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Thread: BIM 360 Revit Links

  1. #11
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Frankly- even if it updated and installed itself, i wouldnt use it. They like to (no offense to Adsk) keep changing important parts of applications, just to change them. And, i cant afford to have a client experience the weirdness Dave posted: Where an app got released, then pulled, but it was already installed, and then there is an issue.

    All of that is a nonstarter, for me. The other applications (not by Autodesk) that force you to installer them as users (dont need admin rights, but have to be installed by every user) bring a different host of issues, that ALSO draw my ire (im looking at you: Teams, Slack, etc).

    Folks that make applications that need to be installed and managed at the Enterprise level need to stop being lazy, and build a real hub-and-spoke distribution method for their tools. For Desktop Connector, its WAY too much effort, for a tool that basically only does what a batch script or a ghetto dropbox folder will do. I dont need that in my life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott D Davis View Post
    Beyond that, using BIM 360 Design opens up the possibility for a "Controlled Worksharing" environment.
    We have found that controlled worksharing has caused more problems than solutions. Consultants hear from their local ADSK rep the value of controlled worksharing, but rarely grasp the added overhead related to publishing, sharing and consuming models. I personally feel the controlled worksharing process is a technical solution for a cultural problem (teams are not efficiently coordinating with their consultants).

    Controlled worksharing forces a transmittal process into the middle of what used to be a live coordination environment. When everyone is forced to work live we have found teams coordinate better with consultants and ultimately get a better documents.

    Just my $0.02

    ON ADC:
    Migrating all our linked CAD files to the cloud (CIVIL, EXISTING, ETC) reduces vpn demand (yes, some teams leave their cad files on our server and link revit in the cloud ) and provides for a better

  3. #13
    Forum Addict sdbrownaia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    Well, you can... It just means someone whos ON the BIM360 project has to manually get the file, and manually detach it and upload it, on to BIM360 Design.

    Desktop Connector isnt installed here, nor will it be, lol.
    The problem with this is you can't use the compare feature because you have to delete the old file so you don't get to see the versions. As long as teams aren't using the compare feature and understand the time it takes to replace consultant models then yes you don't need the desktop connector. But the compare feature is freaking awesome for quickly understanding what the consultants have done. It really helps estimating and me know what the consultants have been up to.

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    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrownaia View Post
    The problem with this is you can't use the compare feature because you have to delete the old file so you don't get to see the versions. As long as teams aren't using the compare feature and understand the time it takes to replace consultant models then yes you don't need the desktop connector. But the compare feature is freaking awesome for quickly understanding what the consultants have done. It really helps estimating and me know what the consultants have been up to.
    Yeah, absolutely. But like I said, if the consultant is in revit and they're working with us, they're getting on BIM360 so it's moot. We only manually upload if it's that or the busted ass desktop connector.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk

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    Forum Addict sdbrownaia's Avatar
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    Don't get me wrong, the desktop connector adds a whole pile of problems, people don't know how to reload from it, they always think the models are missing or not there, it doesn't work with procore drive so you have to disable or uninstall procore. It throws failed action errors that rarely can be completed so you just have to clear them. No doubt much better to get everyone on BIM360 proper. Good conversation as always!!

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    I to have been struggling to determine what are the best, or even most time-efficient practices for using BIM360. I spoke to an Autodesk 'Customer Success Specialist' who honestly seemed to have no clue either, besides of course, 'Your firm and all of your consultants should buy BIM360 licenses for optimal workflow' which might be true if that's how the software is intended to be used, but that's not at all realistic.

    Conceptually, in my mind at least, all project files including the arch model, linked consultant models, DWGs, etc. should be living in BIM360 documents in a true off-server location with the same functionality as if everything was still on a local drive. Otherwise what happens if one of our team members doesn't have access to our server? The problem I see is that BIM360 documents DOESN'T act a true off-server location. For example, I can easily upload a CAD file to the project sub-folder in the cloud, but I can't link that uploaded CAD file to my upload Revit model. Is it just me or does that seem flawed?

