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Using plant database on network

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I have been trying to get a plant database set up for our office but having a lot of trouble. Using the "Choose VW Plants" command I can select our workgroup folder and can add plants into the database using "VW Plant Database". The problem is when I try to assign data to a plant using "Get Plant Data" in the "Edit Plant Definition" Pane my new plants are not there.

The file seems to keep accessing the default database, not our workgroup.

What am I missing here?

I am using VW 2008 SP1 on a PowerPC G5.

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You have to export any modified/added plants to the FileMaker database to the text files used for the plant database interface you see inside VectorWorks (the long list)

In addition, make sure you have pointed your User Folder to the location of the file maker database. You can do this under the User Folder tab of VectorWorks Preferences

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Say I am adding one tree to my database. I obviously want it to be in the plant list "trees". Does this mean I need to add that tree to the database, then conduct a search for all trees, make a plant list for that data called "trees" replacing the old one?

I was going to try this but I cannot figure out how to do a search for "trees" in the VW plants program. The only options I have when using the Find Mode are VW Latin Name, VW Common Name, VW Height, and VW Spread. VW Category is there but I am unable to use that field.

Also, I added a new plant list for the one tree I have added so far. I gave the list a unique name. The list was made in my user folder, not the workgroup folder as I had hoped. How do I direct the database program to make plant lists in a defined workgroup folder?

I really don't know what you mean when you say "make sure you have pointed your User Folder to the location of the file maker database." In VW preferences I have a workgroup location designated. It is working for things like walls and textures as intended.

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You can open the "trees" data file and add the new tree there. It is plain text.

On the folder location I'm afraid I can't help. At present (and without trying) I have something like 6 versions of the so-called database (ie text files) on my single computer with one user. They proliferate like mad bunnies and I'm not sure how one can tell which data set the Plant Tool is supposed to use.

Well, the tool is a total disaster, so I'm not missing much.

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I should not be here

Say I am adding one tree to my database. I obviously want it to be in the plant list "trees". Does this mean I need to add that tree to the database, then conduct a search for all trees, make a plant list for that data called "trees" replacing the old one?[/Quote]

In Vectorworks itself. In your Menus across the top - File Edit View Etc - In Landmark we have a Landmark menu group - so where ever you select VW Plants Database from there should be under it - Choose Vectorworks Plants - I think it is here you set up your Workgroup Folder.

In the Plant Database add the tree - I then use the Data Layout - click the little Find button up the top and you should have a blank form - in Broad Category Click Tree or whatever you have defined the plant as in Broad Catagory - this is where the name of the text files are defined then click the other Find button about third of the way down the window on the left hand side.

Then File/Create Vectorworks Plant List and the new text file will be sent to your User Folder or Workgroup Folder.

I do not use Workgroups so I have not tried this.

Petri is right to a degree - the issue I think is that there is not enough clear information on how to use the tool.

I think VW searches through the Users folders and then maybe the Workgroup folders and then the Application Folders and if it has not been set up properly who knows what it finds - so some testing is required.

Again I do not use a Workgroup but would seem that should be how it works

So we stumble along

Edited by Katie

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I finally got it squared away with the help of Judah. He sent me an email response as follows:

Hey Eric,

Here is some more information that I hope helps clear things up.

One of the main purposes of the plant database is gathering of botanical information for your projects. Maintaining plant data was difficult in previous versions. Especially features like importing and searching. The move to an external database program was made to overcome these limitations.

Due to certain limitations in the runtime version of FileMaker,

VectorWorks could not talk directly to the database, thus creating the need for the plant list files. VectorWorks ships with a sample set of plant lists, based on plant category. This was done to 1) show the usage of the plant lists and their flexibility and 2) in order to not just ship one list with all the plants in it. While a file with all the shipping plants is also included, it does take time to load, and also defeats the purpose of having separate lists. We wanted to make finding the plants you want for your project easier, and this can be done in the database, where sophisticated search tools are available. By having only the subset of plants you need readily available in one file, we hoped to ease the process of finding that information in VectorWorks itself.

The shipping plant list files do not automatically regenerate. Adding a file to the database does not update those files. There have been several questions about this, and a future version could add a feature to regenerate these files upon request.

I think one of the confusing issues is the layout called "Plant List." That was probably a poor choice of names in hindsight. You can be in any of the layouts (Plant Data, Australian Plant Data etc...) to generate a list. The list is generated based on the current set of records, either all of them or more typically the results of a search operation. However many plants or currently being show will go into the list. The number of plants in the current set can be seen on the Status Area on the left. If you do not currently see in, choose View | Status Area from the menu to

see it.

You are having problems with searching because you are in the "Plant List" view, which you do not need to be in. That form was creating for simple straight viewing of data, so you can scroll through many records at once in a simple format. The Category field is set as read only and this is a bug. It will be fixed in a later version. This is why you can not edit nor search from it. Switch to the "Plant Data" form and you can search on any field.

When Plant List files are created, they are created in the Plant

Database folder from where the database is running. You can check this by choosing File | Explore Plant Lists. If files are being created in you user folder, then that is where you are running the database from. A quick check using the Explore command can verify this. You can copy the plant list files from one folder to another (for example your workgroup folder). Be aware though that the application will first find the file in your user folder, and only then in the workgroup folder, so if you have two files with the same name, VectorWorks will find the user folder one first, then workgroup ones, and finally the application folder. You can check where VectorWorks is reading a specific file be entering the Get Plant Data dialog, highlighting your selected plant list, and clicking the Explore button. This will open Explorer or Finder to the specific folder that the selected file was loaded form.

I hope all this helps out. If you any further questions, comments or suggestions, just drop a line.

Judah Warshaw

Nemetschek North America

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One other quick note:

When using the "Choose VW Plants" dialog, selecting the Workgroup Folders radio button is not enough. You must also click on the folder in the list, even if there is only one. Seems obvious but I didn't get it at first. At one point I had two workgroup folders in the list as an experiment and it dawned on me that you have to pick one (even when there is only one to pick).

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And mate once you have it set up it works really well - at that level the Plant tool has become a credit to NNA.

I have even been able to have a Plant in an existing drawing; go into the database and modify some information for that plant; update the text file and then update that Plant in the current drawing

The Plant Tool is great now but it takes real effort to learn how it all works.

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I finally got it squared away with the help of Judah. He sent me an email response as follows:

[snip]

Due to certain limitations in the runtime version of FileMaker,

VectorWorks could not talk directly to the database, thus creating the need for the plant list files.

VW does not have SQL so even if the runtime version of FMP would not support direct talking (full version does), VW does not talk at all.

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