Is there a roadmap for BlenderBIM / IfcOpenShell development to present to not yet involved actors?

edited May 2023 in General

Beside the tutorial we are writing at EPFL, we are thinking about how we could suggest to the school to participate in the code development of BlenderBIM / IfcOpenShell. Writing this tutorial gives us ideas for development, but is there a more official roadmap for example on what to develop before reaching a Beta version?
Btw, congratulations and thanks again for these developments



  • There are these projects for the stable releases:
    but besides that I don't think there is an official roadmap, it's based on user needs and feature requests / issues on the github page
    @Moult or @Andrej730 would probably know if otherwise

  • There is this document: though the "The current roadmap" is not current anymore. However the intentions of the three phases of alpha / beta / stable (0.0.x, 0.x.x, x.x.x) are still there.

    From the description of beta (i.e. the shift from pure feature development to other aspects like tutorials, docs, usability, fundraising) it seems as though we are clearly entering beta territory. However these seem to me to be secondary criteria. The primary criteria in my mind of what makes us ready for beta is that people are using it productively for commercial-grade work. So far, I am only personally aware of @Ace, Pale-blue-dot, and @theoryshaw who are using it for end-to-end design and documentation (maybe @ChubbyQuark ? ). I don't count, of course. A lot of people are using it for portions of their workflow (i.e. model checking, non-design aspects like 4D/5D, quantity take-off) but I struggle to put a number on "a lot" and it's very hard to know how much it contributes to commercial-grade work. At the end of this year I'll put together a post to share some stats but for example right now we have 50,000 unique IP downloads of the BlenderBIM Add-on per year. That's certainly not a small number.

    I think the best way to know whether we're ready for beta is to simply ask people. "Do you think this is beta software, or does it still feel like alpha software?" If enough people say it feels like beta, then it is beta. If they say it still feels like alpha, ask them "which part?" and then we fix that part until it becomes beta.

    If 25 people can tell me it feels like beta (for their respective usecases that go beyond just model viewing), then I'd tentatively say we're beta. If 50 people tell me, then I'd confidently say we're beta. So ... as is the core of any open source project: the answer lies in the community.

  • I have done extensive research on the question of when alpha becomes beta, no, actually I just asked chatGPT but these 6 points are worth considering...
    1. Feature completeness: The core features planned for the software are implemented, although some may still require refinement.
    2. Stability improvements: Significant efforts have been made to address critical bugs and stability issues reported during the alpha stage.
    3. UI/UX enhancements: The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) have undergone iterative improvements to make the software more user-friendly and intuitive.
    4. Performance optimization: Performance bottlenecks and inefficiencies have been addressed, resulting in improved speed and responsiveness.
    5. Expanded testing: The software is being tested by a wider audience, including external users or a limited public release, to gather feedback from a diverse user base.
    6. Feature freeze: The development team has decided to stop introducing major new features and focus primarily on bug fixing, polishing, and incorporating user feedback.
    from my observation 1 to 5 have been achieved and 6 well I'm sure the smart people around here will come up with major new features

  • @condur this looks like an opportunity to ask people on social networks something like "Do you think BlenderBIM, with all its current massive achievements 😂, is... a) alpha software, b) beta software, c) stable software" 😉

  • While I haven't used this end to end on a commercial project, I have undertaken design, detail and documentation within the BB add-on. For me it definitely feels more Beta than Alpha. Most major features are present to author and develop an .ifc to documentation stage, I'd say its more around UI development and lowering the learning curve as much as possible and adding any vital missing features. That, said I'm not a software developer, just an end user who has used many of the main AECO offerings over the last couple of decades.

    @Moult I think you mentioned you had a list of key features you thought necessary before moving to Beta, is it worth putting these out to the community? Appreciate different use cases and sectors will prioritise different features but it could pave the way to a feature roll-out?

  • edited May 2023

    Thanks a lot for your answers and links. I hope you didn't take pejoratively that I qualify BlenderBIM as alpha development, it is indeed what is announced on the official website. I ask the question more to be able to explain to developers whose AEC / BIM are not the job where BlenderBIM is at the moment and to position its evolution compared to traditional solutions like Revit and Archicad : this to target where developments would be welcome.

  • No worries not taking pejoratively at all! I think the takeaway here is that:

    1. There is no secret roadmap. The list at tends to include the top priority features, driven mostly by user reports.
    2. Beta is hard to define, and I increasingly feel that its the community who should collectively decide when beta is achieved :)

    Another way to consider it is to look at the tiles on the homepage :

    1. Audit and analyse: I'd say we are very mature in this respect. More than beta, it's actually stable software and more advanced than any other IFC offering in the industry.
    2. Author IFC models: moving slowly from alpha to beta. It's possible though cumbersome to do small projects.
    3. Drawing generation: moving slowly from alpha to beta. See 2.
    4. Structural analysis: very much alpha. Only basic functionality.
    5. MEP systems: very much alpha. Only basic viewing possible. Very basic energy analysis modeling capabilities. No calcs.
    6. Costing and scheduling: moving between alpha and beta: getting pretty advanced in some cases.
    7. Facility management: between alpha and beta. Very powerful in the hands of an advanced user but needs more usability improvements.
    8. Live building sensors: very much alpha. Only simple integrations done.
  • edited May 2023

    Thanks a lot!

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