September 2011


In This Newsletter

DHI's 36th Annual Conference & Exposition

First Look: Windows 8

AVAproject Tip: Keeping Multiple Project Revisions in a Single File

Bonus Tip: Providing Reports in Microsoft Word Format

Ten Long Years!

Catalog Updates

 U.S. Price Books:

  • Adams Rite
  • Algoma
  • Bradley
  • Ceco
  • Dynalock
  • Falcon
  • Fleming
  • Ives
  • Markar
  • Monarch
  • Securitron
  • Steelcraft
  • Von Duprin
  • Zero

 Canadian Price Books:

  • Bradley
  • Securitron

It’s time again for the Architectural Openings industry’s glitterati to don their best deal-making attire and converge upon another unsuspecting American city, for what promises to be two days of excitement – door and hardware style!

It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by since the Door and Hardware Institute held its annual convention in Chicago. No one will disagree that the industry has seen some difficult times these past couple of years. Although many might consider this to be a reason to forego attending the annual event, the more astute (and optimistic) might suggest that this is exactly what is called for during challenging times. It’s specifically during times of economic uncertainty that successful businesses rely on the relationships they have cultivated and those yet to be built.

For all of us at AVAware, the DHI Convention is our one annual opportunity to meet with many of our valued clients face-to-face. Although a handshake and few minutes of small-talk may seem trivial to some, we tend to look at it a little differently. As the developer of many companies’ primary business tool, we recognize that our clients depend on us every bit as much

as we do on them. There is simply no substitute for being able to share some face time, no matter how briefly. We look forward to hearing feedback, demonstrating new products and generally sharing our respective visions of the industry, its future and our role in it.

This year’s event is being held in New York City at the Javits Convention Center, on October 26 & 27, 2011. For those that haven’t had the opportunity to spend time in Manhattan, this is just the excuse you’ve been waiting for. Convention events are scheduled for the Wednesday and Thursday, leaving the following weekend free from some much needed down-time in one of America’s most vibrant cities.

For those that are planning to attend, please drop by and visit us at the AVAware booth (# 959). In addition, AVAware will be hosting two information / demonstration / Q&A sessions during the Industry

Marketplace event, scheduled for Wednesday morning. The AVAware presentations will be held in room 1E-02 on level 1 of the convention center, and we will be publishing additional details on the website and in next month’s issue of AVAwire regarding the specifics.

In this past June’s edition of AVAwire, we invited our readers to participate in a brief survey designed to help us determine what convention attendees would be most interested in seeing covered during our Industry Marketplace sessions. It’s not too late to share your opinion. We would like to invite our readers, once again, to let us know what would interest them the most in those sessions.

To complete the short survey, please click here.

To all those who plan to be in attendance, we look forward to seeing you in New York!

First Look: Windows 8

It seems like only yesterday that AVAware announced support for the newly released Windows 7. In fact, that was nearly two years – a very long time in the software world. On September 13, 2011 Microsoft quietly released their first “Developer Preview” of the much anticipated Windows 8. Time for us to get to work!

Software developers face a number of unique challenges in order to keep their products competitive and vibrant. Unlike most other products, software is never truly finished. Even if a developer has decided that they’ll never add another feature (unbelievable as that is), software products are dependent on the operating systems on which they run. Invariably, enhancements made to successive versions of an operating system such as Microsoft Windows, will result in issues with existing software products. As such, developers need to stay current with operating system developments and update their products to accommodate them. In the past, Windows Vista and Windows 7 (64 bit) have necessitated significant modification to AVAproject and AVAcad in order to effectively make use of the new features of those systems.

A Samsung 11.6" touch screen with Windows 8 loaded. These tablets were distributed at Microsoft's BUILD conference in Anaheim, California, September 13-16, 2011.

