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Tag Archives: Vault

Working around varying hard drive letters for Autodesk Inventor

William Warby - Hard Drive

In my new job working for an Autodesk Reseller, it’s quickly become apparent what a pain in the backside enforcing single project files is in larger design offices. Single Project files, in most cases are a must when you have Autodesk Vault deployed within the company, but there is also a decent argument for employing the same approach with Autodesk Inventor. The main problem with enforcing this policy within these larger design offices, is the range in specification of the workstations, specifically varying hard drive letters.

Everyone has had a hand me down PC at some point in their career, it was probably at least 3 years old by the time you had it, right? Well as time marches on, those PC’s inevitably require some form of upgrade, RAM, GPU or Hard Drive. It seems there are a number of PC’s out there which have needed larger secondary hard drives installed, I’m not entirely sure why they are necessary when you have network storage, nevertheless this is the reality. The trouble comes in those scenarios because the CAD data is often stored on these secondary hard drives…. which means the drive letter the CAD data is store on varies from PC to PC within the office. Pre-Inventor 2013 you could rely on the relative paths in the Inventor Project File sorting themselves out as you moved it between hard drives, the drive letter just didn’t matter. It has always mattered with Vault when it comes to enforcing the Working Folder, which from a CAD Management perspective is highly desirable. Along comes Inventor 2013 with it’s shiny new Materials and Appearance libraries… If you need to modify any of the stock Materials or Appearances, then Autodesk recommends you create a custom library, rather than editing the default Inventor one. The trouble is, these Material and Appearance library files don’t follow the same relative path rule, they are full paths…. which means their path includes the drive letter. Arghh!

There is a fairly easy workaround though, hopefully Autodesk tidy this problem up someday. In the meantime check out my video below to see how combining a local share and mapping a network drive will save your bacon.

Image Credit: William Warby


 

Autodesk Vault 2015 LicensingError [319] (20)

Autodesk Vault 2015 Failed to Acquite License

UPDATE: This change applies to all 2015 Autodesk product licensing.

Upon installing the RTM version of Autodesk Vault Professional 2015, I naturally set about testing it alongside the latest build of Inventor 2015 I have (RTM isn’t available for download yet). Unsurprisingly I was greeted with the message “Failed to acquire a license”. I dug about all over the place trying to figure out what was causing the problem. I tried all of the usual solutions, with no joy. 5 hours of wrestling this beast got me pretty close to the edge of my tolerance, I was ready to break stuff.

I could get the license to work if the license server was installed on the same server as the ADMS console, but not if they were on separate machines. The only error code I could find was in the ADMS console File Store logs, Autodesk Vault LicensingError [319] (20). Searching the internet for that didn’t return any conclusive explanation for what it meant. The best resources I found on my travels were:

But none of the solutions there at the time helped.

It wasn’t until the build numbers in the ‘About’ dialogue caught my eye that I realized something was a miss. I had Version v11.10.0.0 build 95001 installed, which works perfectly for the 2014 licenses, but apparently wasn’t working for the 2015 network licenses anymore.

LMTOOLS Build 95001The version I had installed on the same server as the ADMS console was Version v11.12.0.0 build 136775.

LMTOOLS Build 136775You can download the latest build of the Autodesk IPv4 Network License Manager for Windows from here. These were the steps I followed:

  1. Uninstalled the old license manager
  2. Restarted the server
  3. Made a copy of the debug.log & license file
  4. Deleted the old network license manager install folders
  5. Installed the latest version
  6. Copied the debug.log & license file back into the new install folder.

One other thing to note is this new version seems to install into a new location “C:\Program Files\Autodesk Network License Manager” whereas it used to be in the Autodesk folder: “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Autodesk Network License Manager”.

Autodesk Network License Manager Config V11.12Finally, make sure you have ticked ‘Start Server at Power Up’ & ‘Use Services’ in the Config Services tab of the LMTOOLS dialogue box.

Assuming all the other known solutions are in place, you should now have a fully functioning Autodesk Vault 2015 network license. A good question for Autodesk would be, “Why wasn’t this LMTOOLS version requirement communicated in the Vault 2015 Readme file?”. Now go play with all those shiny new Item & BOM tools Autodesk have furnished us with in this new Vault Professional release.


