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AutoCAD Layers Deep Dive: Layer Translator and Reconciling Layers

Layer Translator

You’ve received a batch of drawings from an outside source… customer, vendor, sub-contractor… and the layers do not match your own company standards for layers. The properties are wrong, the names are different, and you’re looking at a lot of work to get the drawings to standard. Don’t fear, our AutoCAD Layers Deep Dive series delivers the Layer Translator!

AutoCAD CAD Standards Ribbon LocationThe Layer Translator is used to map a set of layers to the standard set of your choosing. If the layer in the drawing is called A-Wall-Partition and your standard calls for WALLS you would map the layer so that WALLS is added to the drawing and all objects currently on A-Wall-Partition are moved to WALLS and take on the properties of WALLS. A-Wall-Partition would be removed from the drawing.

From the CAD Standards Tools select Layer Translator. Use the Load button to add the desired layers, the ones you want to map to. You can use existing drawings (DWG), templates (DWT), and standards (DWS).

AutoCAD Layer Translator initial viewThe Map Same button is used to match layers that have the exact same name, but more than that it insures that these layers have the same properties as the destination layers.

After using Map same you go through the list mapping the layers to their target. In this example I take all A-ANNO-TTLB layers and map them to the TITLEBLOCK layer. Not all layers need to be mapped as you can leave layers as they are.

AutoCAD Layer TranslatorOnce you are satisfied with the mappings you can save this as a drawing. This mappings drawing can then be used to load in the mappings into other drawings you have received from the outside source

Select Translate to make the magic happen!

Layer Translator Before After

Reconciling Layers

Once the layers have been translated, or really with any drawing, how do you manage the layers so that you are aware of layers that are added? Especially in situations where you are not even aware that layers have been added, like when you insert a block. For this you can use the built in Layer Reconciliation process. The AutoCAD Help explains it the best…

Unreconciled layers are new layers that have been added to the drawing and have not yet been acknowledged by the user and manually marked as reconciled.

The base in which AutoCAD uses to compare is set the first time the drawing is saved. At this initial save the existing layers are reconciled and all new layers added, either manually or by some other process, are considered unreconciled. Now sirens, buzzers, and warnings are not going to start just because an unreconciled layer has been found, but it gives you the option to review these layers at any time and decide what to do with them

The Layer Settings are important with this feature. If you want to use the Reconcile option you need to enable New Layer Notification and select whether just to evaluate xrefs or all new layers. You also need to configure when you want AutoCAD to notify you of new (unreconciled) layers. The options are on Open, xref attach / detach, Restore layer states, on save, and on block insert.

AutoCAD Layer SettingsWithin the Layer dialog a layer filter is automatically created to isolate just unreconciled layers. To reconcile the layers (accepting them to the drawing) right-click on them and select reconcile)

AutoCAD Reconcile LayerWhen new layers are added you will see a message similar to this….

AutoCAD Unreconciled New Layers NotificationIn Review

Hopefully I’ve shown you a couple tools to not only take a drawing and make it to your standard, at least layer wise, but shown another option for keeping you within your defined standards. If you liked this article let us know using the comments below and keep an eye out for the next in our series of diving deep on AutoCAD Layers.

AutoCAD Layers Deep Dive: CAD Standards

Ahhhh, nothing spurs more heated conversations than CAD Standards. Everyone knows they need them, nobody likes to use them, and everybody wants their own. Why do we want a CAD Standard? Many reasons, but it mostly boils down to consistency, so that each drawing produced looks the same and behaves the same. Many times it is part of a contract to deliver the drawings following exactly the customers standards… it is that important. So what can we do within AutoCAD and what does this have to do with Layers?

Covers a Standard 8 Ute that was sold in Australia in 1955.

 Image courtesy of Five Starr Photos via Flickr – https://flic.kr/p/aiPBnu

Building a Drawing Standard (.dws)

The first step is to define the Drawing Standard, which in AutoCAD is stored as a .dws. The DWS is really just a drawing (or template) with no geometry, saved in this special format. The drawing standard file can contain your standard settings for layers, text styles, dimension styles, and linetype.

To create a Drawing Standard, start with a drawing in which you know the layers and styles are defined to your standard. Make sure each layer is there and is configured properly. This can be your template or any drawing which you know is correct. Remove all geometry and purge any layer or style you do not want as part of your standard.

