RockWorks/17 Revision History
2015/Q1 (01/01/15-03/31/15)

(015) Cosmetic (03/16/15/JPR):  The upper portion of the main RockWorks menu has been redesigned to include a pull-down menu titled "Settings".  The Project Coordinates, Dimensions, Units, and Notes are now accessed from this new menu thereby de-cluttering the main RockWorks menu.  Toggling the arrows either to the right of the Settings button or along the far right edge of the Settings summary panel, will cause the Settings option to expand.


Clicking on the Notes tab within the expanded Settings menu will cause the settings menu to fill the entire dialog.  The dialog will automatically collapse when something other than Notes is clicked.

Items that have been relocated into the new Settings pull-down menu include those shown below ...

(014) Improvement (03/13/15/JCJ):  RockWorks17 now uses SQL Server Express as the default database format instead of MDB.  Before we go into the advantages and disadvantages of this change, some explanations are in order:

MDB (Microsoft DataBase) is the file format that is used by the JET (Joint Engine Technology) database engine.  The JET engine is used by the Microsoft Access and Visual Basic products as well as RockWorks16.  The maximum size of an MDB database is 2gb.

SQL Server Express uses a client/server model.  This means that it requires a running services to provide access to a datastore which can complicate deployment in some scenarios.  SQL Server Express is a downsized version of SQL Server (see next item) that limits the database to 10gb and 4 CPU cores.  Programs that are written to support SQL Server Express, such as RockWorks17, can be configured to use SQL Server instead.  RockWorks17 includes and installs the free version of SQL Server Express from Microsoft.

SQL Server Standard uses a client/server model that supports databases up to 524pb and 16 CPU cores.  RockWorks17 can be configured to use an existing installation of SQL Server as well as the extended version of SQL Server such as SQL Server Business Intelligence and SQL Server Enterprise.  SQL Server is Microsoft's flagship database product.



(013) Improvement (03/13/15/JPR):  RockWorks17 has been converted to a 64-bit program.  This means that the program can now address up to 17.2gb of memory (versus 4gb with RockWorks16)  for storing grids and block models.

Note: 64-bit support does NOT improve speed.  In fact, it can actually slow things down if a program uses the larger-range/precision integers and real numbers that 64-bit allows for.   To minimize this effect, we have attempted to retain 32-bit precision whenever possible.

(004-012) Improvements (03/13/15/JPR):  The following processes have been rewritten as multi-threaded operations:

Multi-threading (also called "parallel processing" or "multi-core processing") is a programming technique whereby tasks are divided into chunks and concurrently processed by separate processors. This can result in significant speed improvements (e.g. 3.5x with a 4-core Intel I7 processor). Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks being:

  1.  Increased Power Consumption: Battery-powered devices will be drained more quickly when Parallel Processing is enabled and RockWorks is performing a task that involves multi-threading.

  2.  Increased Heat: The CPU (Central Processing Unit) will heat up when Parallel Processing is enabled and RockWorks is performing a task that involves multi-threading. Fanless tablets and poorly-ventilated laptops
    may overheat and automatically shut down.

  3.  Uninterruptable Processes: The handful of processes within RockWorks that use parallel processing will post a message within the status dialog stating that the Cancel button has been temporarily disabled during the
    parallel processing.

  4.  Other Programs Run More Slowly: RockWorks will monopolize all of the processors when multi-threading. As a consequence, other programs that are concurrently running will slow down.

(003) New Feature (03/13/15/JPR):  A new option titled "QuickMap" has been added to the Borehole Manager.

This QuickMap screen provides a means to quickly review the location of boreholes.  It is NOT intended to replace the other borehole mapping programs or to produce publication quality maps.  Instead, it is only intended as a tool for seeing if "things look right".  Notable features include;

(002) Cosmetic (03/13/15/JPR):  Two new tabs, labeled "Borehole Data" and "QuickMap" have been added to the region to the right of the Borehole List.  The Borehole Data tab shows the borehole data while the QuickMap tab shows the new QuickMap page (see above).

(001) New Feature (03/07/15/JPR):  A new checkbox titled "Omit columns with no data." has been added to the new Miscellaneous Options pulldown menu within the 2-D log designer.

This new feature will omit the following data columns, on a log-by-log basis, if they do not contain data.