    Instead, We'd have to spend hours uploading & collaborating linked models, since our consultants don't use BIM360 (we get 3 updated models a week or every other week btw), install Desktop Connector on everyone's machine so that CAD files can link, and seemingly jump through all these hoops for something that was supposed to save us time. Ha!

    Because of all this, we use BIM360 but we left linked models on our server along with CAD files and everything else. This is feels like the exact opposit of logic, going back to how conceptually I think the software should work. So far the only benefit of using BIM360 for us has been that it syncs faster while my firm is working remote, that's it...
    Last edited by billiam; April 1st, 2020 at 06:35 PM.

  7. #17
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    My firm is 100% cloud based now and i have some thoughts on this but there's a lot of talking points, so let me break it down please. Also, these are my personal opinions, not best practices necessarily, so be nice with your rebuttals.

    Quote Originally Posted by billiam View Post
    I to have been struggling to determine what are the best, or even most time-efficient practices for using BIM360. I spoke to an Autodesk 'Customer Success Specialist' who honestly seemed to have no clue either, besides of course, 'Your firm and all of your consultants should buy BIM360 licenses for optimal workflow' which might be true if that's how the software is intended to be used, but that's not at all realistic.
    That's Autodesk for you. Remember, their sales channel is split into two parts basically a technical side and sales side. A lot of the technical stuff that the sales side picks up is done via sitting though countless calls/presentations/etc while the technical person "closes the deal" and addresses specifics. Sometimes the customer success person you get is newer or is just trying to sell the product (shocking, I know. Right?).

    Quote Originally Posted by billiam
    Conceptually, in my mind at least, all project files including the arch model, linked consultant models, DWGs, etc. should be living in BIM360 documents in a true off-server location with the same functionality as if everything was still on a local drive. Otherwise what happens if one of our team members doesn't have access to our server? The problem that I see is that BIM360 documents DOESN'T act a true off-server location. For example, I can easily upload a CAD file to the project sub-folder in the cloud, but I can't link that uploaded CAD file to my upload Revit model. Is it just me or does that seem flawed?
    We have found that with the ADC the BIM 360 platform is getting closer and closer to that true off premise utopia that Autodesk keeps selling. It's come a hell of a long way sense it's conception, but still has a ways to go. What I have seen, if a consultant uploads their CAD file via Save AS>>BIM 360.... the CAD file is linkable to all users. It will not however load for any users that do not have the ADC installed. The best way I can describe it is Revit goes to load the link, sees it's a BIM360:: path and says, "OK, ADC go load this file for me", Then you get the loading files progress bar.. yadda yadda.

    All my project teams are directed to migrate their CAD files to the cloud. This ensures that the CAD links are visible to anyone that needs to see them through the ARCH model. We actually tell our consultants to work on their CAD files locally, then when they're ready to update their CAD file to just upload it to BIM 360 and overwrite the one on the cloud. We haven't had any issues with this workflow. This process works if you upload a CAD file via the web portal or via save as with the ADC.

    There are 2 points to keep in mind with all of this: 1) Sometimes, one person on the Revit team has to open the BIM 360 hosted CAD file in AutoCAD prior to linking the .dwg. This forces the ADC to download the file making the path visible for Revit. and 2) The users have to link the CAD file by going to This PC>>BIM360.

    Quote Originally Posted by billiam
    Instead, We'd have to spend hours uploading & collaborating linked models, since our consultants don't use BIM360 (we get 3 updated models a week or every other week btw), install Desktop Connector on everyone's machine so that CAD files can link, and seemingly jump through all these hoops for something that was supposed to save us time. Ha!
    Your consultants can still save a model to the cloud as a Cloud Model. This only works with Non-Worksharing enabled Revit files. In Revit 2019 Save As>>Cloud Model. Meaning, you don't have to manually upload anything to the Cloud. BIM 360 serves as the model exchange platform. You will be able to link it in.