 

Autodesk Vault 2015 – What’s New? Revit gets loads of love

Autodesk Vault Professional 2015 What's NewAutodesk Vault 2015 focuses on transforming the Item/BOM experience, making it easier for you to manage your design process. In addition, this release rolls up all of the Subscription Advantage bonus tools from the 2014 product and broadens the feature offerings in the Autodesk Revit Vault Add-in. Additional functionality and enhancements have been made to Project Sync, the ADMS Console, and the Installation process.

Editing Workflow Enhancements

You can now resolve files which have been edited out of turn in Inventor or all editions of the Vault Client.

In previous Vault releases, the Inventor application could modify the memory status of certain files, thus “dirtying” the file. Some of these modifications were system-forced changes and some were due to user responses to a system prompt.

With the Edited Out of Turn enhancement, users can now see which files have been edited out of turn and can save over them, making it easier to continue working without interruption.

Impact to Common Workflows

  • Download File—If a user attempts to download a file from vault when the local file has been modified, the file is not downloaded. Users can select Force Overwrite in the Vault Client’s Get/Check out dialog to force the download.
  • Revert to Latest—Users can continue using the Revert to Latest command in Inventor to check out files if the they do not have the latest revision on disk (regardless of the local disk modification).

New Vault Status Modifier

Autodesk Vault 2015 Status ModifierIn previous Vault releases, the information icon Autodesk Vault Information Icon would be displayed along with a tool-tip noting that the file was edited out of turn.

Now when a file is edited out of turn, Vault shows the last downloaded state for the file and applies a modifier icon Autodesk Vault Modifier Icon to indicate that the local copy has saved changes that are not recorded in the vault.

The modifier icon is displayed by default in the Vault browser in Inventor and Vault Explorer.

 

New Filter in Inventor

The Vault Filter in the Inventor Vault Add-in has been updates with new filter options for local files, including files that are without edits, with saved edits, and with unsaved edits.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Inventor Add-in Browser FilterItems and BOMs Enhancements (Vault Professional)

Not only has this release enhanced existing functionality, but it focuses on improving usability, providing long lead item support, and integrating the item feature with AutoCAD Mechanical and Inventor.

Long Lead Item Support

In previous releases, users had to assign items to the entire structure using an Item Wizard. Autodesk Vault 2015 introduces greater flexibility in item assignment, allowing you to assign items as needed without the use of a wizard.

  • Assign Items to parent files only
  • Assign Items to an entire file structure
  • Turn BOM rows on and off at will.

New Item CAD Integrations

AutoCAD Mechanical and Inventor both support item awareness.

  • Search for and attach items as primary files or part references in AutoCAD Mechanical.
  • Search for and place items as primary files or virtual components in Inventor.

Improved Usability

Several areas of the Item Workflow have been overhauled or improved to make it easier for you to manage your items and BOMs.

  • New Modeless Item Interface

    The Item Wizard has been eliminated and a new modeless interface introduced for item management. Now you can manage item records and work with the main Vault client at the same time. In addition, you can drag and drop or copy/paste files onto items, components onto items, or items onto items.

  • Save Item as Needed

    In previous releases, you had to save and close an item to record changes, and then reopen it to continue modifying it. Now you can save as you edit without having to close the record.

  • Save a Copy of an Item as a New Item

    Save a current item as a new item so that all of the properties, BOM rows, and item details are copied into the new item.

    Note: Item links are not copied to the new item.
  • Open Item from File

    Not only can you go to an item from a selected file but you can open the item directly from the file.

  • Assign Items to Components

    Assign items to virtual components, allowing you to keep track of placeholders in your BOMs.

  • Change Item State from the Right-Click Menu

    Not only can you change item states from the item record, you can also right-click on an item and select change state without ever opening the item record.

  • Easy File Link Management
    Restrictions on file links have been eased. In addition, an associated link type column has been added to the Associated Items dialog so you can see at a glance whether a link is primary or not.

    Note: Administrators have the option of suppressing the Associated Items dialog.

    When viewing the Associated Files section of an item, non-primary links are hidden by default, making it easier to locate the associated file that you need. Users have the option of revealing the other links with the click of a button.

  • Auto-select Duplicate Item

    Right now, Vault will automatically select one item for assignment when it finds two of the same items. Administrators can opt out of auto-selection by modifying preferences on the Configure Assign Item dialog. Administrators can also decide whether or not to allow a user to override auto-assignment.

  • Flexible BOM Management

    Now, instead of having to remove BOM rows, you can turn rows off to keep them listed in the BOM but exclude them from the BOM-related processes.

