Prokitchen Demonstration Part I, Trying New Kitchen Design Software
I am getting tired of 2020 kitchen design software and all of it's shortcomings. But is Prokitchen any better? And will it run on something besides Windows?
The Current Situation I'm a kitchen designer at a small lumber yard who started selling cabinets online a couple of years ago. In addition to kitchens, I've got "Other Duties As Assigned." These entail waiting on regular customers, answering the phone, and most anything else that goes on in a retail lumber yard. What I also do is work on the websites (well, just Moulton Lumber's – The Cabinet Folks needed more manpower than we could spare I guess and it was better for customers to just shut it down) and I also will often cook up php/mysql apps to help speed things up for fellow employees.
This means I have a development box for web stuff (a LAMP server) and if I had my way, I'd just use Linux at work. I do at home, and it's way less headache. But I can't; we run 2020 for quoting kitchens, and that requires Windows. So I have two computers; one is for web stuff and the other is strictly for kitchens. I've made it work, but don't like it. 2020 came out with Version 9 lately though, and it's a monster. We now have, rather than a few computers, ONE single computer with enough horsepower to run it. So in addition to wanting to get off Windows, I'd like to find some software that doesn't require a supercomputer to run.
Different Kitchen Design Software? I get emails periodically from folks at Prokitchen. As far as I can tell, they're an outfit in Massachusetts that writes another competing software application used for designing kitchens. It's written in Java. Hey, Java is cross platform. Could I ditch Windows? A few phone calls placed last week led me to believe that it might be possible. Even if it's not, their software will run on something less than Deep Blue. I decided to give it a whirl, with the understanding that I'd like it to run in Linux, and would like an extended trial period as I'll have to be testing it at home, not work.
Here We Go Apparently Java apps are only cross platform when developers set out to make them cross platform. The Prokitchen programmers haven't I guess, because I couldn't get it running on my Linux box to save my life. I spent most of the day googling for java errors I was seeing, talking to experts in an IRC chat room, and emailing the sales rep at Prokitchen. I grabbed the Mac version and tried cramming it into Linux. No love. There are too many calls for native (to OS X) entities, and those don't exist in Linux. One other avenue to try is running the Windows version under WINE (a windows emulator that allows me to run windows apps in Linux) but I'm not ready to try that yet. What I've finally done is set up a Windows box at home and installed Prokitchen's Windows version on it, and the trial begins for me today.
What to Expect Renderings are supposed to look better than what I've been able to get with 2020 so far. While renderings in 2020 can also be better, there's scant information on how to get there, without paying money on top of the (already rather high) licensing fees. I'm supposed to be able to email people files that will in essence be 3D renderings they can walk through, and change the colors. That sounds spiffy. I've no idea what quoting is like, but I suspect it can't be any worse than the shenanigans I've got to go through when I want something to spit out a particular way in 2020. It should be interesting, to say the least, and I'll keep everyone posted as I go
UPDATE 1-17-2012: I got a call last week from Prokitchen. They have no interest in making the software cross platform, but do have some sort of viewing app that runs on an iPhone; there's an Android version either already done or on the way. The fellow I talked to mentioned this Android app, but didn't know what Linux even was…