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Mac OS Lion to feature technologies useful to architects

Apple’s Lion holds features that will be very welcome to iterative design professionals like architects and product designers.


This summer Apple will release the next version of its award-winning operating system, Mac OS X Lion. As for architects working on the Mac platform there will be features in Lion that will feel like they were created just for them.

Iterative Design Professionals

The world of architecture is a world of iteration. It starts in architecture school, an indoctrination in the back and forth process of iteration, revision, refinement and finalization. This design process is not unique to architects but architects in today’s practice have particular challenges facing iteration in their field.

What are these challenges?

Quite simply, buildings can be vastly complicated. Even today’s luxury-level custom homes can be remarkably technical and challenging–and architects do struggle to keep their design process rigorous and orderly. The orderly part is there to help them keep track of the myriad decisions, responses and inputs into the architectural design process itself. And Mac OS X Lion will help them do this better.

This Lion Can Walk Backwards

It is routine for architects to create multiple design iterations, as noted above. Once schematic level design settles down into production it is still common for remaining smaller design tasks to go through multiple stages of design change and evolution. And this says nothing about issues that spring up in the field and force architects to revisit previously concluded areas of a building’s design.

Keeping track of all these changes typically forces architects to save and store multiple versions of documents with elaborate file-naming conventions to keep them orderly and meaningful for future search. In comes Mac OS X Lion. The Lion to the rescue!

01 - Mac OS X Lion features Versions. This is a screen shot of Apple's Mac OS X Lion Preview web page. Versions will be very popular with design professionals who iterate highly in their normal course of creative work, saving them stress and time and file directories.

Mac OS X Lion will feature something called Versions at the file disk level. It is essentially Time Machine built into the end user’s experience. And architects are going to be some of the happiest users of this new feature. What Mac OS X Lion does is “record” the evolution of a document as you create it. This will relieve architects (and other similar creatives) from the burden of feeling like they need to track every single major or minor design iteration into a separate “save-as” version–cluttering up directories with files that are essentially only holding small deltas in design differences.


With “versioning” built in architects can actually change design elements freely and if they want to go back and capture that older design iteration they can use Lion’s Versions to do that. (see screen shot above, image 01). Versions shows you the current document (state of) next to a cascade of previous versions–in an interface similar to Time Machine. You can see how your design work looked at any given time, you can revert entirely back to it or quickly copy and paste work from a previous version into the current version.

Now that last ability with Lion’s Versions is going to be very useful. Say you are an architect and you designed the layout for a master bathroom in a home. Later you developed a more creative approach and moved forward with that layout instead, only to discover that the client seemed to be more interested in features of the design not present in the second design but the one you did earlier. Did you save it? Not likely–as you believed you had created a much better solution.

With Mac OS X Lion you can quickly go back to that previous version and copy and paste all or part of that earlier design into the current design. Walla! Time saved!

To learn more about Mac OS X Lion and other useful features to creatives working under intense time pressure (film, architecture, publishing, etc) daily, visit this page. Lion will also have a feature called Auto Save.

Learn more here:

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