When I make drawings, I like to use shown dimensions and parameters for everything if possible. When it isn't possible, I use the usual work-arounds, like everybody else.
When, for example, I have a set of holes patterned in two directions, my drawing note will often be something like:
'4 holes dia 8.5 through, c'bored dia 14 x 8 deep'.
The dimensions are no problem, I can use &d123, &d124, etc. as appropriate. The '4 holes' is more of an issue, because there are p1 holes in direction 1 and p2 holes in direction 2.
I tend to swing one of two ways:
1. I go into the part and make a parameter 'no_of_holes_parameter' and make a relation to make 'no_of_holes_parameter'=p1 + p2 and use the parameter in the drawing note,
2. I just type in the 4.
Neither method has a lot to recommend it. The typed in option (2) is clear and simple to understand for the poor tormented souls who have to modify my drawings in the future, but if the number of holes change, the note doesn't. The only certain thing about this method is that, at some time in the lifetime of the drawing, the note will be wrong.
The parameter option (1) results in a note that is fully parametric, but assumes that the same poor tormented souls are conversant with parameters and relations and how to modify them. It also assumes that the person making the drawing in the first place (not always me) has a good understanding of parameters and relations. In my experience, these are not good assumptions. Many people making drawings may have no interest in the finer points of Pro/E and its intricacies, or may be up against tight deadlines to get the drawings out and messing with parameters and relations can be seen as a waste of time. It also just makes the whole note a lot more complicated - unnecessarily so, I believe.
In my organisation, I would say that option 1 is the most frequently used.
My idea is this:
For every pattern, Pro/E (Creo Parametric) should create, automatically, not only the P1 and P2 parameters it does now, but an additional T1 parameter, which takes the value of the total number of pattern members (P1+P2 in my example). That way, the note just uses standard parameters and is not confusing or complicated.
I know it's not that hard to do the parametric/relation thing, but we are all enthusiasts on this forum. For some users, it is more complex than they are willing to engage with. Pro/E is just a way to produce drawings, a 3D drawing board. For those users, we need to make doing things the right way, the parametric way, simple and efficient.
If Creo Parametric 2.0 already does this, I apologise for being behind the times - still WF4 here.
Please vote up if you agree with me, and don't vote down just because you think it's easy enough as it stands. It isn't.
Just an additional thought to revitalise this idea:
Sometimes, I use the facility to make a pattern then click on the black dots to exclude certain members from being created.
In this case, the T1 parameter should report only the total active pattern members - the white dot ones should not be included. The same goes for when the software calculates mass properties, BOM quantities, etc.
I SO agree with your ideas, John. I would use this like nobody's business. I ALWAYS seem to have to put in a relation to count the number of repeats, and I use exclusions from patterns frequently enough to make it very desirable to have the parameter only report the included repeats.
I have not yet found a way to make a parametric note for patterns with exclusions, and this has bugged me for quite a while.