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Kevin McAllister

Cloud Services - I thought I'd give it another try

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Yesterday (yeah, not great timing :$) I set out to try Cloud Services again. Overall the experience was pretty positive and I'm going to keep pushing forward to get it to work for me. Here are a few things that came up as part of the process.....

1) I seem to now have both a Vectorworks Cloud Services folder in my home directory and within Dropbox because I set up the Dropbox option. Is it ok to just have one of these? Its not really clear from the documentation how to approach this and why I would want both.

2) The Vectorworks Cloud Services website needs some tweaking. In the image below you can see that the in process files across the top display poorly and the file name is unreadable. The file at the bottom with the 13 Sep 2016 15:49 date and time shows the original upload time and never updates to show the last modified time which isn't terribly helpful in a syncing scenario.

Screen Shot 2016-09-13 at 6.01.55 PM.png

3) I get facetted curves. I think this means the the 3d Conversion Resolution preference on the Cloud Services virtual machine is set to something lower than what I have mine set to...... Not sure how to work around this. All the settings for controlling facetted geometry really need to be unified somehow in a future version of VW (already a past wishlist item). Obviously I can't send a client a facetted elevation....Screen Shot 2016-09-13 at 7.23.25 PM.png

4) All of the drawing labels extend beyond the line in the drawing label. They look fine on my machine. This is either a cross platform translation issue (I'm Mac, Cloud Services is windows) or an issue where VW is unaware of the font spacing, not sure which.

Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 11.41.16 AM.png

5) Does VW Cloud Services always use the most recent version of VW to process or does it use the same version as the file it receives? My trial was done with VW 2016. At some point soon I'll try again with VW2017 :D

Any assistance with any or all of these would be greatly appreciated.

Kevin

PS. @JimWhave you thought about pinning the Forum's formatting bar to the bottom of a posting window instead of the top. As this post got longer I had to scroll up to access the smiley faces....

Edited by Kevin McAllister

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I tried my file again from a VW2017 file. I still have the same results for items 3 and 4. I also had issues with residual geometry remaining in a couple of viewports after processing. The solution was to re-upload the file with Save Viewport Cache turned off.

6) I think Vectorworks Cloud Services should save a version of my file with the rendered viewports as well as creating a PDF.

Kevin

 

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@JimWCloud Services needs to have a representative on these forums,especially now "Cloud Services are for everyone". Its been almost a week since my initial post..... :(

Kevin

 

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Make sure to talk with Tech Support directly too with things like this, I can help here on the board when I know the answers but the regular technical support channels are phone and email still. 

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Right, but I mean if it's a time sensitive issue Tech Support is a better choice. Currently they can't monitor the board and the most direct channel to the Cloud team is through them. This may change eventually but for now the forum doesn't funnel into their inbox.

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Sigh. The Cloud Services process is such an odd workflow. And the documentation could really use some work. It seems that "Cloud Publish" doesn't work with files in a Dropbox based folder. As part of the Cloud Publish workflow it asks to Save the file and when you do, Dropbox needs to sync. This causes a situation where the Publish job fails. None of this was mentioned in the documentation I read.

And I have no trouble with my fonts when processing regular jobs using the Dropbox based folder, but my fonts don't work with the regular Vectorworks Cloud Service folder...

Kevin

Edited by Kevin McAllister

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Hi Kevin,

I'll post answers to your different questions in separate posts, otherwise it will be too lengthy.

To your first question:

With Dropbox integration:

Limited access: A dedicated “Vectorworks Cloud Services” folder is created inside Dropbox > Apps folder. Vectorworks Cloud Services has access to only this folder. If you Delete this folder, the connection will break. If you rename it or move it anywhere within your Dropbox folder, the connection will be preserved.

Full access: Vectorworks Cloud Services has access to your entire Dropbox folder. Moving, deleting or renaming the Vectorworks Cloud Services folder doesn’t affect the integration at all. 

No matter what kind of Dropbox integration you choose, Vectorworks Cloud Services will always have access to all files that are within the folders with the provided access. If you want to provide Vectorworks Cloud Services with access to only specific files from your Dropbox folder, the Limited access integration is better for you. However, keep in mind that Dropbox does not currently allow app folders to be shared, contain shared folders, or be placed in shared folders. If you need to share the Vectorworks Cloud Services folder, use the full access option.

