July 2011


In This Newsletter

AVAproject Suite 2011 is a Wrap!

AVAproject Fusion Series: No. 5, Compound Queries – “Now We’re just showing Off!”

AVAware Technology Feature: The Sky’s the Limit... When Your Head’s in the Cloud!

Under the Hood: What Makes AVAware’s Door & Frame Catalogs Sooooo Special

AVAcad Tip: Zero-Faced Mullions - The Most Versatile Pieces of Stick Material Are The Ones You Can’t Even See!

Our New Email Format: Perhaps You've Noticed Something Different...

Catalog Updates

 U.S. Price Books:

  • ABH
  • Air Louvers
  • Arrow
  • Cal-Royal
  • Corbin-Russwin
  • Dorma D.C.
  • Dorma E.D.
  • Dor-O-Matic
  • Glynn-Johnson
  • Hager
  • HES
  • Ives
  • LCN
  • McKinney
  • Meek
  • PDQ
  • Pioneer
  • Rixson
  • Rutherford
  • Schlage E.S.
  • Stanley E.D.
  • Von Duprin

 Canadian Price Books:

  • Baillargeon
  • ABH
  • Adams Rite
  • Arrow
  • Corbin-Russwin
  • Daybar
  • Dorma D.C.
  • Dorma E.D.
  • Dor-O-Matic
  • HES
  • K.N. Crowder
  • Rixson
  • Rutherford
  • Schlage E.S.
  • Stanley
  • Stanley E.D.
  • Taymor-D10
  • Von Duprin

AVAproject Suite 2011 is a Wrap!

With the final supplemental release now available, the AVAproject Suite 2011 is now feature complete. Having released the 2011 version ahead of schedule, we just couldn’t resist adding a few more finishing touches.

It seems that no matter how many years and how many versions of AVAproject are released, the development team never runs out of creative ideas for new and exciting features. Our initial release of AVAproject 2011 came out ahead of schedule this year. Not being ones to remain content in our achievements, our development team went to work adding a few more final enhancements.

The final release of AVAproject boasts additional facilities to handle even more of the unusual openings and circumstances that sometimes arise when working on a project. The following is a brief list of some of the items added:


  • Support for multi-leaf openings. (i.e. openings with three or more leafs)
  • Enhanced support and reporting for multi-opening elevations. (i.e. elevation that contain a combination of several single or paired openings)
  • The ability to schedule and report on openings for which key details are yet unknown.
  • Enhanced options for atypical and custom door geometry.


This is only a sampling of features added and/or enhanced in the last update. A comprehensive list of features additions can be found in the product release notes and in the “Product Updates” page in the website customer area.

In support of AVAproject 2011, a number of important resources have also been made available and/or updated:


  • A detailed release document featuring screen captures and detailed explanations of the product’s enhancements is available in the public downloads area of the AVAware website.
  • A newly updated 2011 Edition of the “AVAproject Getting Started Guide” is available for download in the customer downloads area.
  • An updated version of the AVAproject online help file is bundled with the product updates and available for download separately in the customer downloads area.


The AVAproject development team would like to extend their sincere thanks to all the customers who generously offered their support and suggestions. It’s only with the assistance of our esteemed customers that we can continue to make AVAproject the absolute best product ever created

for the architectural openings industry.



No Time for Rest - AVAproject Suite 2012 is on its way!


No, this is not a joke. No sooner is one release completed, when work begins on the next. In order to deliver the volume of enhancements AVAware has been for the past several years, hundreds (even thousands) of man-hours are devoted to development, testing and documentation.

By the end of the summer, the development team will have finalized its feature list for the 2012 edition of the AVAproject Suite. In order to maintain quality and stability in a project as complex and mature as AVAproject, painstaking care must be taken in the planning and execution of any enhancements.

The last three years have seen record-breaking numbers of new features added to AVAproject. For this reason, we’re going to direct our effort in a slightly different direction for 2012. Detailed announcements and lists of new features will be made available as we move closer to the actual release date. Rest assured, if you thought the last few releases were impressive – you haven’t seen anything yet!

AVAproject Fusion Series: No. 5, Compound Queries – “Now We’re just showing Off!”

This is the fifth in our special series of articles profiling our newest product offering: AVAproject Fusion. Fusion is about mastering your data. Information from AVAproject or virtually any other Windows-compatible data source can be brought together, manipulated, reported on and reformatted for use in other applications. See your data any way you can imagine it.

