seems to get me jobs that ESRI shops don't want to do.
The highest of all callings! You can do that with 9 as well. However, you haven't mentioned how it is that you like to tag an irregular area with just one lat/lon number. I suppose you use a centroid of some kind. But, as every experienced GIS operator knows, there are different types of centroids.
Adding lat and lon columns to a table is easy. The absolute easiest way is to keep your parcels drawing in lat/lon, create a centroid geomof the desired centers type, and then based on that centroid geom (a point), add two columns, one for latitude and one for longitude, as set forth step by step in Example: Create a Geocoded Table from a Drawing.
It's just a short use of a couple of functions:
for latitude and
You don't have to know why those work to use them. Just copy/paste. See the extra note below if you don't want to keep your parcels in lat/lon projection.
If you do this a lot, have a project that's full of helper resources, like imageserver data sources you like, data layers you use frequently, and comments components full of stuff you like to copy/paste. Leave that project open in a Manifold session on your Windows desktop so you can copy/paste things you need out of it into your working session.
When I do projects I always have some Manifold session running in the background. When I want to launch a new Manifold session, I don't chase around to try to find the latest build's folder with an .exe in it to double click on, I just right click on that Manifold icon that is sitting in the Windows taskbar for the open Manifold session and I launch a new session right from there.
Likewise, I'll use the taskbar to find and to jump to an open session of Manifold that has something I want. If there are snippets of SQL or functions I use, I try to avoid re-keyboarding them. Better just to copy/paste. It's also convenient to have an older version of a project open when I'm doing ambitious things to a newer version of the project. If I do something wrong, like accidentally mess up a bunch of areas, I can get back to the earlier version just by copying the table out of the open session with the older version of the project, deleting the messed up table in the working session with the newer version, and then pasting the copied table into the working session.
You can even do that with an individual geom for an individual object. Mess up the object? No problem. Copy the geom cell for that record from the old version's table and paste it into the geom cell for that record in the new version's table, and the thing is restored to how it was.
Maybe there could be a switch to turn this feature on in a global Options setup window??
8 has that switch. The theory is that people will set the switch to how they like it and then leave it like that, so no heartburn. The reality was that people would go back and forth with changing the switch and then forget how it was set and got bitten. If you went back and forth using different settings of the switch, as workflow would frequently require, you had to check what the tools options setting was to be sure you were doing what you wanted. That's a delay (which doesn't happen if a checkbox is in front of you).
The commitment in 9 is to make such things more transparent, with forewarning if possible. I think a few minor adjustments to the dialog would make it as fast or faster than 8 to do analogous workflow and also way less dangerous.
By the way, perhaps you don't realize it, your comparisons between 8 and 9 are distorted in that you give workflow for 8 which incorporates multiple steps into one, but then in the equivalent for 9 you break out those steps individually. It looks like you are grinding an ax trying to make 9 sound more complicated instead of providing an accurate comparison.
For example, with 8 you start with
I have both the map and table open with the Selection Filter button clicked (first thing I do when I open a table).
But then with 9 you itemize
1) click the correct tab for the drawing layer to be changed
Well, heck, if you have a map open in 8 you also have to click the subject tab to get context. It's the same in both. Likewise, you'll have the table open in 9 too. If you are going to itemize those steps for 9, itemize them for 8 as well.
You are also shortening the process for 8 by not mentioning various clicks and enters, and you are following a less-than-optimal flow for 9, doing roundabout steps, doing extra work, and not doing it the way someone who is familiar with the process would.
Suppose my task is to put the same PID (I suppose that is short for "parcel ID") number from a central parcel into three or four other parcels that are adjacent. The quickest way to do that is to use the drawing as an interface, and not mess with a table at all. Alt-click the central parcel and the Record - Values tab automatically pops open, showing the PID for that parcel. Right-click on that and choose Copy, which is a one-click Copy in 9. Alt-click on the desired adjacent parcel and right click on the PID for that parcel and choose Paste, which is a one-click Paste in 9. Done. It's quicker to do that with one or two parcels than it is to use selection in tables in 8.
If you have many parcels, then sure, you can use selection. With a few ctrl-clicks select the parcels that are to have the same PID. Alt-click the central one and Copy the PID out of the Record - Values display that pops open. Click the Transform panel expression tab, check restrict to selection and enter ' Ctrl-V ' and hit the Update button.
By the way, if you do this on a regular basis the Restrict to selection box will already be checked, since it will have been remembered from the previous few dozen such maneuvers. You only check it the first time. It's not an extra click in such repetitive workflow.
Anyway, the above works directly against the drawing, with no need to open up tables unless you want to see a preview in the table. If you are comparing it to 8, well, since 8 doesn't do previews let's make it an apples to apples comparison and look at the workflow in 9 without popping open interfaces that give you a preview. It's no big deal to leave a table floating open but if you want to do it in the quickest way possible you can save yourself that small step.
For extra credit:
There are often many ways of doing the same thing in 9 (likewise in 8, of course). If you don't want to keep your parcels table in lat/lon, but you like the convenience of very simple expressions to generate latitude and longitude fields in the table, you can have your cake and eat it too.
1. Put your parcels drawing into whatever projection you want, say, some State Plane coordinate system the state or county insists must be used. No problem.
2. Use Edit - schema to add a geom field to the table. I call such fields Geom_center, so I can tell what they are supposed to be next month when I come back to a now-forgotten project.
3. Use the Transform panel to put whatever is the desired form of centers from the Geom field for the parcels into the Geom_center field.
4. Create a drawing using the table and Geom_center. Open the drawing and change the projection to lat/long.
You now have the super-cool situation of a table that has two geom fields for each record. One has areas and the other has centers for each area. The areas geom uses the State Plane projection and the centers geom uses lat/lon.
5. Create latitude and longitude fields using the Geom_centers field.
What is nice about the above is that everything is above board and transparent. No secret handshakes, no magic numbers creating lat/lon from... ? what? What is going on is perfectly visible. If you want to order your parcels using the lat/lon fields in the table, you can do so, and if something unexpected happens you can even pop open the centers drawing to see how maybe an unexpected "center" for a highly irregular area is the cause of a strange result. When such calculations are buried behind the scenes in the computation of an intrinsic field, such revelations are harder to get.
It's true that 8 provides the illusion of fewer steps, but I write "illusion" because you are giving up choice. It's like when you are traveling and you open up google.com in the airport in Beijing when changing planes and it gives you everything in Chinese. Sure, that's one step less for local people but it is also the wrong result for a foreigner just changing planes who wanted google.com, not the local Chinese google. Yes, it is fewer steps if the software guesses for you and you are willing to accept what it does behind the scenes - fewer steps until what it did was not what you wanted.