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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the premise of this project, concisely?
The premise of this project is as follows:
  • Just like software design, architecture possibly also has a source code which is closely aligned to how it is represented in the architect's mind.
  • This source code can be objectively exchanged and discussed with interested parties and so an open-source movement can be started.
  • An open-source movement in architecture should also bring in seminal improvements to our world and safeguard all our concerns.
The highest objective of this project is to develop a system of practising architecture so that it is more accurate, socially responsible and the intention is clear to everyone -- even after the decision makers are long gone.
This website is a center point to develop documentation for this project. It will also serve out all the required software, and give links to other websites that will provide the actual solutions in the field of architecture.
Read more on the premises and objectives here.
  • Why can't we simply use drawings to exchange knowledge among collaborators. Won't that achieve the objectives of this project?
  • The AEC industry has worked out the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) specifications for exchanging BIM information. Why cannot we use that for this project?
This project actually started in 1989, way before the IFC came into existence. There are many overlaps, but we believe that there are many important questions that TAD is asking which possibly IFC has no immediate answer. For e.g. How does IFC represent a design during the early stages? Are solids and spaces being represented non-redundantly? Is IFC graceful to highly customized (aka hand-made) designs as seen in third world countries? We are currently not experts in IFC so possibly these questions have been answered. If so, this project can take up IFC as the standard for this open source movement in architecture. Unfortunately, we've been disappointed so often for so many years by commercial organizations and standards that are backed by commercial organizations that we hope you understand our skepticism. In any case, we will surely be developing export (and if possible, import) capabilities in TAD for IFC.
  • Is this like the openarchitecturenetwork.org portal?
Open Architecture network has the same intent as those expressed here: To collaboratively develop architectural projects. To that effect, they have achieved a lot. They are not however getting into the semantics of the representation that are used for the collaboration. Our project will ultimately be digging deep into the representation itself. We are hopeful that the same representation system will be used by everyone. That means much more clarity of design, increasing the potential of bringing the lessons learnt in one project to another.
  • Is this a software project?
There are several software being developed as part of this project. Many (if not all) the software are/will be open-source. However, this project is not just for promoting software and leaving it there. It is for developing a system of practicing architecture so that it is more accurate, socially responsible and the intention is clear to everyone -- even after the decision makers are long gone. Though the term open source is used frequently here, it also refers to architecture and much of the software developed here. The attention should not be on the software because software are just tools to achieve the main objectives.
  • Are the software used in this project also open source?
Not all of them. The main software, TAD Designer lite is currently a freeware (NOT open source). The reason is mainly because it was developed using proprietary languages. Once it is ported to open source languages, then it would be made a open source software. Even then, the project could be using proprietary/commercial software as the need be. Even if it was not an open software, it is a promise that ALL software will surely be a free (free as in beer) software. We will scour the Internet and make 'bundles' of software (FOSS) which will promote this project.
  • So if it does not really use open source software, then how can one have an open source movement in architecture?
Just the same way an open source developer may be buying some of his/her tools and some of those may even be proprietary (like the chair he/she sits on). This project can also be using commercial and/or proprietary software, etc. That does not mean that the data that the architects want to exchange cannot be opened out to each other.
  • How does this really improve architectural projects?
Say architect "A" made a chair design that was TeamTAD certified. As it would be adhering to The Design Science License , it would mean other architects (say "B", "C", etc.) can use it in their own projects and even improve on it. Say architect "B" used it for an office waiting area module. As part of the Design Science License, "B" can use it ONLY if the waiting area module was also under the Design Science License and possibly TeamTAD certified. So now, architect "Z" can use that office waiting area module in another Design Science License project. More importantly, considerable amount of time is saved for each architect because "B", "C", "Z" used the earlier architects works
And thus the chain of usage continues, with none of the architects "A", "B","C", "Z", etc. ever feeling they have pinched any design. In fact as part of the conditions of the Design Science License, acknowledgement MUST be given to the copyrights to all the previous architects
  • Why should the TeamTAD certification be of help to me?
The certification is a reference standard that is a fairly clear mark of quality. For e.g. when you say a bottle of wine is a Champagne you can be more or less sure of its quality; if you are familiar with the quality of wines produced in the Champagne region of France; for it is only produce from that region that can use that certification.
As per the definition at the Wikipedia , a certification mark is a type of trademark whereby a trader uses the mark to indicate the origin, material, mode of manufacture of products, mode of performance of services, quality, accuracy of other characteristics of products or services
So TeamTAD is a certification mark.
If you get one for your project, other users can guage it quite confidently on how and where to use your work. We are confident that many architects would want to get their works TeamTAD certified and we would all eventually build bridges between our various islands of knowledge
  • When I install and start using TAD Designer Lite, the main software for this project, I am asked to supply the username and password that I used to register at this site. How do I do that? Also why?
In the earlier version of this website; we had requested users to register at this site and only those who had done that would be allowed to use the software; and the same username and password could also be used to write documentation on this site.
We have now changed the registration system. The username and password required for using the software is not tied to the authors of the documentation present on this site. Therefore you have two kinds of users: Software users will register separately using this form. Those who want to contribute documentation in this site can login using their existing social networking accounts. The reason why we have done this is because those who are not directly using the software can also contribute to the documentation of this movement.