The first four articles in this special series each focus on major components of the powerful, new AVAproject Fusion. This one however, is intended to highlight one of the more eclectic but impressive features. With a program as complex as Fusion, it’s difficult to truly encapsulate all the elements that have to come together to make it function. Fusion’s data access engine isn’t a single component, but an engine comprised of many powerful technologies - each one being more impressive than the next.

A feature such as “compound queries” is eclectic to be sure. It’s simply not the sort of thing one requires every day. But when this

utility is required, there are very few pieces of software that can deliver it with the power and simplicity that Fusion does. As such, we thought it would be worth devoting an article to this aspect of the data access engine. Beyond providing a brilliant example of Fusion’s scope and complexity, sometimes we software developers (like all great crafts people) just need to show off a little.

In our third article (“Data Filters”, May 2011) we provided a brief overview of how Fusion allows the creation of SQL queries using a “near-english” interface. Put simply, complex data queries can be composed by non-technical people and executed against a

given database or project files. Fusion takes the “near-english” query and translates it into a SQL statement, compatible with the database engine being used. (MS Jet in the case of AVAproject Fusion files).

Data queries vary widely in terms of their complexity. A very simple query might be: “everyone who lives in the state of New York” or perhaps: “all transactions that occur after a given date”. These are very straightforward and can be created in Fusion in a matter of seconds. The challenge comes when the queries become more specific or “granular” in their scope.

The AVAproject Fusion Filter Builder

As an example, let’s suppose one wants a list of transactions that:


  • Occur within a range of dates
  • Were created by one of two salespeople
  • Are not yet paid


The task of creating this report would necessitate a very complex SQL query. Such queries are constructed using tools called “Boolean operators”. The most common of these are the “AND, OR and NOT” type statements that we’ve all seen programmers use to our horror and dismay. The real power of Fusion is in its ability to separate us from this painful process.

The additional challenge with this example is that the data set being requested involves both “inclusions” and “exclusions”. We must begin with the entire database (all the transactions) and filter away the ones that are not required. Another way of summarizing the sample query is through a sequence such as the following:

  1. Begin with a list of ALL the transactions on file.
  2. INCLUDE only the ones that exist within the date range Date 1 through Date 2.
  3. EXCLUDE transactions that were not created by Bob or Jim.
  4. EXCLUDE transactions that are paid.
  5. Display the items remaining.


In SQL, queries exist as single statements. Programmers make a single, often long-winded, request of the database server. In order to accomplish our sample task, the server requires programmer to construct a single SQL statement that, by the use of Boolean operations, encapsulates this entire process. Fusion does not.

In the Fusion Filter Builder, queries can be entered as a series of “steps” – much like the preceding sequence. Fusion will then create the SQL statement and deal with all that Boolean nastiness. Our three include and exclude statements, stacked in a compound Fusion query:

include#2 AND exclude#3 AND exclude#4

would be conceptually distilled down to a Boolean argument such as:

((include#2) AND NOT (exclude#3 OR exclude#4))

The complete syntax of the resulting SQL expression is much longer than anything we could include in this article. (There are mailbox space capacities to consider, after all). Suffice it to say, constructing the query in Fusion is considerably easier than the traditional way.

The intent of this article is certainly not to teach programming techniques. A thorough explanation of the process touched on here is far beyond the scope of this article. The point to take away is simply this; Fusion now makes it possible for non-programmers to accomplish that tasks that were traditionally left to the I.T. department. AVAware’s design philosophy is built upon the notion that technology, well designed and properly implemented, should empower its users to complete tasks that there were previously unable to. From that point of view, it’s fair to say that the power of Fusion is in its ability to empower its users.

Many of the concepts discussed in this article are expanded upon in the AVAware publication: "AVAproject Fusion: Theory of Operation". In it, data structures and the interaction between project components are illustrated in much greater detail. This comprehensive document is available in the Downloads section of the AVAware website.

AVAware's Monthly Technology Feature

In today’s world, business people have had a seemingly endless torrent of technological lingo to have to learn and cope with. The language of modern business is feathered with three-letter acronyms and strange sounding buzzwords that become standard fare in the boardroom. It’s a cold hard reality that business people that want to thrive in these tech-saturated times have much more to learn than their predecessors ever did. The other cold reality is that understanding these technologies is essential to not only making important decisions but also to avoiding costly mistakes.

In previous issues of AVAwire, we’ve discussed a number of important technological issues from systems integration to application networking. We will continue to dedicate space in this and future issues to focusing on and explaining different aspects of technology as it applies to the business world today. Often time the reality of a given technology product is far different from the way popular culture perceives it to be or how vendors portray it.