    In previous releases, you could only modify the parent item in a BOM. Now you can make nested edits to items listed in the BOM, as well as add and remove nested items.

    Autodesk Vault 2015 Item DialogueAutomatically add rows to a BOM by creating new items. Administrators can also specify on the Configure BOM Row Settings dialog whether Vault automatically creates items for children files in the BOM or turns BOM rows on for them.

    Additionally, you can easily reorder rows in the BOM by dragging and dropping them (Bill of Materials – Reordering) as well as configure item position numbers (Bill of Materials – Change the Position of an Item in a BOM.

    Export BOM has been renamed to Save BOM view and now has a simplified workflow.

  • Enhancements to Item Number Workflow

    When an item is created, the default numbering scheme is used to generate the item number. If the scheme requires user input, users are immediately prompted to fill in the required values so there is no need to go back and edit the item record later.

    A Replace button is provided to help you search the Vault for properties that you want to map to fields requiring user input. A Precheck button is provided to verify the mapped values.

    In addition, you can quickly access the Change Number dialog by right-clicking on an item.

  • New status icons and improved User Interface

    New status icons and an improved user interface help you manage your items and BOMs with quicker, more convenient workflows.

Revit Vault Add-in Enhancements

Autodesk Vault 2015 focuses heavily on the Revit Vault add-in experience by introducing several new features and enhancing existing features.

New Import from Vault Feature

The new Import from Vault feature lets you import CAD files stored in the Vault into the current Revit project. However, unlike Link from Vault, when the project is saved to Vault, only the project is updated.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Import from Vault Revit DialogueThe Import from Vault feature supports DWG, DXF, DGN, SKP, and SAT file types.

New Load Group from Vault Feature

Vault now supports loading Model groups, Detail groups, and Attached Detail groups from the Vault into the current project. In addition, Vault allows users to choose whether they want to load all groups or just specific groups, making it easy to incorporate only the groups that they need in a single workflow.

A new Load Group icon has been added to the Revit Vault ribbon to streamline the load group experience.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Load Group from Vault Revit DialogueImproved Load Family from Vault Workflow

Users can now load all of the family types in a selected family in one click, making it faster to retrieve all of the family types needed for a project. In addition, users can also select Load and Place to load the family type and leave the workflow in Place mode so that the user need only click on the appropriate element in the active model to place the family type that was just loaded.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Family from Vault Revit DialogueAdditionally, the Load Family from Vault dialog makes it easier for you to find the family types you use most often by defaulting to the last folder location from which a family type was loaded.

Administrators can also specify which categories and parameters are displayed when loading family types. These preferences can be configured on the Searching tab of the Vault Options dialog.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Revit Options

Link More File Types

You can now link .dgn, .sat, and .skp files from the Vault. Additionally, you can import image links of type .bmp, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, and .tif.

Maintain Link to DWF

Previously when linking to a DWF or DWFx file, the link was read-only and users would have to manually check out DWF markups to modify them. Now if a user checks out a file with a DWF link, the DWF file is automatically checked out as well. When the file is closed, the DWF link is automatically checked back into the vault.

New Login Interface and Connection Status

The Log in and Log out buttons on the Revit Vault ribbon have been combined to create a single toggle button. Users can view their connection status by hovering their mouse over the button.

Shared Parameters Support

Users can now point to a shared parameters file stored in the Vault, making it easier to activate shared parameters.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Shared Parameters

A Select Shared Parameters button has been added to the Revit Vault ribbon to simplify the workflow.

New Lifecycles, Revisions, and Categories Support

The Revit Vault Add-in now supports change state, revise file, and change category workflows, making it easier for you to manage your design files.

New Mapping User Interface on the Vault Options Dialog

The Mapping tab on the Vault Options dialog has been enhanced to streamline common workflows.

Autodesk Vault 2015 Revit Options2Additionally, a mapping wizard is introduced to help users map local folders, folders on a shared drive, or folders on the Revit Server to a folder in the vault.

Import Revit Project Properties

Properties for Revit Projects are now extracted from the Revit model into and stored in the Vault. Once the properties are mapped, users can search them and modify them. Most properties can be written back to the Revit project.

New and Improved Vault Thin Client (Vault Workgroup and Vault Professional)

The thin client has been completely redesigned to provide a superior experience when accessing a vault through a web browser. The redesign includes a new interface, better workflows, additional views, and improved customization.

