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RE: Software Comparison

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I’m not sure if there are too many programs on the market that are “User Friendly”. I don’t mean to criticize, but to be proficient with current versions of 3-D finite element programs as well as most CAD, structural libraries and even office packages (such as MS Office) the user must go through a learning process. I found this to be true with almost every software package I’ve worked with – the latest and greatest always improves by adding features and to get the most out of the features, you need to go through the learning process which means some unproductive period.

I recently upgraded from AutoCad ADT 2 to AutoCad ADT 2004 (then by subscription, 2005). The changes in the software were significant and it must have taken me over a month to become familiar with the new drawing process including the project database that and the ability to create details from plans and sections that you have already drawn. In other words, I work more efficiently but had to invest time in the learning curve.


I’m not familiar with SAP2000 or ETABS and am not making my comments with these programs in mind. I use RISA 3D and find it to be a very good piece of software – I would venture that those who have used these programs will stick with them. However, you need to check the manuals, tutorials and Tech Support. RISA3D is excellent in this regard.


Even a seemingly simple piece of software such as RetainPro can be used creatively to help an engineer to do some forensics on a wall that has failed. The software allows the user to recreate the existing wall section. This may not be apparent to most users as it is not addressed in the User’s manual (that I am aware of), but it is a plus with the software that helps you by saving design time and improving your profit margin. Any software can be used creatively as long as you stay in the limits of good engineering judgment.




Dennis S. Wish, PE

California Professional Engineer

Structural Engineering Consultant



-----Original Message-----
From: ARVIND BISARYA [mailto:arvindkbisarya(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 9:05 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Software Comparison



I have used SAP2000 & ETABS  since 1985 and I have been very happy with them.  SAP2000 is a general purpose software and very user friendly and technical support is excellant. 


Best Regards

Arvind Bisarya
mark francois <marfra(--nospam--at)> wrote:



We are looking at upgrading our general purpose structural software. We have not had much discussion on this list recently on software.

We are lookin at RAM, SAP and STAADpro can I get some views from users of the software and any other recommendation.

At present we use STAADpro2000 which I have never been happy with and ETABS which I like.



Mark Francois

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