With or without Dropbox integration, the /Users/yourusername/Vectorworks Cloud Services folder is required for the Vectorworks Cloud Services desktop app to operate. The folder you select there will sync to a Vectorworks Cloud Services storage, where you have 20 GB storage limit if you are a Service Select member. This folder should not be confused with the Vectorworks Cloud Services folders inside Dropbox. The Vectorworks Cloud Services folder inside Dropbox syncs to your Dropbox cloud storage.

It is also not a good practice to choose the Vectorworks Cloud Services app inside your Dropbox as a folder to be used by the Vectorworks Cloud Services Desktop app (especially when you are also integrated with Dropbox), because you will be duplicating your files that are already on Dropbox storage into the Vectorworks Cloud Services cloud storage.

We realize that having more than one folder named the same way can be confusing. We will be considering changing this in the future. In the meantime, we will see how we could update our documentation to make this more clear with the current implementation.

I hope this helps,

Iskra

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To your second question (two questions here actually :)):

Part 1: I filed a request to our Portal engineer to see if there is anything that could be done to display the full file name, or at least truncate the file name in the middle, like iOS Nomad does currently.

Part 2: Are you uploading a newer version of the file via the desktop app? If yes, you would need to refresh the Portal page with the Browser refresh button in order to see the new file timestamp. Also, not sure if you might be experiencing this, but I should mention that if a .vwx file that you are modifying is still open in Vectorworks, it won't be uploaded automatically until the file is closed or until you click the Sync Files command from the app menu (or the Sync Files button on the Status dialog). If you upload the new file version via the Portal upload, the page should be refreshed automatically to display the new timestamp. 

Does this help?

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To your question number 3:

Go to https://cloud.vectorworks.net/accounts/profile/ and change the 3D conversion resolution to what your local preferred setting is. You navigate to this page on the Portal by clicking the Person icon in the top left corner > Manage account > Preferences. These settings are used when you use the Generate PDF command by clicking the link on the .vwx file thumbnail or by selecting the file from the Status dialog (local files tab) and clicking the Generate PDF button, or when the .vwx file is submitted for PDF generation by schedule.

If you are using the Cloud Publish command, there seems to be a bug, (or not implemented yet) that it is using the default Vectorworks server value. I filed a request to the engineer to see if this could potentially be implemented in a way that it is using your local Vectorworks setting, or at least using the one that you have set in your Vectorworks Cloud Preferences.

Edited by inikolova

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Hi Iskra,

Thank you for taking the time to give such detailed answers. They are very helpful in understanding the process of using Cloud Services.

4 hours ago, inikolova said:

We realize that having more than one folder named the same way can be confusing. We will be considering changing this in the future. In the meantime, we will see how we could update our documentation to make this more clear with the current implementation.

In my case it may make more sense to only use the Vectorworks Cloud Services Folder. An interim solution might be to have the installer give the folders different names (e.g.. Vectorworks Cloud Services Main and Vectorworks Cloud Services Dropbox).

Is there an order to which Cloud Services looks for fonts with respect to these separate folders? Or does it always look for the required fonts in the same folder as the Vectorworks Document?

 

3 hours ago, inikolova said:

Part 2: Are you uploading a newer version of the file via the desktop app? If yes, you would need to refresh the Portal page with the Browser refresh button in order to see the new file timestamp. Also, not sure if you might be experiencing this, but I should mention that if a .vwx file that you are modifying is still open in Vectorworks, it won't be uploaded automatically until the file is closed or until you click the Sync Files command from the app menu (or the Sync Files button on the Status dialog). If you upload the new file version via the Portal upload, the page should be refreshed automatically to display the new timestamp.

I think the issue is that you need to physically move the changed file for the Cloud Services timestamp to change. If you save over the file, the timestamp does not change because its not linked to the Modified time (Mac). Perhaps this is a limitation of Cloud Services.

2 hours ago, inikolova said:

Go to https://cloud.vectorworks.net/accounts/profile/ and change the 3D conversion resolution to what your local preferred setting is. You navigate to this page on the Portal by clicking the Person icon in the top left corner > Manage account > Preferences. These settings are used when you use the Generate PDF command by clicking the link on the .vwx file thumbnail or by selecting the file from the Status dialog (local files tab) and clicking the Generate PDF button, or when the .vwx file is submitted for PDF generation by schedule.

