+1 vote

I have been using openLCA for about six months now. While it was initially somewhat difficult to make the transition from SimaPro to openLCA,  I feel reasonably comfortable with openLCA. I am using openLCA 1.10.3 version.

Based on my experience (and personal opinion), I have some suggestions for improving the user interface of openLCA as I found many things in the tool quite irritating.

1. Renaming a parameter (process or global) does not also rename its uses automatically everywhere. So, suppose I create a process parameter 'X' and use it at 10 different places in Input/Output flows within the process. If I change its name to 'Y', then I have to manually change 'X' to 'Y' at 10 different places, which is irritating. I think the new name should automatically be updated.

2. Many display columns (Flow, Category, Amount, Unit, Provider, etc.) in 'input/output' section of a process are not relevant but they take up the viewing space. For example, in most cases, I only need to see Name, Amount, Unit, and Provider of a Flow, but it currently requires me to stretch the column and them scroll right to see the entire name of the process. Since I don't care about Category, Uncertainty, Cost/Reven, Avoided (only in Input side), etc., there should be a way of hiding the columns that are not required.

3. As far as I know, once a product system has been created, no process changes (adding/deleting) any process/flows are possible or effective. So, if one need to modify the LCA model, they have to recreate a new product system for changes to take effect.

While it does not take time to create a product system again, creating scenarios (new parameter values) in either Product system or Projects is quite time consuming (at least in my case because I had multiple scenarios based on multiple parameters). Whenever I made a change in processes, I recreated the product system, which was not a problem. However, I had to reenter all parameter values in new product system for a scenario, or delete the old product system and add the new product system in Project even though I did not make any changes to any parameters in old and new product system. Since Project in my work had 10 scenarios (10 same product systems for comparison), each defined by a combination of 10 parameters, any minor changes meant reentering 100 datapoints in Project. 

So, there should be a) a way to replace old product system with new product system in Project without affecting all parameter values; b) feature so that one save the data in Parameter section of project so that it can be copied and pasted quickly.


These suggestions are based on my personal experience, and therefore, biased. However, the development team can still see if they make any sense and improve the user friendliness of openLCA.



Edit: I have not used the new version (1.11.0), so I am not sure if some of these suggestions have already be included.

in openLCA by (670 points)

1 Answer

+1 vote
by (89.5k points)
Hi Sourabh,

thank you very much for your feedback, this is really appreciated. Some comments back, so to say: For the parameters, as of now, they are just text (and parsed at execution time), thus renaming is not too easy but not impossible; for the scenario and parameter handling, we are now in projects often using an excel sheet to read the parameters from, and link the openLCA models via python. We will publish this on github (in the python section). With the tables: I agree that this is a quite compressed space in the openLCA UI. We will see.

All the best, thanks a lot,

by (670 points)
Thank you Andreas for the response.

A quick clarification:

"We will publish this on github (in the python section)". What is the expected timeline to release this feature?
by (290 points)
Hi Sourabh,

as of today, there is already code available on github. I have posted some details on where to find it and which method worked for here: https://ask.openlca.org/4884/working-calculate-product-system-with-parameter-values-from .

(See especially my last comment - the implementation with eclipse didn't work for me so don't bother to read the entire question in too much detail.)

Maybe this helps if you need a solution quick and can't wait for the (possibly) updated code.



PS: Thanks for the hint, that renamed parameters are not updated automatically - I was not aware of that and will watch out for any problems. And I would highly appreaciate a feature to customize the input/output list, so providers are instantly visible on a regular screen. :)
by (670 points)
Thank you Dominik. I will take a look.