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Thread: BIM 360 Revit Links

  1. #21
    Autodesk Kyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPS_DWarren View Post
    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?).
    You are correct that the Design Collaboration module was initially designed around the Controlled Worksharing workflow, but that is not the only goal we seek to accomplish with the Design Collaboration module. In addition:


    1. A common theme we heard time and again in our research with multi-firm Project Teams was the inaccessibility of the "alphabet soup" file naming schemes often employed on Projects, in combination with super-deep folder structures. For project stakeholders that don't live in the authoring tools, it can be opaque enough that they can't self-serve the BIM data, and instead fail to PDF sets + looking over the shoulder of authoring tool users.

      This lead to the information architecture approach we've taken with Design Collaboration, which demotes file names and folders as a primary navigation construct, and uses the Timeline, and Sets in combination with the "Project Model" view (more on that later) as a navigation construct. Since Sets are user-defined, and less likely to fall into the depths of 7-level file naming prefixes, the goal was to make the data more accessible to more project members.

      Same thing goes for the Timeline view, which seeks to make it easy to view Packages or Models across the Project history, without requiring the user to navigate Folder structures and version hostories.

      If they really want to dive into the weeds of the project data structure they can use Document Management for that purpose.
    2. The other big goal we have is to just make it easy to view the entire Project. Typically this requires creating a special View in the Revit file, making all the links visible, and then making sure that View is published. The resulting workflow requires the user to navigate the folder structure, find the right Host model that contains this special view, and then select it after opening that Model for viewing (not typically the default).

      So we built the Project Model view, which is based on automatically generated Views for each model, which are then aggregated together into a "Navisworks view" style.

      This actually required us to implement some substantial improvements to large-model scalability in our web viewer to make it work.

      Once everything was aggregated together, we then improved the navigation experience to allow the easy isolation of Levels, toggling of Teams' Models, etc.


    So those are the two key objectives we had, which are differentiated from the Document Management experience.

    Like a lot of things - live-linking vs. controlled worksharing, etc - it's not a requirement to use it. Teams can choose whether or not it's best for them.

    Cheers,
    Kyle

  2. #22
    Forum Addict willsud's Avatar
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    Wow, what a fantastic thread, thank you all

    Definitely qualifies as CPD

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    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.
    Push? Or shove? o_0

  4. #24
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    LOL, i meant "push the models on to it, instead of Desktop Connector," but yeah... Id also prefer to SHOVE the consultant on to BIM360, or SHOVE them off the Project Team. Hahaha!

  5. #25
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    Kyle - Thanks so much for the insight... I've realized I've lost sight of a lot of the other functionality of the platform as it has developed. Hypermodel viewing, version comparisons, model visualization, etc... I've clearly let the original function define the overall value of the tool.

    Also, I should note, I completely forgot about creating "design issues" but that's not necessarily a BIM 360 Design Module specific component. I'm trying demonstrate the "design issues" mechanism as a great QC/QA & design coordination too to my teams.

    So, clearly, I've lost sight of the platform's values as it has evolved over time (and it hasn't been a lot of time because BIM 360 is in a consistent state of evolution). Thank for helping broaden my perspective.

  6. #26
    Autodesk Kyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPS_DWarren View Post
    Kyle - Thanks so much for the insight... I've realized I've lost sight of a lot of the other functionality of the platform as it has developed. Hypermodel viewing, version comparisons, model visualization, etc... I've clearly let the original function define the overall value of the tool.

    Also, I should note, I completely forgot about creating "design issues" but that's not necessarily a BIM 360 Design Module specific component. I'm trying demonstrate the "design issues" mechanism as a great QC/QA & design coordination too to my teams.

    So, clearly, I've lost sight of the platform's values as it has evolved over time (and it hasn't been a lot of time because BIM 360 is in a consistent state of evolution). Thank for helping broaden my perspective.
    No sweat man. I'm glad to help provide some context and background for what we built in the Design Collaboration module. We took a number of risks in the interaction models we built, so it's not surprising to see

    I'm also glad to answer any additional outstanding questions on the original linking topic.