AutoCAD Layer Dialog

Save As the drawing, changing the file type to AutoCAD Drawing Standards File (,dws) and specify a location that will be easily accessible, but a set location that won’t be changing. Like xrefs and images, the drawing standard will be attached like a reference, so you want to make sure its in a location that won’t change.

AutoCAD Save As DWS

Using the CAD Standards Tool

The CAD Standards tools are found on the Manage Tab in the Ribbon.

AutoCAD CAD Standards Ribbon Location

The first step is to configure the drawing by attaching the DWS. [NOTE: You can actually associate multiple standards to a drawing]. Use the + to browse and select the DWS. Once you’ve associated a drawing standard, it will remain until you remove it.

AutoCAD Configuring CAD Standards

Using the Plug-ins Tab you can select the types of standards you want checked. The four options (layers, dimstyles, text styles, & linetypes) are available but you don’t have to check everything.

AutoCAD Configuring CAD Standards - Plug Ins

To check the drawing against the standards file select the Check Standards button in the ribbon (CHECKSTANDARDS if you prefer typing). This can be initiated anytime you want to check the drawing. AutoCAD will also check the drawing in real-time. If problems are found you will be notified via a notification bubble in the bottom right corner of the screen.

AutoCAD Standards Violation Found

If errors / conflicts are found you will be presented with a series of dialogs, listing the problems and possible replacements. For example if your drawing contains a layer called MIKE which is not defined in the standards. You will be prompted about the violation and asked which layer you’d like to move this layer and all of its objects to.

Note there is an option to ignore a problem. There will be times where you have added layers for a specific reason. You can mark these layers as ‘ignored’, which in turn will be tagged with your name, so if anyone else is looking at the drawing, they will know it was you who ignored the problem.

Two types of problems will be found:

  • non-standard names meaning the layer or style exists in the drawing but not in the standard.
  • non-standard property meaning the layer or style exists in the drawing and in the standard but its properties don’t match.

When selecting the Replace With Layer, the dialog will show the differences between the layers so you know what’s going to happen to the existing objects.

AutoCAD CAD Standards Problem Found

Click the Fix button to make the correction or the Next button to skip this. Using Next to Skip, is different than Ignoring, since Ignoring is a permanent setting where as clicking Next simply moves on and the problem will continue to appear each time the standards are checked.

Attaching the Standard to Your Template

Are you thinking the CAD Standards Tool can be a powerful ally? Thinking wouldn’t it be great if I could attach this to my template so every new drawing I start is associated with this standards file? What’s stopping you?

Associating a Standards File to your Template is as simple as opening the template, attaching the standards file (see steps above) and saving the template… boom! and its done.

Configuring the CAD Standards

From the Ribbon > Manage tab > CAD Standards panel, select Settings to access the CAD Standard Settings.

AutoCAD CAD Standards Settings

In the first section you can configure the notification settings: disable completely, display alert, or display just the icon.

Next, you can specify if AutoCAD will automatically fix non-standard properties. With this enabled, if a Layer was found to exist in the drawing and in the standards but the color was wrong, the CAD Standards would automatically fix the color using the DWS settings without prompting.

The CAD Standards will check layer properties such as color, linetype, and lineweight but will ignore the layer status (on/off, frozen / thawed, etc)

You can also choose whether ignored problems are shown each time.

Performing a Batch Standards Check

A standalone Auditing tool is installed automatically with your AutoCAD. This tool can be used to audit a batch of drawings for standards violations. It will create a report listing all the issues and problems, but will NOT fix any of the problems… even property conflicts.

To launch the tool, press the Windows key on your keyboard and type ‘Batch Standards Checker’, then press Enter or select the result.

AutoCAD Batch Stds Checker - Drawings Tab

Use the tabs to configure the audit:

  1. Drawings: add the drawings you want to check.
  2. Standards: specify which standards files are used.
  3. Plug-ins: select which of the four standards you want to check.
  4. Notes: Any additional comments you want appended to the report.

From the Standards tab, you can specify whether it should check each drawing against the standards file already associated to the file, or to check each drawing against the standards file you specify in this dialog.

AutoCAD Batch Stds Checker - Standards Tab

Click the New button to define the name and location for the report, which will be created as a .chx. Save any time you make changes to the dialog.

Click Start Check to initiate the Audit, sit back and relax, and wait for the audit to complete.

AutoCAD Batch Stds Checker - Sample Report

What’s Next?