Windows Vista brought with it Microsoft’s new “virtual store” which led to the development of the AVAware Repository and it obsoleted the traditional Microsoft Help system which caused AVAware to completely redesign the HTML help system featured in our products today. Increased demands for system memory made 64 bit Windows extremely popular when Windows 7 was released. As a result, AVAware released 64 bit support in all our products. These are just a few examples of major development work that was spawned by changes made to the underlying operating system. The unfortunate thing, from a developer’s point-of-view, is that this work is “dropped” on us and we receive no compensation from Microsoft for

AVAproject and AVAcad operate flawlessly in the Windows 8 environment

having to change our products to accommodate their revisions. By the same token, however, we have no choice but to do so. Developers that fail to keep in stride with progress will eventually have to tell their users that they can’t install their software on the new computer they just bought, or even worse – tell them to downgrade. For us at AVAware, these are simply not options!



A Dramatic New Look


In an apparent effort to unify their desktop and mobile operating systems, Windows 8 features native support for multi-touch devices. It makes use of a similar user interface as that of the other tablet-based operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The major difference being, that it is actually a full-scale desktop operating system behind the scenes. Unlike devices like the iPad, Microsoft debuted their new OS on a Samsung 700t tablet built on an Intel Core i5 processor, an 11.6” screen, 4 GB of RAM and a 64GB solid state hard drive. This device is capable of running any application currently run on Windows today. In fact, this very tablet will be released shortly, preloaded with Windows 7.

The image pictured on the tablet’s screen is the new “start” screen featured in Windows 8. It bears a striking similarity to Windows Phone 7 and makes use of a similar tile-based menu system. This presentation is not completely unfamiliar to Windows users; it is virtually identical to one of the standard presentation modes offered in Windows Media Center.

Moreover, those “tiles” are not just oversized icons. They’re actually desktop “gadgets” – small applications written in HTML 5 that allow programs to display “live” information even before they’re actually running. For example, the weather application displays the current temperature on menu itself, without the users actually having to run it.

The user interface component of the operating system has changed more in this version than it has since Windows got its current familiar look with the release of Windows 95. Desktop purists can rest assured, that familiar desktop model is not gone. The new tile-based start screen (known as the “Metro” user interface) can be disabled in favor of the traditional interface.

Along with numerous new bells and whistles, it seems that Microsoft has gone back to a simpler full-screen application model. Apparently taking a cue from Apple’s lead, Microsoft has decided that a simpler screen layout is better. We can only speculate on their end-game, but the strategy appears clear – and very promising. The incredible success of smart phones and tablets in recent years has had developers scrambling to create scaled-down ‘mobile’ versions of their desktop applications to run on these devices. Microsoft apparently sees the future differently. They’ve decided to unify their software platform such that the same version of Windows that drives users’ desktop PC will also run on their mobile devices. Samsung’s 700t is only the first of many such devices we can expect to see leading up to the release of Windows 8.

For users and developers alike, the payoff is huge. Instead of incurring additional costs to develop neutered ‘mobile’ versions of popular applications, developers can focus on creating software that runs on a single unifying platform. Users will be able to run the same full-scale applications on their tablets (and hopefully soon their phones) that they do on their desktops. Imagine being able to put your desktop PC in your pocket. That will be the reality when the first Windows 8-capable smart phones begin to emerge. Tablets such as Samsung’s are clearly a huge step in that direction.

What does this all mean for Apple’s iPad and similar such devices? One would think that the future does not look bright. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivered a powerful message to the attendees of Microsoft’s BUILD Conference in Anaheim, California earlier this month. There has been a great deal of praise given to Apple this past year for the 35 million iPads they are    expected    to    ship.      Ballmer

AVAproject Meets Windows 8


Once we had Windows 8 up and running, the first order of business was to install the AVAproject Suite and see how it ran in the new environment. The first thing we noticed is that the .Net framework that has been pre-loaded in every release of Windows since Vista, is conspicuously absent. At this point, no conclusions can be drawn as to whether this will remain the case in the final release of Windows 8. Microsoft may simply have chosen to distribute a “light” build for the purposes of the preview.