    Cheers,
    Kyle
    Last edited by Kyle; April 14th, 2020 at 05:21 PM.

  7.    #27
    Senior Member Alex Page's Avatar
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    Thanks Kyle: Its always a pleasure to hear from Autodesk team members about reasons behind the logic steps made.

    Regarding Desktop connector - we find there are a couple of major disconnects (you mentioned 1. already):
    1. When you publish your model , non-Revit cloud models (i.e. ones that reside within Desktop Connector) are not displayed – so it makes your published models basically, well, hopeless for any BIM360 purpose.
    2. As well as the above (which is for our team the show-stopper) there really needs to be an option within Desktop connector to always keep files synced – sort of like sharepoint where you can select a directory and tick “Always keep on this device”. The only option is to sync manually which is time consuming and also confusing for end users

    Because of these disconnects, desktop connector for linking in Revit non-cloud models from our point of view is not fit-for-purpose, and we have to manually make other consultants Revit models cloudbased.

  8.    #28
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    Alex, hoping the following is helpful:

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Page View Post
    Regarding Desktop connector - we find there are a couple of major disconnects (you mentioned 1. already):
    1. When you publish your model , non-Revit cloud models (i.e. ones that reside within Desktop Connector) are not displayed – so it makes your published models basically, well, hopeless for any BIM360 purpose.
    You're using the term publish (which is a specific workflow in BIM 360 related to Workshared Cloud Models) in an interesting manner. Do you mean you're working on a Revit file locally, then uploading a copy of that file to BIM 360 via the ADC (c:\BIM360\)? In this case yes, you're not going to be able to link to the file via Revit.

    Also, the ADC is a link to a local cache folder and the cloud, files uploaded to via the ADC windows file location are synced to the cloud. There was a time you could accidently put a central file there (whoops) and then you were working in a central file that was being copied to the cloud (along with the backup and support folders) but i think that has been resolved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Page View Post
    2. As well as the above (which is for our team the show-stopper) there really needs to be an option within Desktop connector to always keep files synced – sort of like sharepoint where you can select a directory and tick “Always keep on this device”. The only option is to sync manually which is time consuming and also confusing for end users

    Because of these disconnects, desktop connector for linking in Revit non-cloud models from our point of view is not fit-for-purpose, and we have to manually make other consultants Revit models cloudbased.
    So from my observations (and please, Kyle, set me straight here) The ADC is sort of like an on-demand syncing tool. You probably don't want the files hosted in the local cache of the ADC updated ALL THE TIME. For example, If a CAD file is uploaded to BIM 360 and I link to it, then every time Revit reloads that CAD file you will see the ADC update the CAD file with any changes. Additionally, if you open the CAD file via AutoCAD, ADC will download any changes sense it was last opened. It however (to my understanding) won't update a CAD file just because there's been a change.

    Now, there was a serious issue where two users could be in the same CAD file at the same time. Then you're in a "He whom saves last wins" environment, but I think ADSK sorted that out.

    Hope this helps - if it doesn't i apologize for any added confusion.

  9.    #29
    Senior Member Alex Page's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input: What I meant is that we are in BIM360 but outside teams arent so when they issue us new models we put them into desktop connector.
    When we publish from BIM360 none of those models are show in the published 3d or documentation. Therefore instead of using desktop connector we have to open their models, and collaborate them onto BIM360.
    We were hopeing that we didn't need to do that since it is timeconsuming (lots of models being updated all the time)

  10.    #30
    Administrator Twiceroadsfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twiceroadsfool View Post
    A number of reasons:

    1. Im generally not a fan of apps putting files on my machine, that other people are creating and modifying. BIM360 on the whole (with RCW) is a bit of an exception, but you wont find Dropbox Sync, Box Sync, One Drive, or ShareFile Sync, running on my machines. We have Sharefile, and i use it as a manual upload/download apparatus. Even our Library mirrors that happen through Px Tools, are one way (Server to mchine) and nothing ever gets pushed uphill. IT security is harder and harder, these days. I dont need tons of applications copying crap on and off my machine, so i have to worry about "them" being secure enough to prevent an incident.