Here we are, at Part 4 of our deep look at AutoCAD Layers. We’ve already covered Layer Filters, Layer States and Reusing Layers… so what’s next? A look at a tool that technically falls into AutoCAD’s CAD Standards tools: the Layer Translator.

AutoCAD Layers Deep Dive Series: Layer States

We know that layers are an important component of working with AutoCAD. We use layers to control colour, linetype, and lineweight of our objects. They control the visibility of objects and they control what is plotted and what isn’t plotted. We organize our drawings via layers.

In this continuing series on AutoCAD Layers I’m taking a deep dive into not just using layers, but using all the tools at our disposal, to be as efficient as possible. I used to always say during my days of teaching AutoCAD that there is a fine line between efficiency and laziness, that we should strive to be lazy, do things as efficient as possible, so that it doesn’t take as long, we don’t have to work as hard, and we have more time for more important things like coffee!

In Part 1 of the series we looked at Layer Filters, in this next part lets take a deep dive look at Layer States

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change ” ― Heraclitus

The one constant thing about layers is that they are constantly in a state of change… layer on, layer off, layer thaw, layer lock, layer color change, layer freeze, layer off, layer on, repeat, and repeat again. Its also very common to perform the same set of state changes on a group of layers. For example, turning off Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC layers when working on the Walls of a building, and then locking the walls, turning on the Electrical to make changes to the electrical related objects. When you find yourself repeating this process of performing repetitive layer state changes to a group of layers you need to look at using Layer States.

AutoCAD Layer States Dialog

AutoCAD’s Help describes Layer States as a method to “Save, restore, and manage sets of layer settings” The process for capturing a Layer State is very straight forward…. Step#1 set the states of your layers of how you want them captured, Step#2 take the Layer State snapshot.

Creating AutoCAD Layer States

Take for example this architectural drawing. I want to be able to quickly restore all layers to be visible, thawed, and with the correct colors as per my standard. Using the layer dialog I insure everything is set as I want.

AutoCAD Layer States "Everything On"

Next, using the Ribbon, I save the active status of the layers as state “EVERYTHING ON”.

Everything ON layer states in the AutoCAD ribbon

Making further layer changes I freeze layers, turn layers off, and change a couple layer colors. I then capture the current state as Layer State “WORKING THE WALLS”

Layer States "Working with the Walls"

layer states in the AutoCAD ribbon

That’s the process! I now can quickly flip back-and-forth between the two states, quickly restoring the desired layer states.

 Modifying Existing Layer States

OK, now a dilemma. You’ve created a state but realize after that one of the layers is the wrong color and another is frozen and should be thawed. Never fear, the Layer States dialog is here to save the day!

AutoCAD Layer States Dialog

Using the Edit option you can tweak all aspects of the layers… on/off, frozen / thawed, color, linetype, locked / unlocked… you can even remove layers so that they are not controlled by the layer state.

Editing an AutoCAD Layer State

The Options

Take note of the options within the Layer States Manager. You can enable the inclusion of XREF Layers. You also set how you want new layers introduced into the drawing to behave with Layer States. The default option is to have these new layers turned off automatically in the State. To include the layer with the state, so that the Layer State can manage it you need to edit the state and add the layer to the state.

Layer States can be exported so that they can be used in other drawings. Select the Layer State in the Layer States Manager and click the Export button to export the .las file. The import button in this dialog is used to import the .las files.

See it in Action

In Conclusion

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you have groups of layers that you constantly perform the same set of state changes to why would you expect it to get easier each time? Using Layer States you can capture these frequently completed state changes into an easy to restore option.

For a bit of suspense I’ve leaving out the topic of the next AutoCAD Layer Deep Dive…. will it be Layers and Paper Space Layouts? will it be Layers and scripts? will it be layers and the CAD Standards tools? The only way to find out is to tune back into the post… same bat-time, same bat-channel! As always leave us comments, we love to hear the good, the bad, and your questions and suggestions.

 

 

AutoCAD Layers Deep Dive Series: Layer Filters

Layers are a very important component of working with AutoCAD. They control the colour, linetype, and lineweight of your objects. They control the visibility of objects and they control what is plotted and what isn’t plotted. Layers organize your drawings, by providing “buckets” to group objects with the same properties.