Fortunately, the AVAware installer is designed to detect this missing component and guide the user through automatically installing it from the Microsoft web site. Once this step was completed, the installation proceeded normally. AVAproject and AVAcad installed and ran flawlessly. The only noticeable difference is that the program shortcuts normally found in the now-absent “Start” menu are now situated in “tiles” on the new Windows 8 “Start” screen.

It’s still too early to tell entirely what impact Windows 8 will have on AVAware software products, but it’s answering questions like that for which developer previews were created. For those that are anxious to play with the new operating system, be forewarned. This release is a “developer preview” only – it is NOT considered stable and definitely shouldn’t be used in a live production machine. It cannot be uninstalled and Microsoft is not providing any support for it at this point. Put simply, install at your own risk! That being said, previews such as this one allow software developers to get a “head start” on evaluating the impact that the new OS will have on their products and allow them to budget the necessary resources.

AVAware will continue to publish updates from the development team, as they continue to explore Windows 8 and enhance the product line to make use of its many exciting new features.

reminded the Windows faithful that 350 million Windows devices will be sold in the same time period and that 1.1 billion PCs are running Windows today. As he put it: "There is no phone, there is no tablet, no operating system on the planet that will ship 350 million units of anything, other than Windows!”

This would certainly lead one to believe that if given the option of a tablet running iOS with its 100,000 application library or one running Windows 8 and its millions – the choice is clear. It’s fair to assume that most of those 1.1 billion Windows users will prefer to leverage their current investment in software by purchasing a tablet that allows them to run the same applications that they do on their desktops.

For additional details on Windows 8 and its new user interface, please have a look at Microsoft’s Windows site:

AVAproject and AVAcad icons in the new Windows 8 "Metro" user interface

The development of Windows 8 is being directed by Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky. He is the same visionary designer that spearheaded the acclaimed Windows 7 release. He was interviewed this past June by the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg at the D9 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

In addition to providing details of his vision for Windows 8, Sinofsky also gave the first public demonstration of the upcoming operating system. The following is a link to a streaming video of the interview and demonstration:

AVAproject Tip: Keeping Multiple Project Revisions in a Single File

Whether it be for the purpose of tracking changes or simply for archiving, detailers often find it necessary to keep past editions of a given project on file to refer back to. AVAproject’s discrete file architecture makes this task effortless; there is virtually no limit to the number of revisions of any given project one can keep. There are times however, when it is more desirable and advantageous to keep and maintain multiple versions of specific schedules within a single file.

With a product as mature and feature-rich as AVAproject, inevitably users discover ways to utilize certain features differently than even the developers ever imagined. One such example is the software’s ability to maintain multiple Openings Schedules for a project. This feature was intended to allow users to split up a project into phases, floors or even individual buildings while keeping the data all contained in a single project file. By doing so, it’s possible to generate comprehensive Hardware Schedules and Submittal Packages that encompass all the openings within extremely large projects.

Instead of using this facility for breaking up components of a project, it can just as easily be used to maintain multiple versions of one. By doing so, projects are not only easier to collect and distribute, but keeping multiple versions of a schedule in a “live” project file allows Material Lists and other reports to be run based on past editions with current hardware configurations. The first and most obvious benefit being the ability to evaluate the price impact of changes, by comparing successive Material Lists. The following illustration depicts just such a project; each time the Openings Schedule is revised, a copy is made and labelled with the change date.

Multiple Dated Openings Schedules in the AVAproject Project Bar

Note: The ‘Log’ component within the project file can also be used to record changes along with other events, dates and milestones related to the project.



Selectively Generating Reports


When a Material List is generated in the traditional way, it will reflect a culmination of all the various versions of the Openings Schedule. Obviously this is not desirable. In order to generate selective Material Lists (or any other report), one merely needs to select the desired version of the Openings Schedule and click on the top-left cell in the spreadsheet. With the entire sheet highlighted (as depicted below), select the desired report and request it be generated for “selected rows only”.

