Thursday, December 10, 2009

Server Directories

Settings Directory (I use the network Drive Letter R)
  •  ARCH #### - (Identify each version separatly 2008,2009,2010, etc.   example ARCH 2010)
    • AEC Details – (out of box Detail Component Manager - Keyontes)
    • Data Links – dbconnect udl link storage
    • Layers – Display Management System & Layer Standard
    • Library – Drawing Content Files and Tool Source Files
      • CAD Management – CAD Manager Storage and Testing
        • Master Catalog Library – Main CBL File
          • Images – Content Browser Created
          • Palettes – Content Browser Created
          • Resource – Content DWG source files
      • AEC Content & Styles – Default Installation Folder
      • Custom – Custom Tool Images & Program Content
      • Education – Office Education Documents & Spreadsheets
      • Filters – Layer Filters & Custom Content Code
      • Styles – Base Development Styles (Custom to Office)
      • Tool Catalogs – Default Installation Folder
      • Workspaces – User Specific Interface Setting Folders of Individual User Names (as logon, or machine)
    • Program
      • Dictionary - Base Dictionary & Custom Dictionaries
      • Fonts – All Office fonts (copy of Windows Font Directory)
      • Plot Styles – Default Installation Folder
      • Plotters – Default Installation Folder
      • Profiles – Exported User Profile Settings
      • Support – Default Installation Folder
      • User Defined – User CUI Files, PGP Settings, VBA, etc.  Folders of Individual User Names (as logon, or machine make this the same as workspace folder)
    • Standard Tools – Published, Read-Only, Office Tool Catalogs (version specific)
    • File Templates – Global Office File Templates
    • Templates – Default Installation Folder
    • Project Templates – Office Project Templates (Project Navigator)

  •  Shared – These are files that are shared between versions.

    • TIP: do not set these directories in the deployment, set them in a base profile, and import at first run. Do not allow install program to write to these directories, but don’t make read only directory permissions.

    • Content Browser – Published, Read Only, Office Tool Catalogs
      • Catalog Library
        • Images – Content Browser Created
        • Palettes – Content Browser Created
        • Resource – Content DWG source files
    • Details & Keynoting – Office Detail Component DB, Keynote DB
      • Detail Components Database – Modified Copy, Office Specific
      • Keynotes Database – Modified Copy, Office Specific
      • Materials Database – MS Access Project Material Keynotes
      • Specifications Database – MS Word docs, XL Spread sheets, MS Access Databases (set up by Masterspec Division)
    • Manufacturer Libraries – Downloaded Manuf. Drawing Files
    • RPC Content – RPC Content Folder
    • Standard Tools – Published, Read-Only, Office Tool Catalogs
    • Textures – Default Installation Folder
    • Texture Maps – Office Specific Textures & Materials
      • Rendering
        • Bump
        • Cutout
        • Management
        • IES Lighting

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Program setup for a Multi-Seat Office Platform

To install the software to multiple computers with the same basic configuration I highly recommend setting up a network deployment that can be stored on a server directory. I have a network directory called IT that I store all my software deployments in. Under this directory each software package is stored in a folder of the same name. I set up limited access with only administrative privileges to the folder to prevent users from accessing the deployments.

On a Windows Domain that uses Active Directory, (which is what I recommend) it is very easy to control licensing and network access. If this is not available, such as at personal home computer, I recommend having an external drive mapped as though it was a network drive so that the deployment may be stored on the external. This drive can then be locked up in a fire proof safe and protected. I don’t recommend running the software off the drive, or leaving it connected to the computer. This will prevent contamination of viruses, malware, and such from attacking the software deployments. But, having the software on an accessible external gives easy access to repair the installation should the need arise, and it protects the software should anything ever happen to the computer.

Prior to the process of creating a ACA (AutoCAD Architecture) deployment, I first set up all directories that will store necessary information to allow the program to run from a server environment. Now every office environment is different so the way directories are set up may be somewhat different from one office to another. The way I set things up is a little different, but it works. I have been able to successfully repeat this setup in several different architectural firms tailoring it specifically to the way each firm wants to work. This is important, but the big difference is that as a single CAD Manager, I can easily maintain multiple versions in the same office, and in the event of needing to reinstall, repair, or remove the software, it does not affect any of the other users or disrupt work flow.

On my network server, I have a primary directory called Settings, and another called Projects. Within each of these directories I have all my “CAD stuff”. Obviously my projects folder is where I store all of the project files. The other is where I store my ACA program settings. These are the directories that otherwise would be installed under the PROGRAM FILES, or DOCUMENTS and SETTINGS directories within windows. There is plenty of debate as to why the change from the way the program installs, and in my mind, there is plenty of heartache to avoid by doing it this way. I once was an advocate to keep everything exactly the way ACA installs. What broke me from thinking this way was I was in an office with 30 seats of ACA. I had a user that accidently clicked a link in an email and activated a worm on the network. I was able to alleviate the problem and get rid of the worm, but his computer had to have a large portion of the software reinstalled. At the time, I thought nothing of it. I ran the deployment, and installed the ACA back to his computer. What I didn’t realize is that when the installer says that the installation is unconditional it means “Un-Conditional!” It reset the entire program setup for every user in the office. I wasn’t aware of the issue until the next day, when every one started up ACA. This doesn’t seem like a big deal except that all the templates, macros, VBA modules, CUI files, profiles, and any customized user commands that users had created for themselves were gone. This was nearly 2 years worth of development. Some of which I had backups of, but much of the independent users files I did not. We were running all the shared program content from our server which is what our reseller had recommended. I had tailored the program to do specific tasks for us in our daily routine, some of which I was able to restore, but there was that percentage that I was not. Basically, nothing was ever the same after that. To make a long story short, I changed my thinking and developed a new settings procedure. I have now been able to test this setup in 2 different offices with not one problem. It makes life for a CAD Manager much less stressful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Topics to be Covered in AutoCAD Architecture 2008, 2009, 2010

These topics will not necessarily be covered in this order, but they will be covered in depth.

  1. Program setup for a Multi-Seat Office Platfrom.
  2. Server Directory Setup.
  3. Tool Catalog Creation, Setup, and Publishing.
  4. Project Management for Multi-Discipline Projects.
  5. Project Flow using Project Navigator.
  6. Intra-Office Communication for Project Consistencies.
  7. Database driven, Keynotes, Drawing Notes, and Specification Linking.
  8. Drawing Extraction from BIM Models - Process & Philosophy.
  9. Drawing Sheet Management.
  10. Construction Management & Construction Administration with a BIM Model