    But, (and it's a big but) if your consultant is using worksharing on their end, the only option to gain this model update efficiency is to detach from central, save as, then save that detached model as a "cloud model".

    We sat down and did the math a few years ago. Across our firm, the elimination of having to share models with consultants manually 3x a week saved us over a half million dollars a year. That was before ADSK started jacking up the price of AEC Collection and raised the a la carte cost structure of BIM 360.

    Quote Originally Posted by billiam
    Because of all this, we use BIM360 but we left linked models on our server along with CAD files and everything else. This is feels like the exact opposit of logic, going back to how conceptually I think the software should work. So far the only benefit of using BIM360 for us has been that it syncs faster while my firm is working remote, that's it...
    I agree, it's the exact opposite of the intended logic. As much as I feel for my IT team having to fulfill the Sisyphean task of managing Autodesk Updates (Which, I totally blame ADSK for. Their process for managing updates is awful. As a user, I'm done feeling like a beta tester ALL THE TIME).

    One final thought about BIM 360, and this is what really gets me about the platform. It works great if you have NOTHING ELSE in your technology stack to consider- No Newforma, No Procore, no Bluebeam, No MS Teams, No DelTek, No Avitrue, No BSD, etc. The issue we're grappling with now: we have a lot of scope overlap in our solution portfolio, but no one product is robust enough to eliminate any other product. And sense all developers think they're the only developer we use, most of the best practices i get from ADSK completely ignore other solutions and end up producing duplicate data for our teams.

    My opinion; the pains of managing the ADC are worth it compared to the time they save our users. It used to be REALLY, really, tragically bad to manage ADC updates- but it has gotten a lot better. My goal is to make my designers' lives as easy as reasonable, so the ADC in the words of Martha Stewart "It's a good thing."

  8. #18
    Autodesk Kyle's Avatar
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    Hey all,
    Great discussion going on here. As the person who was leading the product team when we built much of this, I wanted to join the conversation in case there's any insight I could provide. I see some items in the thread below that I'll address, but I'm open to other specific questions you might have. I've also sent this thread to key folks currently on the BIM 360 Design product team.
    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    Frankly- even if it updated and installed itself, i wouldnt use it. They like to (no offense to Adsk) keep changing important parts of applications, just to change them. And, i cant afford to have a client experience the weirdness Dave posted: Where an app got released, then pulled, but it was already installed, and then there is an issue.
    I can't think of a product team discussion I've been in that involved a goal of changing things for the sake of changing them, so that's not necessarily the most fair assertion. Pretty much everything we do geared towards improving the quality, usability, or capability of the product experiences we deliver. Sometimes those efforts have unintended consequences - something we work quite hard at to avoid - so I can understand how you could extrapolate to a less-than ideal intent on the teams.
    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    All of that is a nonstarter, for me. The other applications (not by Autodesk) that force you to installer them as users (dont need admin rights, but have to be installed by every user) bring a different host of issues, that ALSO draw my ire (im looking at you: Teams, Slack, etc).

    Folks that make applications that need to be installed and managed at the Enterprise level need to stop being lazy, and build a real hub-and-spoke distribution method for their tools. For Desktop Connector, its WAY too much effort, for a tool that basically only does what a batch script or a ghetto dropbox folder will do. I dont need that in my life.
    Fair enough. It's a reasonable request to have Desktop Connector fall within the standard - whether you love or hate it - Autodesk practices for updating applications via our Desktop App or SCCM deployments, and I can't argue with the sentiment on that gap. I would love to avoid a digression on this topic relative to the BIM 360 Linking workflow one, so maybe we branch that topic if you want to go deeper there.
    Quote Originally Posted by MPS_DWarren View Post
    We have found that controlled worksharing has caused more problems than solutions. Consultants hear from their local ADSK rep the value of controlled worksharing, but rarely grasp the added overhead related to publishing, sharing and consuming models. I personally feel the controlled worksharing process is a technical solution for a cultural problem (teams are not efficiently coordinating with their consultants).

