Sometimes I write about code & tech in the AEC industry.
Co-founder of Speckle.
Formerly Arup, Foster+Partners, WeWork, CASE Inc.

Hello Dynamo

Dynamo is a really powerful tool, and it becomes even more powerful when extended through custom nodes. If you have some basic knowledge of .NET adding you own functionalities is actually really simple, the so called Zero Touch Plugin Development lets you run any public static method in a dll from within Dynamo, isn’t it great?

Dynamo can also be customized by “proper” nodes that extend the :NodeModel class, these are quite more complicated to write, but allow for custom UI and other powerful features. I have written a sample Custom Node using this approach, as the documentation is not very extensive, check out the Hello Dynamo repo.

If you decide to go this route, please mind that the main function of a NodeModel, called BuildOutputAst does not calculate the output of the node itself, but instead it has to pass execution to another static function (in the form of a AstFactory.BuildFunctionCall) that has to live in a separate assembly! As a matter of fact, whithin the NodeModel you won’t even be able to easily access the input values, it took me really a long time to figure this out. On the other hand, custom nodes let you implement a WPF UI very easily, check the HelloGui.cs class for how to do this.

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