Building Content – What Tools are you Using (part 2!)
Before I had gone on the road for a marathon 2 weeks of meetings and on-site appearances at Clients’ offices, I had left you with this thought on the BCS blog: What tools (aside from your BIM authoring tools) do you use for editing or manipulating your BIM Content? These discussions are always so much more fun, when there is user participation. You didn’t disappoint!
To start, there were some responses that were “BIM Authoring tool add-ins,” but a decent list none-the-less:
Fabio Roberti (Architect at Fosters+Partners), sent in a list of add-ins he uses for processing content on the fly: KiwiCodes Bonus Tools / Family Type Renamer, Family Tracker (I like this one since it keeps tabs on naughty users!) and AGACAD’s Smart Browser Manage. I liked hearing about how Fabio leverages Smart Browser Manage to force load data en-masse, to the content in his projects, and to compare it against the library. Fabio is also making use of Content Studio for managing his content library. Thanks for sending in the info and screenshots!
Andrew Dwight reached out to me (from AADBuild, in Australia), and hit me with a curve ball: The “addin” he likes best, is PlusSpec. I had to go take a peek at it, and it’s an interesting looking add-in – for Sketchup. Not only that, they have some pretty impressive looking work, on their site. It puts pre-configured shapes and solids, under the faces of the Sketchup Model, turning it in to a model that can be sectioned and detailed…. And exported to IFC. I sure hope we get a Plus Spec user to attend BCS, that’s a hell of a conversation I want to have! Thanks for sending that, Andrew. I hadn’t seen it until your email!
When Darren Carver (of FK Construction Ltd) replied on LinkedIn, he started getting at a little more of what i was hoping for: He is using Dynamo (which is very much “considered” a Revit add-in) to write to Excel and MySQL, which they have tied to Procurement schedules and ordering templates, that can be updated without going in to Revit (assuming someone has updated the Revit bits). They use this for material purchasing, and also for tracking on site (when a spreadsheet is updated by the site team), helping them keep track of when things are delivered.
Darren’s last point reminds me of an experiment I did with BIM content once… And Barcodes. Did you know “Barcode” is just a Font? For me, that makes me like Barcode a little more than QR codes, even though they don’t have the sexiness factor as they are thirty or more years old. But yes, Barcodes-in-your-BIM becomes an interesting way to manipulate BIM data in Content, when you don’t have a machine that can open Revit. In the particular experiment I did a few years ago? The barcodes were writing to cells in a shared Google Doc, which was being live-read at someones desk back in the office. I don’t recommend trying it, but it was fun to see.
My own personal list included Powershell, Excel, NotePad++, and a few others. The sort of automation tasks I’m intrigued by these days, are the ones necessary for MIGRATING content from one standard to another, or one library to another, or one Parameter Data File to another. Our very own Randall Steven’s company Archvision, has a great library of RPC, which it uses from its own browser: Dashboard. That’s perfect, if you don’t mind using their on-the-fly naming conventions for the on-the-fly generated RFA components. If you don’t like it, however, you can ghetto-hack the original Revit Batch Upgrader, to plop you out a list of *.RPC files, in a directory, after the painstaking effort of downloading all of the RPC files you are on subscription for.
All you have to do now? Open every single RFA and repath the RPC in the Family Parameters dialogue …. Unless you have another hack with a non-BIM-tool, that will let you work around that too? =) Keep the list coming. Where are the Mail-Merge, Excel, Access, Dynamo, gH, HTML abusers hiding? I know you are out there!