Note: Vault Workgroup provides read-only access with the Vault thin client. You must have a Vault Office license to perform file management tasks.

In addition, the Vault Thin Client supports DWF viewing across all browsers with the Autodesk Design Review (ADR) plug-in. If the browser does not have the ADR plug-in installed, the DWF is downloaded instead.

Inventor Vault Add-in Updates

The Inventor Vault Add-in has been updated to include a Fast Open from Vault option. This means that you can open a drawing without finding or resolving any of the referenced files.

Project Sync Updates

Project Sync now provides multiple mapping support. In previous releases, users had to map a folder that contained all of the files that they wanted to synchronize with Vault. This meant that the folder had to be high enough in the folder hierarchy to contain all of the necessary files. However, as a result, many files and folders inside the hierarchy did not need to be synchronized.

Autodesk Vault 2015 introduces a way to specify multiple mappings between Vault folders and Buzzsaw sites/folders within one Vault. Now users can select the exact Vault folders that they want to synchronize.

A few dialogs had to be overhauled to support the new mapping functionality.

  • The Project Sync Settings dialog now offers a way to specify folders for mapping and site management.
    Autodesk Vault 2015 Project Sync Settings
  • In addition, the Add from Buzzsaw workflow has been updated to include a new dialog that asks users to choose the mapping from which they want to add files.

ADMS Console Updates

Vault templates have been introduced to the ADMS Console for easy vault creation based on your industry. Now when you first log in after installation, you are prompted to create a vault. You must select an industry template or choose the default template before the vault is created.

In addition, the Civil 3D template is now included with all three industry templates.

In addition, the enable SSL compatibility option has been relocated to the Administration dialog.

New Consolidated Installation Process

The installation process has been entirely overhauled to consolidate separate installation packages. In previous releases, components like the Autodesk File Server or Autodesk Vault Office would have to be installed separately. Now, all of the components you need for a successful data management ecosystem are available from the Vault Server or Vault Client Installation package.

Vault Server Installation

The Vault Server Installation package includes the option of installing these components now:

  • Revit Vault Server Integration
  • Autodesk Vault Office 2015 (Server)
  • Autodesk Vault Thin Client 2015
  • Autodesk Vault File Server 2015
  • Content Center Libraries for Inventor 2015
  • Network License Manager

Vault Client Installation

The Vault Client installation package not only combines additional components for installation, but also includes the option of creating a custom deployment.

  • Autodesk Vault Office 2015 (Client)
  • Autodesk Vault Professional Project Sync
  • Autodesk Design Review 2013

In addition, administrators can now specify whether they want to use the default SQL credentials or configure new ones.

Conclusion

While it’s clear that I have largely nabbed the What’s New document here, I have where appropriate edited this material & referred back to the 2014 Subscription Release 1 post Mike wrote a few months back. This is a solid release of Vault, sure most of the new features were already available with 2014, but how many people actually installed them? What it did do though, is expand those features out to a wider audience in a production environment, which otherwise wouldn’t have been achievable within the beta. The result is a more stable release of Vault right out of the box.

The new Item Master features are gratefully received. They go some way towards dealing with frustrating experiences lots of people come up against every day of their Vault lives. Having the new Thin Client bundled up in the final release having had 6 months of real world abuse is also a big plus. Which reminds me, I need to update Hyperlink Maestro so it will generate links for the new client.

I am gutted however, that last years push to drive a more modern & consistent user interface within Vault has stalled spectacularly. We are now left with a unique Get/Checkout dialogue in the Vault client, which just serves to confuse new users on a daily basis as they grapple with Vault’s UI.

It appears at this stage there is no support for Office 2013… but if you look through your subscription center downloads, you will see Autodesk recently released the 2013 add-ins for Vault 2014. So I would imagine the Office 2013 add ins will appear for Vault 2015 fairly soon.

In closing, all those shiny new Revit additions are making me itchy. I have never used Revit before, but I think I’m going to have to set up something to test this lot out. If I do, I will report back on my experiences. Anyhow, it’s flipping late here in New Zealand now, I’m all tuckered out after a crazy, non stop Autodesk Launch week.

Oh & Vault 2015 is already in the subscription center waiting to be downloaded. Mine is already installed :-).

UPDATE:

Upon installing Vault 2015, I couldn’t obtain any licenses to put all these shiny new features to use. The ADMS logs were returning this error: Autodesk Vault LicensingError [319] (20). I eventually figured out the problem was related to the Flexlm LMTOOLS application itself.