A Completely Selected AVAproject Openings Schedule



Selectively Generating Submittal Documents


Generating Submittal Packages for a single given Openings Schedule is an even simpler process. When the Submittal is generated, each individual Openings Schedule is listed as a separate component of the entire document. To eliminate the past editions, simple click on the green check marks (); they will be replaced by red (). AVAproject will not only suppress the printing of those schedules, but any data drawn from them will be omitted from the rest of the package (i.e. elevations, profiles, hardware, etc.). De-selecting an Openings Schedule makes its entire contents essentially non-existent; even abbreviations unique to that schedule are omitted in the Index of Abbreviations page.

The Submittal Summary with only the most recent Openings Schedule Revision Selected

As with the multiple Openings Schedule feature itself, this ability to de-select individual schedules was created with two entirely different purposes in mind:


  1. to allow users to keep “stock” and incomplete openings on hand without having them affect the project.
  2. to allow separate Submittal Packages to be generated for individual phases or components of large projects.


Once again, this is another example of how a powerful feature can be used in ways it was never intended. Our team is always eager to hear about innovative ways that our software’s users have found to utilize its various features and facilities. If you’ve discovered an innovative approach to a task, please forward a description to the AVAware support team – it may just become a featured tip in a future edition of AVAwire.

Bonus Tip: Providing Reports in Microsoft Word Format

Many AVAproject users have expressed the desire to have certain reports (specifically the Hardware Schedule) output in a Microsoft Word compatible format. It seems that some architects and project managers want schedules provided in a format that they can edit themselves or insert into another document such as a specification.

Although the development team is exploring the possibility of creating a “MS Word Export” facility for AVAproject, it is possible to accomplish this task right now. The process begins with “printing” the desired report to a PDF file using a tool such as Adobe Acrobat, or any of the many other third-party tools available online.

The next part is a bit more challenging. The difficulty in converting a PDF file into Word format is in preserving its formatting; the more complex the report layout, the less likely that it will be translated perfectly.

While it’s a simple matter to simply print to a PDF file and copy/paste the text into Microsoft Word, this will not preserve any of the reports formatting or aesthetic attributes. There are several tools available to perform this conversion, but the best we’ve encountered is one called “Nitro PDF”. Although this product is not free, it is very affordable and does an excellent job of maintaining the text formatting in a PDF document. According to its developers, this program has been purchased by over 150,000 customers to date.

The software can be purchased online from the company’s website at: Currently, there is also a trial version that can be downloaded as well.

In addition, there is a web-based version of this utility located at: This site allows users to select PDF files from their local hard disk and have the converted Microsoft Word document emailed back to them.

Note: This information is provided as a service to our customers only and does not constitute an endorsement on our part. AVAware is in no way affiliated with Nitro PDF software and receives absolutely no benefit from the sale of their products or services. AVAware offers absolutely no support for their product and assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its operation or performance.

Ten Long Years!

This month marked the passing of an extremely important date at AVAware Technologies. In fact, this may have been one of the most important dates in the company’s history thus far.

It’s with great pride that we acknowledge Nelson Avila’s tenth year with AVAware. Nelson’s time spent with AVAware is second only to that of myself, and this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate this milestone in the career of one of our own.

In his official capacity as Vice-President of Operations, his responsibilities include many things from dealing with our vendors to overseeing the entire customer

Paul S. Kirsch, President & CEO

support and service process. There are very few AVAware customers that haven’t had the pleasure of dealing with Nelson and experiencing his passion and dedication first-hand. I’m sure all of them would agree that his unique charm and tremendous technical and industry knowledge, make him a vital member of our team.

For myself, I can only say that I’ve been truly fortunate to have Nelson as a colleague and a friend. It’s a rare luxury to have someone at your side that you

can rely on and trust so completely and absolutely. When faced with the passing of my partner and co-founder Steven Rendulic in 2005, Nelson was instrumental in keeping AVAware alive and helping me through some very difficult days. His ongoing contributions have truly made it possible for AVAware grow into the vibrant company it has become.

Congratulations Nelson and thank you for putting up with us (me) for so long. Here’s to the next ten!

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.