Sunday, July 29, 2007

Type Catalogs

As some of you might be aware, when creating Revit families you can also author a type catalog to go with your family. Type Catalogs are extremely useful if you are going to have any sort of parametric family that is going to have many types. My general rule of thumb is if you need six or more types, then you need a catalog (I confess that I learned this from someone else somewhere along the way, JB, PR & others). If you want to know how to format your own basic type catalog in Revit just go the Revit Help and do a search for "Type Catalog", I promise you'll find something. In any case, while the help instructions get you started, they don't really cover everything in detail. For instance, it spells out the basic "unit" types allowed, but in their own example you can an "other" column created, which allows them to assign text strings to the "Model" parameter of their example. What I've been working on required the use of "Yes/No" parameters in the family type, furthermore, I wanted to specify the condition of the "Yes/No" in my catalog. I started with the other, and assuming that Revit simply would interpert text, I inserted Yes or No. Needless to say (otherwise I wouldn't be writing, ;) ) it wasn't that simple. When I went to load my 40 some odd types, I got 40 some odd warning messages referring to my Yes/No parameter.... hmmmmm. Well first, since Revit is always so case sensitive I changed all my "Yes" and "No"s to "yes" and "no", same problem... Then I sat back and said, hmmmmmmmmm, Revit is a computer program, and from working with Yes/No parameters in conditional formulas, I know that its really a binary switch (hang on there, I know I'm delving into compturese....), which really means, even though in a schedule Yes/No's show as "Yes" or "No" as far as the computer & Revit are concerned, its really, true or false and if its really true or false, that means its a "0" or "1", just like computer programming. Soooooo, I decided to put 0's and 1's into my Type Catalog. Bang!! It worked perfectly! My types came in without any warnings, and the Yes/No parameter was "thrown" correctly, ie Yes or No where needed. This little un-documented bit, really makes me wonder what other little things are hiding, hidden under the veil of more typical computer programming, rather then a more "user friendly" format.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Backups in my Journals! What!!!

So, a new feature that some people may not be aware of in Revit 2008 (supposedly its published somewhere, but I don't remeber reading it). I found this quite accidently when I was messing around with journal files for something else. In the journals folder I found all sorts of rfa and rvt files. At first I thought, maybe Revit creates a Revit file when it crashes and creates a dump file, however that didn't really make very much sense. An inquiry to my contacts at Autodesk revealed the truth. Revit now creates backup files under the journals directory in c:\program files\revit 2008\journals, these backup files are only created when you're working on a file located on a network share or drive. As you can see from my screen shot, I do a great deal of working on networked based files! I will add that this new behavior is not applied to files with worksharing enabled, so no worries about all sorts of duplicate copies of your local or central files being created. That said none of your families are going to have worksets, and in my expereince I'm always working with various experimental files that are not worksetted too, so you may want to keep an eye on this directory. My "problem" with this new behavior is further compounded because I use a piece of software called I-Share Mobliti, its a really great tool in that it essentially replicated (and manages) network resources to my local harddrive. Unlike other tools out there, this tool actually creates a virtual network, so as far as my computer is concerned, I'm always working on the network. This, however creates a problem for me, since my computer thinks I'm on the network, Revit thinks I'm on the network, thus creating all sorts of back-up files. At this time, there is no way to modiy this built in behavior, I wish there were some sort of tweak for the ini that would at least allow you to re-path the directory, however for the moment we're all stuck.