Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Worksharing Monitor - Are you Using It?

Worksharing Monitor was created as a separate application and originally made available at the Autodesk Subscription site back in January 2008. I mentioned it in THIS POST and also mentioned that David Light had put together a nice summary of its features on his blog.

What is it intended to do? Provide more information to a team using worksets, such as when files are out of date or when an editing request is generated.

Flash forward to the present and I still find that few firms are aware of it, or if they are, actually using it routinely. This makes me wonder about how effective the delivery of the tool is. Users might be aware of subscription and that there is a site at Autodesk for it. Fewer users actually have access to it or are able to download from it. Since we are talking about a separate software installation that means we are asking an IT department, for any firm large enough to warrant having one, to get it installed. It might be more effective to have it installed as part of the Revit deployment itself.

When I first saw the tool I imagined it was a perfect example of Autodesk using its own Revit API (Application Programming Interface) to deliver features apart from the primary code for Revit. A faster way to deliver features because it didn't rely on a formal release cycle or planned development to get it done. Said another way, a rogue solution that could ultimately be incorporated into Revit itself. That bit hasn't happened so far and I suppose that having it separate give us the choice to use it or not.

If you use worksets for your projects and would like to improve how you interact with Revit as a team then you and your team should be using Worksharing Monitor. If you aren't using it I encourage you to look into it and see what is preventing it from showing up on your desktop.

It isn't perfect however, for example, if you are using Remote Desktop Server it doesn't support that kind of connection at this time. I have also heard about some issues with latency, where it doesn't update as quickly as it should. Overall however it has been a benefit to most everyone I've met that IS using it. I personally prefer to be able to use it when I'm working with a group.

7 comments:

Josh said...

I like the Worksharing Monitor, but find that I forget to open it. I think it would be better if it was integrated into Revit, such that a worksharing file automatically opens with the monitor active. And maybe we should have the option to dock it on the bottom side of the Project Browser, because it doesn't help to have to switch windows all the time.

Architect said...

Our office is finishing out our Revit 2009 projects. The workshare monitor stopped working when I got a 64 bit Revit 2009 and the rest of the team was still on 2008 Revit. I stopped opening it. I can't wait to start a new project with Revit 2010.

iyyy69 said...

Steve, you make a nice point about allowing new features to be added/tested between official release cycles. But (as you allude to), I think it's very important to then incorporate the feature into Revit at the next release cycle. Otherwise, we're just back to a software management nightmare as the various add-on tools stack up. Personally, I've given up on such tools.

mamiller said...

I've used the work sharing monitor in both 2008 and 2009 in 2010 im hesitant to use it on my XP 32 bit machines because it uses more resources, and even doing several of the things that Autodesk has suggested with making sure that the 3 GB switch is active I'm finding that 2010 is buggy on our XP 32 bit machines. Vista 64 machines 2010 is great and use the work sharing monitor when I remember to turn it on.

Nicholas said...

Microsoft Office Communicator (OC) tends to step on the Workshare Monitor (WS Mon) as well. If you run OC first and then try to run WS Mon it will show up in the task manager but not anywhere else. You have to actually close the OC and then WS Mon shows up.

Beyond that it still tends to be a bit buggy, especially over the wan. People tend to drop off or it just plain wont work for them one day and it will the next. We still use it and actually through the Davids's local gen scripts it starts up "automatically" when you open a file.

Better than the first release when I had to reinstall it after any modification to the computer (new user logged in, installed an unrelated program, etc)

In the end people still close it so it would be best as a built in tool to Revit.

tozmervo said...

Several of us used to use it frequently, especially on bigger projects, but after we moved to 64 bit platforms the Workshare Monitor became a constant source of problems. It would crash, take forever to open, had terrible latency and would should multiple instance of users in the model. It got so bad and so useless I think everyone has just stopped using it.

Elrond said...

We use it all the time - I set windows to open the monitor on startup so individuals don't have to remember to open it. When one project was moved to RAC2010 I just updated the monitor for the relevant team. Very useful tool and we've never had any trouble with it running on Win XP 32bit via Parallels on Macs.