 

Autodesk Vault 2014 – Command Line Workspace Sync Works!

Autodesk just recently released updates for Vault 2014 and Vault 2014 with the Subscription Release. Pay close attention that Service Pack 2 is for Vaults that DO NOT have Subscription Release 1 applied.

To download Vault 2014 Subscription Release 1, Service Pack 1 you’ll need to visit the Autodesk Subscription site.

Autodesk Vault 2014 Branding

The update fixes a variety of problems, but the one that might go unnoticed (fly under the radar) is the fix to Workspace Sync.

Using the command line parameter -S for Connectivity.WorkspaceSync.exe would result in an error “Not a valid settings file path”.

Workspace Sync From the Commandline

This problem effected us almost immediately as we moved to 2014, as running Workspace Sync from the command line just stopped working, just like that. Design & Motion’s Scott Moyse was also affected by it, he had a bee in his bonnet about it all year!

Workspace Sync

Using the Workspace Synchronization tool, Vault will analyze your local workspace and updates or removes files based on what is current within the Vault workspace.

As you use Vault and are checking in and out files, Vault automatically copies the files to your local working folder. This can result in a ton of files on your hardrive, in a very short period of time. This is not a good thing because if you are using Inventor and one Master Vault Project this leads to Inventor having to weed through many more files than it needs, to resolve your assembly references…. aka it affects performance!

As other people may make changes to the files between the time you work on them again, your local copies may no longer be up-to-date and not match the version in the Vault. The link between Vault and Inventor is definitely better than it was, but we found using Workspace Sync greatly reduced the amount of wrong versions of files being used. The issue this corrected was the use of files that had been renamed or deleted in Vault but the user had not removed the old versions from their local working folder.

In a CAD Manager type role, I realized early on in our move to Vault that this was going to have to be scripted, because people were forgetting to do it on a regular basis… or not doing it at all! Workspace Sync is important to run regularly as it helps insure people are not working on older versions of files and it keeps the working folder with the minimum amount of files. I had one user with over 20,000 files in his local working folder, and he wondered why his Inventor was slow!

Workspace Sync Scanning Local Working Folder

Running Workspace Sync from the command line became a standard scheduled task on all of our engineering systems. We run the Windows defrag Monday, disk cleanup (cleanmgr.exe /sagerun) and c:\temp cleanup Tuesday’s, and the Workspace Sync Friday.

Workspace Sync Dialog

So we’ve been forced back to manually initiating the Workspace Sync, until now. I applied the Service Pack last week and my Workspace Sync is back to running without error, scheduled as a scripted Windows Task, on a weekly basis.

To read how to run Workspace Sync from the command line, visit the Autodesk Wiki 


 

Review of the Data Standard Extension for Autodesk Vault

At the very end of November Autodesk released a second subscription extension for Vault. Autodesk describes it as…

Vault Data Standard is a data control feature for found within Autodesk Vault Professional and Vault Workgroup that helps you enter data for new or existing files in a standardized format.”

This extension is for Subscription customers only and is far from “out-of-the-box.” It requires configuration before you start using it and is not for for everyone. You will need to know a bit about XAML, if you want to customize the dialogs.

My honest first reaction? It brought back memories of LISP and Diesel dialog boxes for AutoCAD r13, which is a very scary thought. However, after being talked off the ledge (thanks Andrew) I realize how smart Autodesk was about this extension, in how it was developed and the possibilities it provides. Its a focused open toolkit, with a lot of possibilities

WHAT IS IT?

This extension provides a means to standardize how properties are presented, what they must contain, and how they are edited. It is really a toolkit in which you configure. One of the main components are forms that you customize to show just the properties you want. The property input can be customized to include mandatory properties (ones that must be filled out). The extendable forms are available for Inventor, AutoCAD, and Vault Explorer. They can be set to automatically appear when a new file is created or a file is saved. It is very extensible in that you can add dynamic pick list or additional “business logic“.to the forms

Chris Atherton of Symetri posted this video highlighting the extensions usage and what it can do. Two high fives for Chris, one for capturing and presenting the uses of this extension so well and secondly for using Autodesk technology to do the capturing (Autodesk Chronicle). See the video here.

The Good?

  • The extension is really three different components, meaning you can install and use just the ones that you want.
  • The extension is extremely extensible, you should be able to make it do whatever you need it to do, well at least when it comes to data standardization

The Bad?

