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Dynamo: Sandbox or Studio?

By Joseph Freund | CAD, Visualization

There is self-selection for users that ask about Dynamo; they are usually familiar with Revit and are looking for higher-level ways to control the creation, arrangement, or analysis of BIM objects in a project. Dynamo, after all, was originally developed as a visual programming tool for Revit.

Over the past 10 years, however, it has since expanded its compatibility to Civil3D, Alias Design, Formit, and Advance Steel. Standalone flavors were created that do not depend on Revit et. al, and are available as a full version with Dynamo Studio, or the open-source developer version Dynamo Sandbox.

You may be wondering…

What are the differences between Dynamo Studio and Dynamo Sandbox and which one is right for me?

The following two articles from Dynamo experts Zach Kron and Sol Amour have the best descriptions of each product and for whom they were built:

Dynamo Studio

What is it?

Dynamo Studio is the core technology with Autodesk’s geometry tools, and access to cloud services without any other software prerequisites.

Who is it for?

For those of you in education, we hope this can become a more widely accessible teaching tool. For folks in offices, we hope this can be a bridge between non-Revit users and Revit based projects. We hope this enables you to work on Dynamo sketches on the subway, or talk with consultants and collaborators across other platforms like Navis and Rhino, and open up computation to users beyond traditional BIM.

Dynamo Sandbox

What is it?

DynamoSandbox.exe is the free Dynamo core technology (scripting language, node diagramming, execution engine) that can use some of the geometry tools available in Revit, and doesn’t have the ability to sign into cloud services.

Who is it for?

Dynamo Sandbox is for package developers and other folks working with Dynamo code who want to stay up to date with the latest and greatest stuff coming out. Sandbox can be used as a general programming or orchestration interface for other programs as it can run without any other Autodesk program installed. As a BIM Manager you can test host non-specific packages out in a safe environment prior to deployment.

Ultimately, I only recommend using Dynamo Sandbox for BIM Managers, package developers, or power users that are already intimately familiar with Dynamo. The latest builds for Dynamo Sandbox, including daily builds, can be found at DynamoBuilds.com.

For other users that want access to Dynamo’s visual programming interface but do not need access to Revit objects via the Revit API, then Dynamo Studio is the best option. As mentioned above, Dynamo Studio is stable and has access to cloud services, which gives it a leg-up on the Sandbox. Dynamo Studio can go places that Revit can’t go as easily, such as ultrabooks or tablets running Windows 10; expanding the places where you can be productive.

If you are still uncertain which product is right for you, then you may have an interest in developing for Dynamo, but just don’t have the experience. If this resonates with you, then I recommend the following links to get started developing packages for Dynamo:

Dynamo Developer Resources

Getting Started with Dynamo Custom Node Development

Do you have any sales or technical questions? Call us at 888-768-7568 or send us an email!

INDUSTRIES: Architecture, Buildings, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering

About the Author

Joseph joined Microsol Resources in 2019 as an AEC Application Specialist. Joseph has a B.S. Degree in Electromechanical Engineering, and a Master of Architecture from Iowa State University. In his free time, he loves camping under dark skies and taking photos of nature.

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