Speckle's 2017 Roundup

by Dimitrie Stefanescu
4 min read. Posted on Fri, Dec 29, 2017

Intro

The domain name for Speckle.Works was registered around March 2016. This means the end of 2017 catches us approximatively 9 months into speckle’s life. As some of you may know, this is not really accurate - this incarnation of speckle is built on lessons learned in the three previous ones: speckle.xyz, beta speckle and speckle streams, with the first going back to late 2015.

Below is a roundup of the last few months. This is not, by all means, an exhaustive list! There’s many rumblings and churns, most of it geared towards a better user space and some technical debt elimination (coupled with, obviously, introduction of new technical debt).

Rhino Plugin

There has been a lot of work going towards the Rhino Plugin (5 & 6), which now needs some final polish before release. Code is shared, and in theory it should be workable on Rhino for Mac with minimal changes.

Furthermore, since the UI is a completely separate layer based on VueJS (yes, in .NET! running in a browser!), bits and pieces could be used to jumpstart development for other CAD platforms - kudos to Luis for having the courage to embark us on this road!

So far, it looks good and it feels good: we hope this will entice people in the future to share and parcel their data. Some of us don’t scale well on Grasshoppers.

Code Consolidation

A big and invisible update: The .NET Rhino and Grasshopper plugin have been consolidated into one monorepo with the help of @Will Pearson and @Luis Fraguada. They have also set up a CI build system which makes development much more consistent and will hopefully lead to a proper release cycle and plugin packaging.

Furthermore, as a guarantee to Speckle’s openness, all code repositories have moved under a github organisation that is open to membership if you have something to contribute. Just ask!

(Building) Information Modeling

In response to industry feedback (sounds so formal - let’s call them solid chats with peeps doing real stuff!), Speckle Core has gotten a really sweet update to support Abstract Objects of any type and nature (within reason), thus paving the way for a truly schema agnostic future that does not compromise on transparency or flexibility. You can read more about it here.

Furthermore, Paul is looking into bringing the data richness agenda into main stream Rhino, to lower the bars for efficient intelligent design data communication. Expect news soon, right @paul_dotnet? No pressure.

Speckle Core

Speckle Core (.NET) has steadily improved - and will most probably continue to do so. It’s now more modular and accessible, and it’s a good low level foundation for building plugins, to the extent you can do them straight away in c# scripting nodes in grasshopper!

One thing that didn’t make it on this list: proper namespacing. But you know, naming things is hard.

Blender!

Just before holidays, we’ve seen Blender added to the future of Speckle: Tom Svilans has published an initial sketch of a Speckle client! I have no idea how it works, having never taken Blender beyond sub-d-ing a cube around, but this is definitively exciting!

Community: 120+ people!

The Slack group has grown from its meager beginnings when Luis set it up for me and him to coordinate better to a behemoth of 120+ people. Thank the fortunes not everyone’s talking at the same time!

Keep on ignoring the warnings that we need to start paying - we’ll get there, and we will hopefully find a way to circumvent and keep on spamming each other with amazing emojis.

Speckle 003

Speckle also got its first (now outdated) version release - 003, that introduced many goodies, like a more powerful API, queries, diffing, a new stream viewer ui with sliders, etc.

Going forward

What has been proven so far is that it’s possible: we can have an open source design communication platform that is owned by its users. It’s a lot of work!

Having trouble? Found a bug? Have a question? Join the discussion below our join our slack channel.