Saturday, April 25, 2009

Revit 2010 - Local Files

I've been writing about Worksets for a long time now. Revit 2010 provides a new process for creating Local Files (for projects using Worksets). When you attempt to open a project in 2010 Revit detects whether it is a central, local or stand-alone project file.

Central File - Option to create a local file is checked
Local File - Option to create a local file is disabled
Stand-alone File - Option to create a local file is disabled

Revit will place the local file in the location defined here, Default Path for User Files

Revit will append the username to the file initially. If you attempt to create another local file and Revit finds another with the same name it offers this dialog.
As you can see it gives you an opportunity to either overwrite the existing or append a time stamp to the file instead.

For what it is worth...a grain of salt perhaps...a little background, from my perspective.

The formal recommendation from Autodesk has always been to create local files by using File menu > Open, open the the Central File followed by using File menu > Save As to save your Local File (literally a copy of the Central File) on your local PC. This was both time consuming (two open sequences essentially) and "dangerous" (user's routinely/habitually opening the Central File).

To counter this process what we started doing with local files (essentially some version of copy/paste/rename) a long long time ago now has turned into a "cottage industry" of local file creation/management techniques and tools/software. Autodesk has distilled it into a "simple" and better process than what was before, which wasn't really an appropriate process at all.

I use three fundamental criteria for local files and process.

Use methods that ensure users do NOT...

...develop a habit of opening central files their local files anywhere they please
...use the same local file endlessly

As far as the software is concerned where the local file is located is technically immaterial. In my opinion, as long as it is on the local pc and in a folder that isn't only accessible to one user then it's "good".

I completely understand and can relate to the motivation to define where they go and how they go but we don't have to keep these files for the long term so in a sense some of us are getting a bit carried away.

This new Autodesk solution meets each of my long standing criteria more reliably than before, though honestly, anything would since it didn't at all before. It will be easier to teach users what to do. I'd prefer that they didn't have to browse to "touch" the central file at all but as long as they don't un-check the option Create new local they'll be fine.

Ideally Worksets and all its sundry baggage of language and rules should continue to become less intrusive, less confusing and as efficient as possible. This is a good step in this direction. For the next release the developers would do well to provide a few more options for folder locations and file naming rules.


Valkin said...

Just did some test of my own. It looks like the new central file process does not allow you to work with in the central file even if you uncheck the check the create local file button. From what I've seen is that if you try to open the central file you can not save the file, you can only saveas which is creating a new local file.

Steve said...

Have to double check but I believe that happens when someone has changed something in a local file. Revit generates a message saying that elements have change and you must now create a new local using save as. Sound like your situation?

Clay Kinney said...

What is the point of recreating a local model? What kind of time frame do you or for that matter Autodesk recommend? Where is it documented that you need to do this? We have worked with Revit for 6 years and only create one local file. We have never had an issue with needing to recreate a local file. What are benefits?

Steve said...

I've been doing it for a long time now and so are many other people. We started doing it when we observed that a large team that has various levels of involvement seemed to be encountering odd errors every now and then.

We observed that when people created a new local file each morning that these issues went away.

If you consider that a team of 6 0r 8 may not all contribute to the model actively 5 days a week, 8 hours a day we introduce the opportunity for a local file to become significantly dated. I have even seen a message from Revit telling a user to make a new local file because it is "too old".

Small teams 2 to 3 can probably "get away" with using the same local file assuming they always Reload Latest when they open it.

I've written about this concept extensively over the last four years. It is usually "faster" to make a new local than open the file and then use Reload Latest too...

Clay Kinney said...

Thanks for the reply...we are a smaller firm with usually only 3-5 team members....but we may start going that route with R2010. Keep up the good work with your blog. I enjoy the feeds.