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Friday, May 8, 2009

RDB Link Tool for Revit Family -Autodesk Labs Utilities

RDB Link Tool for Revit Family

Technology Preview (COMING SOON)

Overview
The RDBLink tool allows the user to export data from the elements in a Revit project and maintain relationships against data that exists outside of Revit. The tool allows for both import and export of the project data and will allow the user to make changes on the database side that affect the data within the project once imported. Also, during subsequent exports of the data to the same database, only data from the project will be affected, so any new fields or tables added to the database for your own purposes will remain intact along side the newly exported data. The RDBLink import tool provides a grid view of the data to allow the user to make any final edits before import. This grid control also allows the user to create Revit Shared Parameters which will add new fields for those parameters to the database in the related tables. Changes to these new fields within the database will update these Revit Shared Parameters upon future imports.

Usage

Create ODBC Connection (DSN - Data Source Name)

  1. Launch the Windows Data Sources (ODBC) screen from the Start menu > Programs > Administrative Tools section
  2. On the ODBC Data Source Administrator, select either User DSN or System DSN to create a new data source name for your database to use with RDB Link
  3. Click the Add button to display the Create New Data Source screen and select one of the following:
    • Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb) if you want to work with an Access database
      • Specify the Data Source Name of your choosing
      • Click the Select button to pick an existing Access database or Create button to create a new one
    • SQL Server or SQL Native Client if you want to work with an SQL Server 2008 (either a full installation or the Express version)
      • Fill out the information appropriate to your instance of SQL Server

Initiate RDB Link:

  1. Click the Tools menu and then select External Tools to display RDB Link on the menu fly out to the right
  2. Click the RDB Link menu item to display the RDB Link screen
  3. To export data out from the project, click the Export into ODBC Database button
    • This will display the Microsoft Windows Select Data Source screen
    • Click the appropriate Data Source tab and locate the Data Source Name you created which is set up to connect to an existing Microsoft Access or SQL Server database
    • If you picked an Access database DSN, you will get a Login screen asking for a name and password which can be left blank if you have not specified a user name password for your database
    • A progress meter will appear while outputting the Revit project data to your database
  4. To import data from an existing database, click the Edit and Import from ODBC Database button
    • This will display the Microsoft Windows Select Data Source screen
    • Click the appropriate Data Source tab and locate the Data Source Name you created which will connect to your existing Microsoft Access or SQL Server database
    • The Edit Database Before Import screen should appear allowing you to select any existing table from the database and edit its data in the grid if needed
    • Some information is read only and will be disabled, and some tables will allow you to add new data when appropriate while others will not
    • The Custom Parameters menu will allow you to add new Revit Shared Parameters to the selected table
    • When the data is ready for import, click the OK button to begin and a progress meter will appear while importing the data into your Revit project
    • After import an html page will be displayed showing the results of the import process

Workflows in RDB Link:

  1. Create a relational database in an existing MS Access or MS SQL Server format from a Revit project.
    • The database must already exist and have a DSN properly set up for connecting to it
    • The Access or SQL Server database must allow for reading, writing, and table creation
  2. Update an existing relational database from a Revit project after changes have been made to both the project and the external database.
    • Subsequent exporting to the same database from a Revit project will overwrite the same data from the same tables; however, any new fields or tables created by the user in the database will remain intact and unchanged
    • Each table’s ID field is used to locate the same records for update when exporting to the same database which allows any new fields added by the user to remain intact and the data to remain linked to the same record (via ID) even after subsequent exports
    • Note that care should be taken to only export to the same database originally used with the same project; otherwise, unpredictable results will occur
  3. Update a Revit project with changes made from an external database or edited directly during import.
    • Updates the appropriate Revit elements with the changes made to the database
    • The import grid view allows changing of data immediately before import if desired
    • Use Ctrl+0 to set a cell value to empty in the grid view
    • It is not possible to delete, cut or modify an entire record (via copy & paste) if the corresponding element exists in Revit
    • Those tables that do allow creation of new types will have a new row record available. When filled out, the ID will display a negative value which will be converted to a valid element ID after the import process if all required data was properly filled out
    • The Custom Parameters menu will allow you to create Shared Parameters for your project. Click the Add button and specify the Name, Group, and Type then select the Categories it will belong to. All selected Categories that currently have a database table will automatically have the new parameter appended as a field to the table. This parameter data may then be edited in the drawing or the database and updated accordingly via an import or export as needed.
    • Note that care should be taken to only import from the same database originally exported to for a given project; otherwise, unpredictable results will occur

The technology preview version will expire and no longer run after September 30, 2009.


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Added: May 6, 2009 // more

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Installation
To install RDBLink, run the installation program. The installation will ask for which installed Revit platforms you wish to activate RDBLink for. The appropriate Revit.ini will be updated to add an RDB Link menu option to the External Tools without affecting any other external tools you may already have defined. The uninstall for RDBLink will remove itself from the Revit.ini and adjust the remaining external tools accordingly so that they continue to function properly.

Supported Applications

  • Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010
  • Autodesk Revit Structure 2010
  • Autodesk Revit MEP 2010

Supported database platforms

  • Supported databases when running under 32 bit: MS Access 2003/2007 and SQL Server 2005/2008.
  • Supported databases when running under 64 bit: SQL Server 2005/2008.

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