The previous preset of .idx used to be ascii before they made if binary to optimize performance, however, this reduce the amount of control you can have with the system. Source and revision control are impossible in a binary format. You can longer edit by hand in each preset which is really needed for production control. Additionally you want to be able to have per project control of presets, which I can not at the moment recall if the previous ascii .idx could handle i.e. for each HOUDINI_PATH variable you have be able to add each new preset to the list for studio and project control. The previous system of having all the presets in one file, I'm not personally a fan of as I would like each preset to be it's on file. The old presets have their own custom format, which was not intuitive, so documentation and a standard jason or xml format would be helpful. For those not used to hand editing presets, which I'm guessing is nearly everyone in the last five years or more, perhaps a UI from within Houdini. This UI could also help all the new people. Also allowing for some more complex preset controls, like node name, color and shape that are now maintained by different systems. This may include also other on name change, ondeleted, on input change actions. Which it would be nice to perhaps have a way to subscribe a bit to the presets, and maintain more of an active link, so that you know that this node is actively prescribed to that preset so when the studio updates the node preferences they can update. While perhaps dangerous in some ways, in the course of a large production, in order to say change a whole sequence of .hip files or Houdini Engine .hda options for a level team. A studio could change the options on demand instead of tryign to change the defaults on the node which may not be at issue for the other half the studio. For instance, all volumetric redering mantra nodes need to have a better tweak, or you need to autocorrect all the settings because some juniors keep messing with the settings and you want to lock down or hide the parameters. Something I am not a total fan of but perhaps needed in the world of Orbolt where people are selling assets, is to be able to add these presets to the .hda. In production this would generally be more a piece of shit decision, but in the world of smaller teams this may be helpful to store all related items of an asset together, especially now that we can store asset in their uncompressed version.
The current work around for this system is to make your own python preset system. Which is a bit on the companies burdensome side. This also means you now have multiple preset systems to maintain. The old Gear Menu setup, the newer wrangle drop down menu setups, and then your own studio one. Additionally this brings to light that unlike the L-System preset, now with wrangles people expect presets to live in multiple places. A lot of newer people not even being aware there is a preset menu in the gear menu. One of these should be eliminated in preference of the other. So that means to take all of one system and put it into the other including making it more production friendly. Which in reality means going to all the wrangle nodes and putting those options in the gear menu, to make one homogeneous system. Additionally fixing all the under the hood reason why those options were not included in the gear menu solution. While in theory it is OK to have two different preset options in two different places, when accounting for studio options it really makes three. At the end of the day this really just highlights the issue at hand that the original system needs to be upgraded.