Even with the layer automation of many of the vertical “flavours” of AutoCAD, like AutoCAD Mechanical or AutoCAD Electrical, it is still important to understand layers and use all the layers tools within AutoCAD to your advantage. In this series of posts I’m going to dive deep looking at all aspects of layers, from creation to deletion. In Part 1 lets look at an underutilized feature of layers…. Layer Filters. Introduced in AutoCAD 2000 Layer Filters do exactly as named, provide a quick method to filter your layers. They reduce the list of layers into a usable “chunk” and provide tools to work with the filter as a group.

Accessing Layer Filters

Layer Filters are built into the Layer Palette but may be minimized and not visible. Using the >> and << buttons on the left side of the palette you can minimize and maximize the Layer Filter portion.

Expanding the AutoCAD Layer PaletteWhen the Layer Filter panel is minimized you can still access the Filters with a Peek-a-boo style popup at the bottom of the palette

AutoCAD Layer Palette Peek-a-boo Layer FiltersTo create a new Layer Filter use either the buttons along the top left of the palette or right-click on the All at the top of the layer tree.

Layer Filter Types

There are two types of Layer Filters that can be created: Property and Group

Group is a collection of layers, ones that you specify belong together. For example, when you are annotating your drawing you frequently switch between your Hidden, Center, Dimension, Text, and Symbol layers. With a Group filter these would be the only layers you would see in both the Layer palette and the Layer dropdown in the ribbon, making it easier to toggle between and manage just these layers

AutoCAD Layer Group Filter ExampleProperty type filters are used to filter the layers based on their properties. Want to only see layers with a color of red? no problem. Want to see just the red layers that are not frozen? no problem. The filter dialog even allows for AND and OR type filtering. For example, show me the layers that are Red OR Green… or show me the layers that are Red AND Frozen.

AutoCAD Layer Property Filter ExampleCreating Property Filters

Property Filters are created and managed via the Layer Filter Properties dialog. The top portion of the dialog are the inputs to build the definition. The bottom half of the dialog is a preview of the layers that will appear once your layers are filtered.

All property inputs entered in a single line work as an AND. Meaning that if I enter a colour and linetype the layer will need to meet the requirements of the the colour AND the linetype. If the inputs are on separate lines then it works as an OR. So, the layer would have to meet the colour OR the linetype

Once you’ve defined the properties and provided a name for your filter click OK to create the new filter. Property filters are “live” meaning as you change the properties of your layers the filter will update to match

Creating Group Filters

When you create a new Group Filter you are immediately prompted for the name of the filter in the filter tree. Once the filter is created you add layers to the filter by dragging-and-dropping from the main panel of the palette or by using the right-click option to add layers by selecting in the drawing

Working with Filters

To apply your filter to not just the Layer Palette but also the layer drop-down in the ribbon / toolbar you can enable the option “Apply layer filter to layer toolbar” in the options. With this enabled you will only see the layers included in the filter AND the active layer.

AutoCAD Apply layer filter to Layer ToolbarBy right-clicking on the filter you will see options for freezing / thawing, turning on/off, and locking/unlocking all layers in the filtered list. This can be significantly faster than trying to locate and select each layer in a long list.

AutoCAD Layer Filters Right-Click MenuAn additional right-click option provides the ability to isolate the filtered layers so that they are the only objects that appear in the drawing, all other layers are frozen.

At the bottom of the Layer Filter Panel is the Invert filter option, which does as it says. If takes the list of layers found by your filter and inverts the selection so that these layers are not included in the listing

As you can see Layer Filters can make your life much easier, especially when your drawings have a larger amount of layers. Why fight through a long list when AutoCAD can simplify the process for you?

This is part 1 of my deep dive into AutoCAD Layers. Part 2 will be on Layer Filters distant cousin Layer States. If there is some part of Layers you’d like me to focus on please let me know via the comments.


 

Searching, Listing and Filters | Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 – Microsoft SharePoint 2013

SharePoint Searching Listing FilteringSearching

Once we had SharePoint and the Vault database actually on speaking terms, the next step in the process was to configure the Vault Search feature. SharePoint already has the ability to search within its own database for keywords or filenames, etc. What we want now, is a separate search inside SharePoint that looks at Vault results only. This is where we ran into another snag that had me confused for a while.

Following the instructions in the Vault-SharePoint Integration documentation, I got stuck at step #12. Perhaps this would be a good spot to share this procedure, as it is written, so I can better describe the workaround. This one gets a bit confusing.