The Sky’s the Limit... When Your Head’s in the Cloud!

The “cloud” is a visual analog that has been used for many years to represent the internet in flow charts and other component diagrams. Anyone who’s been keeping up with trends in the software industry has no undoubtedly come to the conclusion. The giants of Silicon Valley have all got their heads in the same place – the cloud.

Technology trend setters from Apple to Microsoft all believe that the future of computing is in internet or “cloud” based computing services. Along with a number of entertainment-centered services, both these giants have introduced services that offer a new approach to some very well accepted technologies.

Most business ranging from the mid-sized to the enterprise have long adopted platforms such as Microsoft Exchange as central repositories for their employee’s email, contacts, calendars and other business information. Exchange allows users to link all their computers and mobile devices to a central server. All emails received or sent are channeled through and stored in this highly specialized server along with their contact databases, calendars, task lists, etc.

There are many powerful benefits to adopting an Exchange-type platform, the most notable of which is synchronization. Most individuals have their email directed to a single computer or phone. Although it can be “forwarded” to any other devices they may own, each device must maintain its own copy of each received item. As such, users have to delete unwanted items from each one of their various inboxes. Contact information can also be replicated on each device. Changes made to a contact’s information on the desktop, must be manually made to the copy on the phone.

Although synchronization software does exist, the task is cumbersome and often left forgotten. Moreover, the computer or phone usually holds the only existing copies of this valuable information. Unless people are diligent with their backups, lost telephones or crashed hard drives usually result in extreme personal trauma.

An Exchange Server is the answer to all these inconveniences. Incoming email is directed to the server, each and every device is then connected to it. Every computer or mobile device that an individual owns gets a “mirror” copy of their emails and information. Any mail items that are deleted or changes made to their database is automatically sent to the server and subsequently synchronized on all of their devices. If one were to enter a new contact or appointment on their desktop computer, that new information would instantly appear on their cell phone, tablet, and even their home computer. The best part is that all that data is constantly being backed up on the server in real time. If someone were to lose their phone or laptop computer, they need only change their password and all that private data would disappear from the device. If someone were to get a new cell phone, they would only have to enter their connection information and all their email, contacts and calendar items would instantly download to the phone.

Over and above all of this individual convenience, Exchange Servers also offer co-workers the option to

share their information with their colleagues. When scheduling a meeting, for example, one could instantly view a consolidated calendar with all the intended attendees’ schedules displayed simultaneously. Invitations, notifications and contact information can be sent to anyone and everyone with the press of a button. There are even more advanced features offered by Exchange Servers, but this is clearly enough for someone to appreciate why they are so popular.

Traditionally, the resources involved in installing an Exchange Server can be very daunting to many companies. It involves setting up a dedicated computer with some very expensive software - that usually requires a lot of skilled attention. Because of the costs, this type of technology has generally been out of reach for most individuals and small businesses.

Microsoft has addressed these issues with the creation a new cloud-based service called “Office 365”. Office 365 is basically a combination of three popular enterprise server products (Exchange, SharePoint and Lync) that are setup and hosted by Microsoft. Instead of setting up one’s own servers, they can rent space on communal box that is accessed via the internet. Microsoft offers this product on a monthly subscription basis and makes the power of Exchange Server available to just about anyone.

A typical non-Exchange configuration: Each device interacts with the cloud independently

A Microsoft Exchange configuration: All devices are synchronized with the Exchange server

Apple has announced their new iCloud service that will become an integral component of their new Mac OS X “Lion” and their upcoming Mobile iOS 5 for iPod, iPhone and iPad (due to release in the fall). Apple has offered an Exchange-type service that allows email, contacts and calendars to be stored on an online server. This server would facilitate the synchronization of data between a user’s Macintosh computer and various Apple mobile devices. Apple’s service goes a little further than Microsoft’s, in that it includes online music storage and photo synchronization amongst other extra features. The one thing that may be an impediment to business customers however, is that unlike Microsoft’s cross-platform offering, Apple’s product is currently limited to Apple hardware exclusively. Clearly, both of these services provide exciting alternatives to the traditional approach to implementing these powerful business tools. Although their low cost and ease of implementation are extremely compelling, there are some caveats to consider.