Please note that we have also imported the software registrations from our earlier website. Registrations are all free. We use it only to track users and occasionally send an email for important developments. We will not spam. Read our Privacy Policy
Now for the reason why we are asking for a registration: We do not want people to vicariously download our software and not actually use it. We want to be sure of the statistics of the usage of our software. So when we say that 358 people are now using it, it truly means that there are 358 people out there who have used it... and not that they merely downloaded it.
  • I am an architect and I can also do computer programming. How do I contribute?
We will be setting up various tools/secondary websites for open source software development. It will be open to all software developers, even if they are not from the architecture background.
  • I want to give feedback. How do I do that?
It is very easy to contribute to the documentation (which is in form of a Wiki, using the elegant pmWiki system). Just open up a wiki page in the appropriate location and you can put up comments there. To make it easier, we have given some starting link on the main page of the documentation and here is the link.. If you don't want to give feedback directly on this site, you may use our Facebook group.
  • Most Wiki systems (e.g. MediaWiki) have a Talk/Discussions page for each of the page in the Wiki. How is it implemented here?
It is true that most wiki systems have facilities for conducting talks and meta-discussions. This is done so that the documentations remain free from the clutter of sideways and meta-discussions. On this site we do not have such a feature directly. You may use our Facebook group for such meta discussions. The link is available at the bottom of every page of our site.
  • Is there a to-do list? May I view it? May I add to it?
We are using an external service called Remember The Milk to maintain all our to-do lists. Yes you can view the list at their site. If you are a registered user of TAD Designer Lite, you can also add your own entries to the entries you see there using this form.

Troubleshooting

  • I want to participate and I can use my Facebook/MySpace/etc login. However, I was still denied into this site
We want this community to be developed by highly interested and credible set of users. TeamTAD is an old project and for some reason it was hacked time and again. We thought of restricting the community so that someone using a free account will not come in and leave junk. But that would go against the spirit of keeping this project available for the maximum.
We are now trying out another option, which will allow people to come and use this project with practically NO restrictions: You may simply connect using your existing Facebook/MySpace/etc accounts. You do not require to register here separately if you want to edit the contents of the documentation.
In order that malicious people do not set up fake accounts just to hack here or leave useless comments, we also determine how many friends that person has in that social network; and this site gives editing rights only to those having a minimum number of friends. When the person edits, the status line of the account on the social networking site will be updated as per his/her activity on this site.
Hence the chances of getting real people with good intentions will hopefully be higher. This is an experimental login procedure. If this is readily accepted by the visitors to this site we'll continue with it, else we'll have to go for more traditional registration procedures to contribute to the documentation.
  • After I connect, I see an Edit this page link on some pages. How do I use it?
This website uses the excellent open source pmWiki system. To edit any page, use the supplied link which will give you a plain editor. This editor is NOT a WYSIWYG editor (i.e. you cannot use it like Microsoft Word) There are buttons on top of the editor which can be used for some common formatting options. At the bottom of the editor, you'll get a fair amount of guidance on what can be done in the editor, including a link to the documentation of the pmWiki system. Please note that in order that the site is not completely rewritten (accidently or otherwise) some parts of the site are non-editable, even if you have logged in using your social networking account.
  • How do I create a new page in this wiki?
While editing a page, just type out the title of the page you want to create and surround that title by double square brackets thus [[new page title]]. Then save the page. pmWiki will assume that you wanted to create that indicated page afresh, and it will give you a special link there. Click on that link to create the new page. It is all explained in the documentation of the pmWiki system.
  • How do I put tags of keywords (like Flickr) into a page?
Insert tags into a page by typing the keywords within (:tags and :) as shown below. Don't forget the colons:
(:tags keyword, Keyword, etc. :)
  • I wrote an external link, but it did not appear. Why?
When you create/edit pages, you are allowed to give any external links. However, a site administrator has to approve all external links before they turn up as links. If you hover the mouse over the approve site message, you will get to know the URL of the site awaiting approval.
  • When I tried login using my Facebook/MySpace account I find that it was grayed out. So how do I login?
The login uses a service from Gigya (www.gigya.com) Occasionally, the Gigya system does not seem to logout people correctly (usually due to Internet time-out problems). So if you had earlier logged out on your computer and if that logout process was partially completed; Gigya could get confused. It assumes that you have remained connected, so the said connection (Facebook/MySpace) is grayed out. If this happens, then the logout button is given below. Use that to logout again completely. (You should get two pop-up dialogs saying that the user has logged out AND disconnected. You may have to wait a bit for the process to complete as it goes through a complex Internet traversal):
  • I cannot even see any connection links. When I click on the blank space next to the message, I do see a Flash widget but it is empty. In some other situation, when I scroll I see the Facebook/mySpace links dancing around. Eh, what gives?
Unfortunately, certain browsers (E.g. Opera on Linux) do tend to behave this way with our site. Use this link to connect. Opera and other browser tend to block pop-up windows quite mercilessly. Usually, it should not pose any problem but you may see Opera switching to a new tab, which can be a bit disconcerting. Don't worry, after the connection process (which unfortunately can take a minute or two), you will be brought back to our site. If everything went well, you should be a proud user of our site.