Configure Vault Search

1.   At the home page for the site, click the Settings > Site Settings.

2.   Select Search Result Sources under Site Collection Administration

3.   Click Result Sources in the Search group.

4.   Click New Result Source.

5.   Fill in the following data

  • Name: VaultSearch
  • Protocol: OpenSearch 1.0/1.1
  • Query Transform: {searchTerms}
  • Source Url: http://<server>/_layouts/Autodesk.Vault.BCSConnect/VaultSearch.aspx?s={searchTerms}&i={startIndex} Replace [server] with the value of your SP site.
  • Credentials: Anonymous

6.   Click Save

7.   Return to the home page for the site and click the Settings > Site Contents.

8.   Click new subsite

  • Title: Vault Search
  • Web Site Address: http://<server>/vaultsearch
  • Select Basic Search Center in the Enterprise Template tab
  • Select Yes for Navigation Inheritance
  • Click the Create button

9.   Go to the newly created site

10.   Click the Settings > Site Settings

11.   Select Result Sources

12.   Select the Vault Search resource created in step 8 and select Set as Default from the drop-down menu.

13.   Return to the site page and perform a search.

I followed this procedure step by step and everything was working just fine until I got to step #12. When I got to the Site Settings for this newly created sub site, the Vault Search resource was not there to select. This had me baffled, as I knew I was following the steps as they were written, and I had been assured by Autodesk people online that the procedure was correct. No matter how many times I did it though, there was no Vault Search there to Set as Default. Returning to the home page and looking at Result Sources there, I was able to select Vault Search and set it as the default. However, doing this overrode the default SharePoint search and replaced it with my Vault search. Now, no one was able to search for anything in SharePoint.

Finally, after scratching my head for a bit and panicking again, it occurred to me that it didn’t really make sense that the search Result Source had been created at the top level, before the Vault Search sub site was created. To me, it made more sense that the sub site should be created first, and then the search Result Source be created under that. Since I was still in the sandbox I decided to do a little creative playing with the order of this procedure.

Configure Vault Search

  1. At the home page for the site, click Settings > Site Contents.
  2. Click new subsite
  • Title: Vault Search
  • Web Site Address: http://<server>/vaultsearch
  • Select Basic Search Center in the Enterprise Template tab
  • Select Yes for Navigation Inheritance
  • Click the Create button
  1. Go to the newly created site
  2. Click Settings > Site Settings
  3. Select Result Sources
  4. Click New Result Source.

Fill in the following data

  • Name: VaultSearch
  • Protocol: OpenSearch 1.0/1.1
  • Query Transform: {searchTerms}
  • Source Url: http://<server>/_layouts/Autodesk.Vault.BCSConnect/VaultSearch.aspx?s={searchTerms}&i={startIndex} Replace [server] with the value of your SP site.
  • Credentials: Anonymous
  1. Click Save
  2. Return to the home page for the Vault Search sub site (http://<server>/vaultsearch), click Settings > Site Settings.
  3. Select Search Result Sources under Site Collection Administration
  4. Click Result Sources in the Search group.
  5. Select the Vault Search resource created in step 7 and select Set as Default from the drop-down menu.
  6. Return to the sub site page and perform a search.

This revised procedure creates a sub site for the Vault Search, and then creates a SharePoint Search Result Source on that sub site. This keeps the main SharePoint search feature separated from the Vault search, ensuring correct results from each. You can then easily create a link to this Vault Search on the SharePoint site home page, if you want. Here are some images of the search Screen and a typical search result.

Powell SharePoint Search FieldPowell SharePoint Search ResultsListing

To create a list of Vault data to be displayed on a page within SharePoint, go to http://<server>/_layouts/15/Autodesk.Vault.BCSConnect/addVaultlist.aspx

Type in a name for the list, and select a list type from the drop down menu. You can create a list for Vault Files, Items or Change Orders. When finished, click Create List. Make a note of the URL that will be created when you add the list. The format will be: http://<server>/Lists/<listname>/AdskVaultFileFinder.aspx (note: for Items this will be AdskVaultItemFinder.aspx, and for change orders AdskVaultChangeOrderFinder.aspx)
Once you have created a list, you still need to add a link to it on whichever page within your SharePoint site you want to view the results. To do this, navigate to the page within SharePoint and select Settings, Site Contents. At the top of the contents page you should see “add an app”.