  • For those with limited programming and development experience you might struggle with the customization and setup.

The Meh?

  • The help is ok, better than most, but not superb. Expect a lot of trial and error

For this post I’m just going to focus on the Vault Explorer component.

OUT-OF-THE-BOX (Vault Explorer)

After installing the Vault Explorer Extension additional tabs will appear in the various preview panes. For example, with files a CAD BOM tab will be present and for files and folders a Datasheet tab. The Datasheet tab is completely customizable, in that you specify which properties to show. However you can’t do anything with this tab other than view properties.

The CAD BOM tab is exposing information tracked in the API, in a read-only state. You can’t do anything from this tab except view the BOM. What would I like to do? Go to file, open file, check-out file… just a few of the things that would be nice. A warning, the CAD BOM is not extensible. I received confirmation on this in the Autodesk Discussion forums from Jeff Paquette, a Data Management Support Specialist for Autodesk.

“The CAD BOM tab was not designed to extract Vault properties. CAD BOM shows the CAD data extracted at check-in time.”

However I think its provided more as an example or a starting point… you can add your own tabs! At least I’ve seen custom tabs added, its on my list of things to try.

The Good?

  • The property palette is ok but shows too much information. Having the ability to control this with the Datasheet tab is a nice touch
  • The CAD BOM tab shows very useful information and could be very powerful with the right touches

The Bad?

  • I wish there were more examples in the help and a bit more clarity on what you can and can’t do. I wasted a couple hours trying to customize the properties that appear in the file BOM tab only to find out from Autodesk that its not possible. Why provide a form that you can customize if you can’t? Or at least explain this in the help.

XAML

XAML (pronounced “zammel”) is Extensible Application Markup Language. Before this extension I had never heard of it, well at least never paid it any attention. It is an XML-based markup language developed by Microsoft and I have been told that the big advantage of using XAML is its portability between platforms, as in developing one form and using it in your application and as web app. In this situation we are able to use one set of XAML forms for AutoCAD, Inventor, and Vault and really don’t need to get in deep with any coding using the API

I HIGHLY recommend if you’ve never used XAML before is spend an hour with google reading a bit on what XAML is and how best to code with it. Personally I found using Microsoft’s XML Notepad easier to customize the forms that using Visual Studio. I also learned that its easier to move text boxes and labels by changing the row position than by dragging and dropping.

The Good?

  • The forms of this extension are XAML based meaning that the process to customize them for each of the applications is exactly the same, even copy and paste code between them to speed up the process.

The Bad?

  • The forms of this extension are XAML based meaning for me there was a bit of a learning curve

SETUP, CONFIGURATION, & USAGE

Step #1: install the desired components. The downloaded installer package from the subscription site will contain five files, a msi to install the Vault Explorer extension, plus 32-bit and 64-bit msi installers for the AutoCAD and Inventor extensions. If you don’t install the specific extension the files for configuration will not appear.

The configuration files will be installed into C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Vault 2014\Extensions\DataStandard\Vault\Configuration. Before making any changes create BACKUP copies! Doesn’t matter how, just have something to fall back on.

To modify the properties of a file or folder right-click on the object and select Edit Datasheet. Guess what controls the properties that appear on this form? You guessed it, the configuration files deployed to the location above. 

Here’s an image of what the Datasheet tab looked before I changed it and after. I made a simple change to add the Cost property

What the Datasheet tab looks like "out-of-the-box"

What the Datasheet tab looks like “out-of-the-box”

 

What the Datasheet tab looks like customized

What the Datasheet tab looks like customized

Here’s a video of me using the Microsoft XML Notepad to make a change to the Edit Datasheet dialog.

Notice the use of IsReadOnly and applying a greyish colour makes the field read-only and gives it the appearance that it is read-only. This is only the tip of the iceberg as you can also:

  • make properties mandatory
  • add combobox drop-downs
  • use events
  • create computed fields
  • look-up data from another source to populate the values.

Hopefully you can see that it was very easy to make a change, and customizing any of the tabs is very similar.

TEMPLATES

The other area of the Data Standard extension for the Vault Client is the Template workflow. The workflow is to create a Template folder in the root of your Vault and populate it with files that you use regularly. These files become the templates for creating new folders and files and should be populated with the properties and property defaults you want standardized. With files in the template folder you can right-click in any location and create the new file or folder, and Vault will prompt you with the Edit Datasheet dialog. You complete the properties and viola you have a new file populated with the correct property information.