The largest and most obvious one is that your critical (and very confidential) business information is residing on a computer that is not your own. This alone is a “deal breaker” for many security-conscious businesses. Certainly, no one can argue that this is not a reasonable cause for concern. Despite the fact that both of these companies have reputations that are beyond reproach, one can never be absolutely certain once they put their data “out there”. Ordinary people maintain the computers at Apple and Microsoft. Computers can be hacked and people do make mistakes. As a business owner, bear in mind you have absolutely no recourse should your information find its way somewhere it shouldn’t.

In addition, one must also remember that these services are owned and operated by outside parties. They and they alone dictate how these services function and how they are delivered. Frankly, they also get to determine if they are delivered. Several online services have “disappeared” over the past decade. Apple has just

recently shut down their “Mobile Me” service and replaced with iCloud. What this means is that one could wake up one morning to find out that the cloud-based service they’ve come to depend on has ceased to exist. There could even be issues surrounding the recovery of corporate data in such an instance.

Finally, one must bear in mind that internet-based services are dependent on... the internet. When internet connections go down (as they often do), data becomes unavailable. This is certainly may not be an issue when it comes to music storage, but when your mission-critical business data goes M.I.A. – this could be a problem.

At the end of it all, one must decide how much faith they have in their service provider and how far their trust goes. There is no right or wrong answer, the choice is an individual one. Responsible business owners must evaluate the risks against the benefits when considering the adoption of cutting edge technologies such as this. Just because your data is in the clouds, your head shouldn’t be.

Under the Hood:
What Makes AVAware’s Door & Frame Catalogs Sooooo Special

AVAproject users have always known that the Door & Frame catalogs that drive it provide extraordinary functionality and offer some truly unique capabilities. What they haven’t known is exactly why...

Several companies today produce electronic versions of popular door and frame product catalogs. All of them are alike in one important way – they are all essentially databases. Software vendors create small databases containing all the product grids and adds that make up the manufacturers’ catalogs. AVAware takes this one step further... one very important step!

AVAware catalogs are unique in that they are much more than simply databases. Like other

vendors, we do begin there. The first component is the creation of product databases. Product grids are interpreted and reproduced electronically and product adds are carefully listed in their own internal tables. The real power behind AVAware catalogs lies in the next component. Door and frame catalogs actually contain software in addition to the data. Every door and frame manufacturer constructs and prices their products differently. Some deal with varying jamb depths by adding columns to their price grids, while others have

dollar or percentage adds based on size. The same holds true for virtually every other variable surrounding a product’s construction. There are more combinations and permutations than there are manufacturers. In fact, it’s not uncommon for door and frame manufacturers to host extended training sessions just for the purposes of teaching their customers how to price their products.

AVAproject catalogs contain not only pricing data, but the “logic

The Internal AVAware Catalog Maintenance Tool

behind how products are actually priced and how that data is to be used. This sets it apart from every other estimating product on the market today.

In most estimating applications, users select the products they want use from a product databases. Adds and preps are subsequently selected and added just as you would additional products. AVAproject is entirely different. Regardless of what manufacturer catalog is being used, all a user needs to do is enter the data one would normally find on an Openings Schedule and select the desired product series. AVAproject does the rest. Not only does the software price the doors and frames, but it even goes so far as to explain how it came to that price. Any adds that AVAproject deemed to be applicable are listed in the product Material List. In most cases, these details even include page

references so that users can cross-reference the pricing components back to the original catalog.

This revolutionary technology can considerably impact the way an estimating department works. By using AVAproject, estimators can easily transition from one product line to another with a minimum of training and virtually no familiarity with the way the new products are priced. Moreover, distributors can now allow people with less experience to perform take-offs and produce door and frame estimates.

AVAproject is such an effective pricing tool, that many manufacturers and distributors have used it to help teach people how to use their catalog and price their products.

AVAware's proprietary scripting language contained inside catalog files

How It All Works


AVAware creates door and frame catalogs through the use of a proprietary piece of Catalog Maintenance software (depicted below). In it, every aspect of a catalog, from general details to release notes, artwork, pricing information and pricing software, can be managed.

The process begins with what is called “breaking down” a catalog. Lists of available options are created for all of the catalog-driven columns that appear on the AVAproject Openings Schedule. These options essentially form the basis of the manufacturer’s product nomenclature and are cross-referenced to various

product series to restrict availability. These options also form the “keys” on which the pricing database is constructed. The AVAware Catalog Maintenance tool employs a book-based visual model to organize the various sections of a catalog. Catalog sections are replicated in corresponding sections of the catalog’s electronic counterpart.

The real power comes from the software component of the electronic catalog. Actual “programs” are created within each section that perform the process of pricing the individual products. The software takes the information on the Openings Schedule and builds a Material List for each opening

based entirely on that information. No additional work is required on the part of the user.

