Friday, August 12, 2016

Selection Box and Linked Models

I was just thinking that it seems unfair that the Selection Box (reasonably new feature) goes to sleep when you select just a linked file. Maybe I want to crop the 3D view down to just that link? That's when I realized that I happen to have a scope box around the link already. Select the Scope Box and then use Selection Box - et voila!

Yeah, I'm writing as if I didn't just go two months without so much as a by your leave...things have been...hectic, yeah. That's my story...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Revit Safe Mode - Wish Fulfilled

The other day I wrote about David's idea for a Revit Safe mode and Robert Manna responded in a serious way. He and the gang at Stantec created and have just shared an application to do just what we were suggesting. This is a screen shot of it running (from Robert's post).

It runs outside of Revit, prepares for opening Revit without the add-ins you choose to disable. It allows us to be fairly surgical in our troubleshooting even if it's akin to exploratory surgery ... "Hmmm, maybe we need to remove the appendix? No, that wasn't it...maybe the spleen?"

If you're curious head over to Robert's post on their blog for more information and to download the application.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Revit 2016 Update 5

This morning Autodesk Desktop Application (AdA) worked and let me know that an update is available for Revit 2016, Update Release 5 ... and in my case for R2.

AdA installed the update for me. I didn't find any evidence of it on the public facing Autodesk pages but it was listed among the updates I could download from my account management panel at Autodesk, after signing in. Hopefully you'll find AdA works for you too. If you've got to download it to deploy it for your firm then I'd visit the manage portal to download it there.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Autodesk Desktop Application - Again

Boy this app doesn't get much love. I've read a couple of posts elsewhere that are far less charitable than I've been. As I mentioned in the podcast I did with Bill (Grumpy Steve) I think it had a better name before when it was called Autodesk Application Manager. At least then the name suggested what it was meant to accomplish. Now its name is ambiguous at best and meaningless at worst.

A couple comments in response to my last whiny post pointed out that if I'd read the readme file for each update I would have realized that it would be necessary to uninstall the existing versions first.

My reaction? Okay my bad ... but then I thought that's not much of a application manager is it? Tell me there is an update but you need me to go elsewhere to read a document and uninstall the software so I can come back and run the update. I'm imagining that the user experience of applying an update to an app ought to be just a little bit like doing that for an app from the iTunes store?

Then again with its new's not a manager anymore.

This morning a little progress though because I see AdA has started up AND there is another update indicated by the icon in my system tray.

I've already been told this application has an Update quite a few times now. Each time I've attempted to apply it, no success. It just shows up as available again the next time around.

This time I thought I'd listen to the advice offered in the comments I mentioned earlier. I clicked on the Readme link (blue text in the update listing). Instead of taking me to the readme document or the page that has it I find myself looking at the primary BIM 360 product page.

That's not what I expected (implied by the term Readme), nor is it helpful. Okay, I can deal with this. I'm reasonably resourceful (I think). I'll just go chasing after the update via the Knowlege Base. I run a search against each of the four BIM 360 applications listed ... nothing found. Okay?! Since it is for Revit 2015 maybe it's an update that is hiding under Revit 2015? Run a new search against that criteria instead ... yeah, you guessed it ... nothing found.

Yes, I submitted feedback through the built-in comment dialog that AdA has. That it has one built-in should be a clue I suppose.

I think, if AdA is going to tell me there is an update and make it worthwhile, it should do everything necessary to help me actually apply the update. For example, I was told (via comments) that it was necessary to un-install the existing versions of the other apps I was trying to apply an update for. I've since done that and applied the updates, great! The update item in AdA should have been formatted like this for example.

Better still the update should be smart enough to un-install the precedent software first, if it is required. It's not like there isn't a precedent of software updates doing that.

Since my most recent attempt to use the readme link ended with no joy, most likely just the victim of being assigned the wrong URL, it seems reasonable to provide the most important warning related to succeeding with an update, that it will be necessary to take separate action to remove the existing version first. Seems easy enough?

For now I'll just ignore the update since I won't be needing Revit 2015 this week. I'll see if it factors into my situation later, if it ever does.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tags Dimensions and Linked Files

I've mentioned this subject in the past. I'm writing to bring it up again and to focus on how Revit deals with tags and dimensions differently when we apply them to elements that are in linked files.

First as a reminder, when a linked file changes and a user reloads that link in their Local File other users are not necessarily seeing the same version of the Linked File. That's because reloading a link is a local change, a personal action, that doesn't get passed along to the Central File when we use Synchronize with Central (SwC).

Let's imagine User A has reloaded a linked model and they've placed tags on doors and rooms that they observe are now present in the link. User A uses SwC to share this new tagging effort. Now User B, who already has a Local File open, decides to use Reload Latest or SwC to share something they've done or see what work other users have contributed.

It's important to note that User B did NOT use Reload in Manage Links or via right-click on the linked file in the Project Browser FIRST. As a result User B gets the warning in the next image. Don't be confused by the mention of Coordination Monitor which can be confusing. It can make us think we're dealing with something that has been involved with the Copy/Monitor tools.

The Tags are Orphaned, they've lost their relationship with the linked file's elements they are supposed to identify. You can see one tag is highlighted in orange in the image above. In the next image we can see what the floor plan really looks like in the linked file (and what User A sees). It's not quite the same as what User B thinks it looks like is it?

Let's now imagine that User A continues to work by adding the dimensions you see in the image above too. After they finish doing that they use SwC.

User B now decides to use SwC or Reload Latest, AGAIN without using Reload on the linked file. Their reward is a larger collection of warnings (see next image). The first three warnings are dedicated to the dimensions User A added to their Local File. There are no equivalent elements in the version of the linked file that User B sees so Revit's only recourse is to delete them ... or ... choose Cancel ... which is actually a better choice. If User B cancels and then Reloads the linked file first that will eliminate the warnings entirely.

The remaining warnings are focused on the newly orphaned door and room tags that can't find their parent elements. If we select one of the orphaned tags we can either use Pick New Host or Reconcile Hosting. The former will need us to pick a door to associate the tag with. The latter will open the Reconcile Hosting browser which shows us everything that has been orphaned so far. We can select individual items and right-click to use Pick Host or Delete the tag if that's a better choice.

Keep in mind, once this orphaned status occurs it sticks. Merely reloading a linked file afterward isn't going to fix it. We'll be forced to deal with Reconciling Hosting. In some situations it might be faster to delete the tags and use Tag All to place them all over again.
This might be an opportunity for an enterprising developer to write a routine that looks at orphaned families and picks the closest possible host? Better still...Autodesk?
My recommendation, if you MUST use tags and dimensions on linked files?

Develop the habit of reloading the necessary linked files BEFORE using SwC or Reload Latest.

If you get the warning messages in the images above, use CANCEL. Make a note of the elements the warning(s) is(are) focused on. Most likely the warnings are being issued because you need to use Reload on the linked files first.

I'd also consider a moratorium on applying tags or dimensions to linked elements while the link is being changed aggressively. For example, if we know that the link is going to undergo some massive redesign we should just agree to stay away from tags and dimensions until it settles down again.

It's also a good idea to let other people know that you have changed an integral linked file so they can all use Reload (link) to catch up together.