Perfect. I had no idea this existed.

It turns out that my item 4 above is likely related to a font issue. I have never been able to get Cloud Services to recognize any of my Mac fonts, even when they are OTF fonts.  I've tried a few times over the years always with the same result. Unfortunately this may be the deal breaker as all of my files use the same font.

Is there a way to get back the job status areas on the Vectorworks Cloud Services home page once you click to another part of the site (Resources for example). By clicking Home I get back to my stuff but the job status area is gone even though there are jobs still in process.

Many thanks,

Kevin

 

 

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Regarding your question number 4:

I did some testing, and it seems like when you have a drawing label using a custom font, and you open the file on another machine, which doesn't have this font, the custom font gets mapped to Arial by default. The same thing happens on the Cloud when the original font is not found. I can reproduce the issue with the text extending beyond the line when the font mapping occurs, so I believe this is bug specific to Vectorworks, not Cloud specific. I filed a bug for that to the Vectorworks team.

Edited by inikolova

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I wondered if there might be a bug in there somewhere. I think the length of the line may be linked to the "Update any plugins that need updating before Publishing" and whether it is checked or not.

It seems like the Cloud has issues when things are made "bold" in Vectorworks and a "bold" version of a font doesn't exist originally (eg. Vectorworks or the system is faking a bold font). The cloud seems to look for a font that doesn't exist. This may just be because the Cloud is PC based and I am Mac based.... not sure.

Kevin

 

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Regarding your question number 5:

Vectorworks Cloud Services always uses the latest version of Vectorworks, which is available to the public. We also keep the servers up to date with Vectorworks Service Packs. For example, in September we put Vectorworks 2017 on the cloud. When Vectorworks 2017 SP1 gets officially released, we update the cloud servers to use the Vectorworks 2017 SP1.

Vectorworks Cloud Services also works with older .vwx version files, so you do not have to save all your Vectorworks files in the latest format. However, to ensure you have the best experience, we recommend that your files be saved in the latest officially released version of Vectorworks. For example, workgroup referencing: When you open a 2016 file, containing references, in 2017, the reference breaks until you save the referenced file into 2017 file format. It works the same way on the cloud.

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On September 14, 2016 at 10:46 PM, Kevin McAllister said:

I also had issues with residual geometry remaining in a couple of viewports after processing. The solution was to re-upload the file with Save Viewport Cache turned off.

 

Can you find the pdf file and the corresponding .vwx file version where this happened and send them to me at inikolova@vectorworks.net? File version history is available on the web portal by clicking on the file. You will see the file history as displayed in the attached image. I'd like to investigate this further. This could potentially be a rendering bug.

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 6.16.35 PM.png

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On September 14, 2016 at 10:46 PM, Kevin McAllister said:

6) I think Vectorworks Cloud Services should save a version of my file with the rendered viewports as well as creating a PDF.

I added this to our feedback list for consideration as we make plans for future improvements.

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22 hours ago, Kevin McAllister said:

It seems that "Cloud Publish" doesn't work with files in a Dropbox based folder. As part of the Cloud Publish workflow it asks to Save the file and when you do, Dropbox needs to sync. This causes a situation where the Publish job fails.

 
 

I don't thing the job trully fails in this case. It uses the latest available version in Dropbox, unless this is the first time you are saving this file in Dropbox? I realize this might be an issue with bigger files, which take some time to sync. 

When you are submitting the Publish job for a file, which don't yet exist on Dropbox, the Publish dialog will highlight the items selected for publishing in red to raise a flag for you - see the attached image. In this case, you would be allowed to submit the publish request, but you will obviously not get the result you would expect. :-)

There are a few Dropbox Publish workflows that can be improved. We will keep those in mind as we plan for our next releases.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 6.58.10 PM.png

Edited by inikolova

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18 hours ago, Kevin McAllister said:

I think the issue is that you need to physically move the changed file for the Cloud Services timestamp to change. If you save over the file, the timestamp does not change because its not linked to the Modified time (Mac). Perhaps this is a limitation of Cloud Services.