SharePoint Add Vault ListsSelecting this will open a page with available apps that can be added to your page. Select “Links“, and give the app a name. This is what will appear on your SharePoint page and is what users will see. The app will appear at the bottom of the page, and under the name you will see “new link or edit this list”. This example is from the CAD page on my home site.

Add SharePoint AppEach of the items you see under the links, is a Vault List created using the steps above. When you select “new link” you are prompted for the web address. This will be the web address from the list you created earlier. There is a link to test your web address to make sure it is correct. Click Save once satisfied, and your Vault List will be added as a link on that page.

SharePoint Vault ListsFiltering

Once you have added a list to a page within SharePoint, it will return all results for the List Type you selected during List creation. So, an Item List will return the entire Item Master as the list results. Depending on how large your Vault database is, this will be more results than you probably want or need. Now you need to add some filters, to narrow the results to a specific set of Items or Files. In this way, for example, you can have a List that shows only those drawings associated with a particular project, on the project’s page in SharePoint.

Select a List from the link you just created in the steps above. Depending on the speed of your network and the size of your database, this could take a while. Once it is loaded, look for the toolbar in the upper right of the screen with Browse, Items & List. Select List and then Modify View.

SharePoint Modify ViewA View in SharePoint is simply a filtered version of the list. You can create many different Views from one List, and then specify one to be the default. Selecting Modify View brings up a screen full of options to narrow the results of this list. The first requirement is to give the view a name. In the future users will be able to select from your list of views by selecting Current View, as seen in the above image.

The section for Columns allows you to choose from a list of properties, preloaded from the Business Connectivity Model, for the Vault object type. Adding or removing columns from this list is covered quite well in the integration documentation, and worked very well in my testing, so I will not go over that in this article. The list of properties will be shown in the list results as a chart from left to right, in the order of their position. By selecting or deselecting the Display check-boxes, and manipulating the Position values, you can customize which properties you want to show and in what order.

SharePoint Configure ColumnsThe next section on the page is Sort. This sort allows you to do just that, sort the results by any of the properties in the list of columns. Data Source Filters is a good one for narrowing down the results of a list. You can filter by Category, State, Vault Folder and Limit. For Change Orders, the filter for Category would not be present. Category allows filtering by a Vault Category, State filters by Vault life cycle state, Vault Folder allows for filtering by specifying a folder path in the Vault project explorer. The correct format is $/1st level folder/next level folder. Limit specifies how many objects will be returned for this list from Vault. The default is 100.

SharePoint Data Source FiltersIn the example above I have filtered a list of Files, based only on a specific folder residing inside Vault. For an even deeper level of restriction on list results, you can use the Filter section to narrow the scope based on specific properties.

SharePoint Filter ConfigurationYou can stack up as many of these property filters as needed to narrow the scope of your results, but be careful that you don’t get too carried away. I recommend adding filters a few at a time, and checking the results. With some trial and error, you will eventually get to the results you want for this custom view. Make notes along the way so you can repeat the process on other pages. In my examples above I was able to narrow a list of the entire project explorer down to a much shorter list of only Autocad drawings from one specific folder. This speeds up display time and cuts down on frustration when a user is looking at a list.

There are other settings on this page that will affect the overall appearance of your lists, play around with them as you have time, but these are the main areas for filtering a list to a smaller group of results. Here is an example of a list which has been filtered down.

SharePoint Vault List ResultsSelecting one of these files will bring up a detail page that gives the user information about the file or item as well as any links to the CAD file itself or to the visualization file.

SharePoint Vault File List Result Detail PageConclusion

So… There you have it. Easy as pie, right? Using the installation document that came with the integration package; Autodesk Vault Professional 2014 – Integrating with Microsoft SharePoint 2013, and these helpful (I hope) tips, in no time at all you will have installed the Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 – Microsoft SharePoint 2013 Integration, set up login credentials, created a search function, and then created and filtered lists which can be placed on any page in your SharePoint site. Now anyone in your company, or even from outside if you grant them access, can use SharePoint to take a look into your Vault and download or print your CAD data. Now, if you feel brave enough, it’s time to move this into a production environment. Remember…. backup everything first! Good luck and….. Enjoy!

“Autodesk® screen shots reprinted with the permission of Autodesk, Inc. Autodesk® , AutoCAD® , DWG, the DWG logo, Vault®, Autocad Electrical® and Inventor® are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and other countries.” Programs and programmers’ information used with permission. Thanks guys!