For me this has become a very useful feature for when creating new purchased part files, creating project folders, and creating new project documentation like project reports and manuals.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Read the readme and the online help, twice before starting! Strategize first and map out what you want to accomplish.

If you don’t have much programming and development experience don’t get down on yourself if you can’t make it work, it isn’t for everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions (use the discussion forums).

There really isn’t a limit on what you can accomplish with this from a Data Standardization perspective. Having issues with non-standard property information, this is the add-on for you. Even if you don’t use if for the Data Standard aspect it makes for a great property editor.

I am interested in how Autodesk is going to incorporate this into 2015. I would love an option to include this during the Vault Client deployment including the inclusion of the customized configuration files.

QUESTION

Anyone know of a method to tie the customized files (cfg and xaml) into the installer? I’d like to elegantly push this out to my users but don’t want to copy my customized files to each system. I was thinking a script but if I could do it all at one shot, install the extension and copy the files, all the better.


 

When a version is just a version, and a revision is more

Back in my Autodesk Reseller days I wrote a whitepaper explaining the differences between a version and a revision. I did this because Autodesk had just released Productstream (which is now Vault Professional) and there was a lot of misunderstanding and confusion. The Confusion was on the differences between version management, which Vault did, and revision management, which Productstream did. Fast forward to today and this misunderstanding and confusion between versions and revisions still exists. We’ve been using Vault Pro for over 4 years and I still need to explain the differences more times then it should be.

So why all the confusion? Its not ignorance or that this is an advanced topic. I think its because the two, version vs. revision, are so close in meaning that its difficult to see the difference. Its like my twin daughters, who are not identical, but most people immediately want to argue that they are. Its because to them they look exactly the same, but after spending time with them the differences start to appear, and soon enough you are easily able to pick them apart.

Its like a square and and a rectangle. The square is a rectangle, but the rectangle is not a square. A revision is controlled version, but a version is not necessarily a revision.

What is a version?

A version is an iteration, something that is different than before.

When programmers develop software a version is typically a minor software update, something that addresses issues in the the original release but does not contain enough to warrant a major release of the software.

In the engineering world we like to keep previous copies of our designs so that we can go revert back to them in case something goes wrong. Data corruption, customer changes their mind, or the new idea does not work are some of the reasons we like to keep a legacy around. Having previous copies means that we can see what we did, when we did it, and hopefully why we did it. With versions the what, who, when, why isn’t always so obvious.

Versioning within Vault

At the heart of Vault is a very strong version management system. Versions occur automatically during check-in. This means I can check a file out, make as many changes as I want, save it as many times as I want, and the new version is created during check-in [well technically its during check-out but we'll go with check-in for simplification]. Unless configured differently Vault will maintain every checked in version of your file, meaning you can go back and view the specific versions or restore them as the current version.

What is a revision?

A revision is a controlled version. Webster’s dictionary describes a “revision” as the act of revising, which is to make a new, amended, improved, or up-to-date version.

Back to the software analogy, a revision is seen as a major release of the software. Something that introduces new features and functionality, as well as fixing bugs. In the engineering world we use revisions to document the changes so that anyone can understand what was changed

Revisions will typically happen after some type of approval. The original document is approved meaning that we need to make a revision as we will seek approval to release the changed document. Versions occur during one lifecycle state, revisions are caused by the change of lifecycle.  

Versions are usually temporary, revisions are permanent. What I mean by this is that during the design phase I will quickly build up versions of the design, however 5-years from now I will only care about one version, the one that was released.

Revision Management with Vault

Revision Management within Vault can occur in a couple different forms but usually boils down to file lifecycling or item lifecycling. Looking at file revision management it involves assign a category to the file. The Category assigns the revision schemes and possible lifestyle states. Assuming we use the basic, out-of-the-box options, we take the version we want to release and move it into In Review and then when approved it is moved into the Released State. Now if I want to make a change I must first move it into the Work In Progress State which automatically bumps the revision level.

In Conclusion

I hope this helps explain the difference or helps you explain the difference to someone else. The easiest thing to remember is that a revision is controlled version, a historical record or a change in design.

To learn more about revision management within Vault you can always watch my Autodesk University sessions

PL1341: Whose Version Should We Believe?—Revising the Story with Vault

PL1714: Choosing the Right Lifestyle with Vault Lifecycles