Raiko

Re: Why do PTC continue with MathCad Prime?

Hello Fred,

 

you don't need prime for interfacing, since it is possible with MathCad 15 as well.

I used it and it worked. However, there was a bias from fellow engineers since the to and fro between Mahcad and Creo is not that transparent and the effort to define results that directly can be used in a design is quite high. E.g. when the result of a calculation is a shaft diameter of 23.35 mm you furthermore need code that converts the result to a more conventional dimension of, say, 25 mm.

 

Raiko