 

The Journey Continues – Crisis Resolution | Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 – Microsoft SharePoint 2013

SharePoint Crisis Resolution - The National GuardDuring The First Steps into Darkness, I discussed a workaround for missing External Content Types. Once those are set up where they belong, the next section of the setup goes pretty smoothly. You set permissions for each of the three main areas of Vault Professional:

  1. Files
  2. Items
  3. Change Orders.

This makes it possible to create lists in SharePoint for each area of Vault.

The next step in the initial setup, is to configure the Vault login. This is a set of login credentials that will give SharePoint access to the Vault database. First things first, a Vault User must be created and given read only access in the Vault to the areas needed. The best advice is to make this a Vault only user, rather than a Domain user. Give the user access to any groups it may need, to access the appropriate Files and Items. At the very least, give them the Vault Change Order Editor (Level 1), Document Consumer and Item Reviewer Roles.

Once that user has been configured in Vault, follow the documentation instructions for configuring the Vault login. This is the login that gives SharePoint the right to access the Vault. The SharePoint Vault Settings screen should look like this:

vaultsettings

  1. The Server field is the name of your Vault server, or it’s IP Address.
  2. The Database field is the name of the Vault you want access to.
  3. The User field is the username for the user you just created in Vault.

If you are setting the password for the first time, or changing it, select the Update Password checkbox. The pages section should be filled in already, pulling from the previous steps of the integration. At the bottom of the page are checkboxes for visualizations. All three are selected by default, but to maximize your search results I recommend leaving only the top one checked. This is up to your discretion.

I showed you this and described some of the steps found in the documentation, because it’s right here where I hit a massive brick wall. I even started having visions of myself sitting at home in my sweat pants, drinking coffee, unshaven, unwashed and looking through online job listings.

I entered all of the information just as you see it above, with the addition of the password, clicked the Save button and was greeted with the following message:

EXECUTE permission was denied on the object ‘proc_putobjectTVP’,database ‘SharePoint_Config’, schema ‘dbo’

Um,… what? This one went way over my head so I called in my IT support. After a bit of digging and searching, he was able to find an answer on the internet. The one good thing about error messages, is the chances are pretty good someone else has already seen it or something like it, and posted a fix online. This case was no different.

The object was slightly different, but the fix was the same… which was a good thing because we ran into two more of these after the fix was applied to the first one, like dominoes. This is an excerpt from the web article providing the steps to assign the necessary permissions for these objects. This fix is applied to the SharePoint Config database on your SQL Server.

Detailed Steps

In order to resolve the issue, I provided Execute permission to the database role “WSS Content_Application Pools” into the stored procedure “proc_putObject”. I performed the following steps to do this:

  • In the database server, expand SharePoint Config database and navigate to Programmability/Stored Procedures/db0.proc_putObject using SQL Server Management Studio.
  • Right click on the above stored procedure and select Properties.
  • On the popup screen, select Permissions on the left and click Search button.
  • On the new popup screen, click Search, select (WSS Content Application Pools) database role and click OK.
  • Click OK again.
  • On the first popup screen, select the role, check Execute permission and click OK

Once we fixed the first error, we also had to apply the same steps to the following procedures:

proc_putclass and proc_getnewobjects.

So, everything is all fine now, right? Not so fast. After these errors were overcome, a new one popped up that had everyone stumped, including the Vault development staff I spoke to. No one had seen this one before.

SharePoint 2013: Event ID 6398 An update conflict has occurred, and you must re-try this action

I think we stared at this message for about three days, trying everything we could come up with, before we once again found a blog post that was directly related to this error.

“Issue: (from Microsoft) This issue occurs if the contents of the file system cache on the front-end servers are newer than the contents of the configuration database. After you perform a system recovery, you may have to manually clear the file system cache on the local server.”

This fix is performed on the SharePoint server. The file system cache will rebuild itself after it has been cleared, with no damage to anything else within the site. So, since this was still in the test environment we just pulled the trigger and cleared the cache as outlined in the blog post. I re-entered the login credentials… again…. and hit the save button. To an audible sigh of relief the message we received was: Your changes have been saved! We were in. Our SharePoint tenant was now talking to our Vault. Now we just had to decide what we wanted it to say!

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Image Credits: Powell Fabrication and Manufacturing inc and The National Guard (Flickr)