Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why Does My File Name Include the Word Central

The practice of adding the word "central" to a project file name came about in the early days of Revit to help users see the difference between any stand alone project file, their own local file and the actual central file for their project. Unless you notice a folder with a matching name plus "_backup" there isn't anything obvious to tell us that a file is "special" (central or local file). We used to copy the central file to our own computer and change the name to include our username to identify our local file as different from the central file. With the extra "-central" in the project file name it was easier to see its "specialness".

Since Autodesk changed how to make a local file it is less desirable to add the "-central" to the name. This is because when Revit creates the local file it adds our username to the resulting local file. If we use "-central" in the name we get something like this:

1234 BigProject-central.rvt (the central file)
1234 BigProject-central_Username.rvt (local file, including the -central part)

What made sense then doesn't now.

There are firms that still use a customized process to generate local files (there are other threads about that). For them it may still be advisable or desirable (even required) to continue including the "-central" in the project file name. If you just use the Open and check the "Create New Local" option it isn't as desirable or necessary.


Nick said...

I'm going to push back a bit on this suggestion of getting rid of "-Central" as part of the file name.

In my office, right or wrong, we sometimes have very small projects that one person does and they don't feel the need to share or make a central file. As a result, it is clear by the file name that only one person can open it at a time.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, there isn't a completely obvious way of seeing that a file is a central file (unless you pay attention to the check boxes at the bottom when you open a file).

Or maybe I just like to hang onto the past.. nostalgic.

Alfredo Medina said...

Steve, what is your preference/opinion about these 2 methods for a user who open his/her share of the work every day: 1) Opening an existing local copy by double clicking on a shortcut icon, or 2) Creating a new local every day by opening the central with "create local copy" and "overwrite existing file"?

Steve said...

Nick, I think seeing the word central in the local file name creates as much confusion as not seeing it in the central file can create. Pick your poison ;)

Alfredo, I prefer to make a new local file each day regardless. I append a time stamp to the existing file and clean out the extra files that accumulate every now and then. The local file isn't meant to be "precious", its a throw away working copy of the project.

On large teams I find that a new local is a must to avoid large discrepancies in file "synchronicity" because people contribute at different intensity and frequency.

Solo practitioner's can usually get away with the same local everyday, if they choose to use worksets at all..

Nick said...

So, here is another interesting situation. Our MEP engineer sends us files with the extension "-DEAD". I was so tempted to offer my condolences on their loss (this seemed a bit strange).

What makes a central file a "central" file are worksets and therefore if you archive this file (stop working on it), it becomes dead (I guess you can resurrect it.. so it becomes un-dead) Good timing for Halloween!

Anyhow, I agree that it gets confusing but perhaps we are using the wrong term. It should be called "-Workshared" instead of "-Central" Add some more confusion to the discussion!

DaveP said...

I've said this many times before, but I wish the whole "Create Local File" option would just go away. The behind-the-scenes part still needs to works the same. There still needs to be a Local file, but I believe that Revit should just ALWAYS make a Local copy without the user knowing about it. The user should ALWAYS go to the network and ALWAYS open the "Central" file. Then Revit - behind the scenes and without user intervention - makes it's own Local Copy.
The way it is now, it's far too easy to open a no-longer-compatible local file, or open the Central directly (double-click, anyone?).
If this all happened out of sight, we'd see a lot less errors. Of course, an administrator needs some back-door method of opening the Central directly, but it shouldn't be easy to get to accidentally.

Anonymous said...

As I've suggested years ago, it would be nice to have different file extensions such as:

.rvt = non-workshared file
.rvc = workshared (central) file
.rvl = local file

This would end all the confusion.

As I've suggested years ago, it would be nice to have different file extensions such as:

.rvt = non-workshared file
.rvc = workshared (central) file
.rvl = local file

This would end all the confusion.

Tom D. @reviteer

Unknown said...

As Nick says adding Workshared instead of Central clears the confusion. If it says workshared vs. workshared_user then it's all good: you can differentiate between non workshared files that don't contain this and users can identify the central from their local.

Steve said...

I like the file extension concept, I've had a few people suggest that over the years.

Including WS or worksharing or worksets in the name is a nice alternative.

For many firms worksharing files are the rule not the exception. For them it doesn't really warrant the extra info, all files are using worksharing. It's a simple training item, once learned...move on.

Clay said...

Just like some users think that having "(recovery)" at the end of the file name gives the file some super powers.