 
 

Can you provide me with detailed steps of what you are doing? From my testing, it seems to work as designed. Here is what I do:

1. Create a new file in Vectorworks - > Save to my Vectorworks Cloud Services folder

2. The file appears as upload pending in the Vectorworks Cloud Services Desktop app Status dialog, because the file is still open in Vectorworks.

3. I click Sync Files button on the Status dialog and the file gets uploaded. 

4. I refresh the VCS Portal page, I see the new timestamp of when the file was last uploaded. 

Is this the workflow that you are referring to?

The Portal timestamp represents the time when the file was uploaded. The desktop app does not upload files every time the file modification date/time changes on your computer (i.e. you save the file in Vectorworks) to prevent too much data from being sent over the network. It uploads automatically when you close the file in Vectorworks, but you still have the option to upload it while it is still open by clicking the Sync Files in the Status dialog. 

Edited by inikolova

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2 hours ago, inikolova said:

Can you provide me with detailed steps of what you are doing? From my testing, it seems to work as designed. Here is what I do:

1. Create a new file in Vectorworks - > Save to my Vectorworks Cloud Services folder

2. The file appears as upload pending in the Vectorworks Cloud Services Desktop app Status dialog, because the file is still open in Vectorworks.

3. I click Sync Files button on the Status dialog and the file gets uploaded. 

4. I refresh the VCS Portal page, I see the new timestamp of when the file was last uploaded. 

Is this the workflow that you are referring to?

The Portal timestamp represents the time when the file was uploaded. The desktop app does not upload files every time the file modification date/time changes on your computer (i.e. you save the file in Vectorworks) to prevent too much data from being sent over the network. It uploads automatically when you close the file in Vectorworks, but you still have the option to upload it while it is still open by clicking the Sync Files in the Status dialog. 

It seems to work ok with smaller files. It may well be the size of the file that is delaying the updated timestamps. I will watch it for the next while and see if it gets out of sync again.

KM

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19 hours ago, inikolova said:

I don't thing the job trully fails in this case. It uses the latest available version in Dropbox, unless this is the first time you are saving this file in Dropbox? I realize this might be an issue with bigger files, which take some time to sync. 

When you are submitting the Publish job for a file, which don't yet exist on Dropbox, the Publish dialog will highlight the items selected for publishing in red to raise a flag for you - see the attached image. In this case, you would be allowed to submit the publish request, but you will obviously not get the result you would expect. :-)

There are a few Dropbox Publish workflows that can be improved. We will keep those in mind as we plan for our next releases.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 6.58.10 PM.png

I think the problem I was having here was also a sync issue related to large (e.g. 150mb) files. I found that if I saved the file, closed it, waited for it to sync, then chose "Cloud Publish" without doing anything else I could get it to work.

Kevin

 

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Hi Iskra,

My only remaining issue is font related. I'm not sure how to troubleshoot it beyond what I've already tried. I can get a few of my own fonts to work but my main fonts are not "found" by the Cloud during publish operations. I'm pretty sure its a Mac/PC problem. Some are old fonts that have been converted but others are newly purchased that also don't work. They are all either OTF or TTF files. They work fine on my machine at home.

Kevin

 

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I'll be posting a response for the font issues as well. I did not miss it, just need some more time to respond.

21 hours ago, Kevin McAllister said:

Is there a way to get back the job status areas on the Vectorworks Cloud Services home page once you click to another part of the site (Resources for example). By clicking Home I get back to my stuff but the job status area is gone even though there are jobs still in process

 

Yes, you need to click on the New button for the status bar to open. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-23 at 3.04.40 PM.png

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22 minutes ago, inikolova said:

I'll be posting a response for the font issues as well. I did not miss it, just need some more time to respond.

Yes, you need to click on the New button for the status bar to open. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-23 at 3.04.40 PM.png

Brilliant! I never would have found that on my own since I'm not uploading files from the website.

KM

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Just now, Kevin McAllister said:

Brilliant! I never would have found that on my own since I'm not uploading files from the website.

I realize it is not very obvious, we will keep this in mind for future Portal improvements. Did you know that you can also see your processing file statuses from the Desktop app Status dialog, as well as in Nomad?

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