    2. Autodesk cant get a grip on how to manage application installations for enterprise customers, and the Desktop Connector is a Disaster, as far as this is concerned. As Scott mentioned, the DC needs updates a LOT. And it doesnt hesitate to TELL USERS that they need an update. Ive tried providing feedback to Autodesk MANY TIMES over the last decade, about how Installations and App Management really needs to work, but suffice it to say either: They dont listen, or They dont agree with me. Its not good form to give a user a notification that they need to (or should) update an app, when it isnt in their power to do so, in many organizations. In those cases, at the IT groups discretion, the IT GROUP ONLY should get a notification about an update, and they should take it from there.

    Shoving a notice in users faces, puts undo burden and pressure on the IT staff. Its also arrogant as ****. It is tantamount to the software manufacturer assuming we all sit around all day, just waiting for there to be a critical update to the platform, that needs to be installed. Thats ridiculous.

    3. Its solving a very little problem, that we (my teams) dont encounter often. The only function of the DC is to solve the issue of syncing: Non workshared, non BIM360 based files, that we all need to link in to our common Revit Files. Thats basically: Keynotes, Assembly Codes, Shared Parameters, Material Libraries, non Workshared (or non BIM360) Revit Models, and CAD Files. So lets break that down:

    Keynotes- Revolution Design has a tool to handle this, and its not 465 ways of a pain in the ass.

    Assembly Codes, Shared Parameters, Material Libraries- All three of these, im okay with not being real time updates between everyone. If i DID care, i would have these all one way sync through our own appliance.

    non Workshared (or non BIM360) Revit Models- Just... no. If they are important, and are part of the Project, they are on BIM360. If thats an issue for a Consultant, ill put them on BIM 360 for them. This is a stupid probem.

    CAD Files-Generally, we dont rely on them, period. Our current project actually has a bunch of CAD files, because of coordinating things with Subcontractors drawings, for Submittals. But our case is pretty uniquen in that sense, as we are all fully distributed remote, and its atypical coordination to be doing. That said, we still dont bother with DC. The files dont change that often, and we can all assign a common drive letter to a folder of our choosing, and work that way.

    Even if i was still in Architecture or Engineering, and i had a "NEED" for a CAD file (and i quoted NEED intentionally), i would defer to common drive letter to local repo, and link it or repath it that way.

    Dont get me wrong: I love working on BIM360. But the only way Desktop Connector is ending up on my machine, is if someone steals my machine, reformats it, and puts DC on it after stealing it.
    So, since this thread is still active, and i was re-reading it today, i thought i would quote my own post up above, to reflect an update to my stance on this:

    One of our clients uses Desktop Connector, in their environment. Since we are handling all of their Software Deployments and updates, i had to get it prepped, installed, and test it out on their systems. Also, while troubleshooting another issue with BIM 360 for a different client (which turned out to not be related to BIM 360 at all, but to a 3rd party addin), Melissa (mthiessens) installed DC on her Parallax machine, to rule out that difference (having DC vs not having DC) as a source of the issue. Again, in that scenario it was a third party product that was causing the issues.

    But all that to say: Desktop Connect (currently) seems to be way more straightforward, and isnt shoving a ton of prompts about updates at me, the way i remember it being when i first heard about it and tried it.My original disdain for it may have also been compounded by trying it and the Desktop App (which i still vehemently refuse to install) at the same time, so theres a distinct possibility i was confusing which updates were wanted by which of the two apps.

    The DC seems to be pretty chill. Even though i generally dont like having apps that auto-sync files to my machine from other sources (No box sync, no drop box, no sharefile sync, etc), i might waver on this and start using DC. It would help with some subcontractor work, and we need it for some client stuff, for testing, at the moment.

    So.... i completely changed my mind, from the previous post.

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