The software components of the electronic catalogs are written in a proprietary scripting language that was invented entirely by AVAware. The scripts are pre-compiled to a type of “pseudo-code” prior to distribution. That way, the run-time component (the piece that needs actually runs the script) remains extremely compact and most importantly, fast. It’s interesting to note that although AVAware created their scripting engine many years before Microsoft released their .NET language tools, Microsoft employed a similar distribution model in their technology.

AVAcad Tip: Zero-Faced Mullions - The Most Versatile Pieces of Stick Material Are The Ones You Can’t Even See!

AVAcad can be classified as an “intelligent” CAD package. Essentially, this means that it begins with traditional CAD and drawing functionality and enhances it with an internal “expert system”. The term “expert system” has been used in the computer science for many years to describe a process driven by its own sort of intelligence. AVAcad, for example, not only allows users to draw doors and frames; but knows how these items are constructed. When sticks are drawn on their own, they are presumed to be cased open unless and until a door, panel or pane of glass is added. At that point, AVAcad is able to determine what type of stop configuration is necessary, where mullions are required instead of jambs, and all the other geometric details that go into the construction of an opening. It’s never necessary to enter door or panel sizes in AVAcad, as those are obviously determined by the shape and formation of the frame itself.

At times, creative use of some of the components is necessary in order to accommodate special situations. A great example of such a usage is what AVAware calls a “zero-faced” mullion. Simply put, this is a piece of stick that is used to define the shape of a door or panel that has a facing size of 0”. When a facing width of 0” is given to a frame component, it becomes ‘invisible’ and no longer appears on the opening’s material list. It acts only as a borderline to define the shape of the door, panel or lite that it borders.

Our technical support team has provided the three real-world examples of the zero-faced mullion in action.



Example 1, “Saloon Doors”


Saloon doors” are doors that begin below the header of an opening and end short of the bottom. In addition, they are also usually double acting.

When a door is placed inside a door frame, AVAcad creates a door that fills the available space automatically. The addition of the door also results in the placement of stops on the jambs and header surrounding it. Changing the handing of the door to “double acting” will cause the stop to be removed and the frame pieces will be changed to cased open. To create the unique size and shape of the saloon doors, frame a pair of doors with additional stick pieces as shown in Fig 1a.

To complete the “saloon” look, highlight each of the two horizontal mullions and set their facing width to “0”. The final result is depicted in Fig 1b.

Fig. 1a, A pair of doors framed with additional stick pieces

Fig. 1b, Additional stick pieces with facing width set to "0"



Example 2, “Undersized Glass for Pass-Through”


In certain applications, it is necessary to undersize the pane of glass that is positioned in a frame. Sometimes the empty space is left open, while often there is a sliding piece of glass that covers it.

To create the bottom edge of the glass, use a zero-faced mullion as before. Fig 2a and 2b depict as example of such a lite.

Fig. 2a, A pane of glass positioned in a frame with a stick piece

Fig. 2b, stick piece facing set to "0"



Example 3, “Multiple Doors (Hung with Pivots)”


It is increasingly common in contemporary construction to use banks of doors that are hung with pivots. These types of doors can be found in both interior and exterior applications. Zero-faced mullions can be used to create banks of doors and that do not have mullions separating them.

An example of such an entrance (a bank of three pairs) is depicted in Fig 3a. Fig 3b depicts a bank of six glass panels.

Fig. 3a, A bank of three pairs

Fig. 3b, A bank of six glass panels

Our New Email Format: Perhaps You’ve Noticed Something Different...

Hopefully, you’ve noticed that the AVAwire newsletter has loaded more quickly on your computer this month. Mobile clients may have noticed that formatting has come across much quicker, and appeared before the many beautiful images have a chance to catch up.

This is because we’ve made a change to the format of the emails

we are sending. In the past, we sent the entire message (images and all) in a single transmission. This was especially great for offline readers because they didn’t have to wait for images to load after the email was opened. All the images were “bundled” in with the message itself. Unfortunately as this caused the size of the email message to increase dramatically, it caused problems for those who

had size limitations in their inboxes.

This edition of AVAwire uses an image linking technique to keep the initial message as small as possible. In this way, even people with size restrictions will be able to receive and read AVAwire (even if it is without all those beautiful graphics).

We welcome any questions, comments or suggestions about any topic mentioned in this edition of AVAwire. Please visit our website for more information, or contact us directly at (416) 239-9099.