[OpenSCAD] What's your opinion on these criticisms of Openscad?

MichaelAtOz oz.at.michael at gmail.com
Thu Sep 17 18:50:43 EDT 2015


In regard to the OP.

If you are from a programming background, and can understand the difference
between an iterative language and a functional language (even if you haven't
used the later), you will be able to learn to program functionally. You will
likely like OpenSCAD.

If you like to use your mouse to grab a cube and drag it, then OpenSCAD is
not for you.

In reality OpenSCAD is a descriptive geometry language, conceptually like
HTML, you define the layout. It basically builds a tree of geometry, not a
sequence of iterative statements. Once you understand the distinction, which
can take a mind-shift, it becomes easy.

Re OP items

1. 

- "(you cannot use it to pass variable parameters, for example)." wrong.
OpenSCAD is fully parametric, if you want it to be. 

- there have also been a number of advances since 2014. 
-- full recursion with concat() means the language is  Turing Complete
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turing_completeness>  .
--  List Comprehensions
<https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/OpenSCAD_User_Manual/List_Comprehensions>  ,
allow you to use variables in new ways.

2. 

- well it produces CSG geometry, he is correct in that you cannot get the
numeric result of a CSG operation and then use that to modify other
geometry, that breaks the descriptive/functional programming language
context. 
-- what that means is you need to calculate the point you are interested in
and then describe the geometry in that context. 
-- probably one of the more frustrating aspects for complex models, and has
lead to a number of proposals for change, which generally have not gone
anywhere, because they break the language context. Although there are some
workarounds which may become available (called OpenSCAD2 - although I may be
wrong - early days)

- OpenCSG and GCAL. What he misses about this is the usability aspect.
OpenCSG is quick, GCAL is Slooow. With OpenSCAD this gives you a quick
preview of your design, without the overhead of fully calculating the
geometry of every point. When you are ready, or need to, you can render the
full model. This combination is IMO what makes OpenSCAD stand out.

3. See discussion in above posts. Not a problem AFAIC.

Other points.

In his review, he talks about a .scad script to make the tool, unfortunately
it is not available. I suspect it could have been done in a better/easier
way using OpenSCAD as it is designed for. He is coming from a position of 'I
need to get the CSG result, but can't, so I did it this way as a hack'.

Finally, he has not looked into support. Have a look around the forum and
Github repository, you will find OpenSCAD is one of the best  supported
products, both by developers, and the community. Unlike Varkon it would
seem.





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