    Controlled worksharing forces a transmittal process into the middle of what used to be a live coordination environment. When everyone is forced to work live we have found teams coordinate better with consultants and ultimately get a better documents.

    Just my $0.02
    As the person most directly responsible for the Controlled Worksharing workflow, I agree that it's less efficient that live collaborative linking across cloud workshared models. Live linking was the only viable option when cloud worksharing in BIM 360 Team back in the C4R days, and it was our single biggest workflow adoption barrier for many potential subscribers -> e.g. plenty of consulting engineers who had allergic reactions to live updating Architectural links. So, we built Controlled Worksharing to provide a more traditional stage gate workflow to allow teams to be in control over when other teams see their latest work, and control when links from other teams update. Teams can make the choice; there is no single multi-team collaboration workflow that that would ever satisfy the diverse set of workflows across our global subscribers.
    Quote Originally Posted by MPS_DWarren View Post
    ON ADC:
    Migrating all our linked CAD files to the cloud (CIVIL, EXISTING, ETC) reduces vpn demand (yes, some teams leave their cad files on our server and link revit in the cloud ) and provides for a better
    That certainly was one of our goals, as the RVT-only nature of C4R was another significant adoption barrier, and Desktop Connector is intended to addres2 that.
    Quote Originally Posted by sdbrownaia View Post
    The problem with this is you can't use the compare feature because you have to delete the old file so you don't get to see the versions. As long as teams aren't using the compare feature and understand the time it takes to replace consultant models then yes you don't need the desktop connector. But the compare feature is freaking awesome for quickly understanding what the consultants have done. It really helps estimating and me know what the consultants have been up to.
    If you're dealing with consultant models not on BIM 360 Design - [Bias]why do that?[/Bias] - the recommended workflow would be to put them on BIM 360 Document Management and then use Desktop Connector to link them. Uploading new versions in Document Management will increment the version and allow for comparisons, while also updating the links - via Desktop Connector - in Revit. There are some limitations to this (notably the current limitation that those Desktop Connector-based links do not translate properly for viewing on BIM360) but on the whole it's typically the best option.

    Cheers,
    Kyle

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    Kyle- thanks for taking the time to jump in the pit and join the conversation. I appreciate it when people involved in the development side of a tool provide insight. Cheers.

    All and all, ADSK could really make life easier for users if there was a better means of managing updates for ALL their products. Not all companies are lucky enough to have the overhead to have a dedicated IT team with reliable SCCM competency.

    That being said, I do hope you can provide feedback on this question I fielded from a PM earlier this week. "If we're live linking in the cloud, what's the benefit of the BIM 360 Design module? Is it just publishing the model?" Honestly, I thought long and hard about it, and it seems the purpose of the Design module in BIM 360 is to manage the sharing of WIP packages between teams. If you're not doing that, the primary benefits are 1) enabling the worksharing platform 2) automation of weekly publish and 3) comparing published versions of the model (which i think you can also do in docs, no?).

    I assume I'm missing something, would appreciate your thoughts.

  10. #20
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Yeah, absolutely: Thanks for joining, Kyle.

    BTW, i was just being tongue in cheek about the constant need to update Desktop Connector. That isnt on the Development team of the feature itself, im sure. I know installs and rollouts are normally their own team.

    In *theory* i like the concept of Desktop Connector. And it would help with a bunch of things. But my apprehension about file synchers certainly isnt limited to Autodesk (who makes most of my favorite apps). Even Sharefile doesnt get to sync here, out of fear of security.

    BIM360 though, easiest decision to spend money that ive made. Every active project we have is on 360. And if a consultant isnt on it, we push them on to it.

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