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Boh

Record format question

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Hi.

ive used record formats to some extent but now I want to organise them properly as a cad library resource.

 

I want to attach custom formats to the symbols in our cad library.

 

So I know how to create and attach records to symbol definitions. I know how to do this so the same format is attached to every symbol in a selected RM folder.

 

I now want to edit the default format values for each symbol in the library.

I know I can right click a symbol in the RM and choose “Attach Record...” which will allow me to edit the default record field values for the record particular to that symbol definition. 

 

The problem is that there are literally hundreds of symbols I need to edit so it will take forever to edit them all.

 

Ideally I would like each symbol to have a default “Type” record unique to that symbol. This is because when they are brought into a file multiple instances of the same symbol can then be simply summarised in a worksheet and edited together.

 

Are there any quick ways to do this?

 

Here’s one idea I have which hopefully someone will know if it possible:

 

Can I have one record field value take on the name of the symbol to which it is attached? Every symbol already needs a unique name. Can this symbol name be quickly “pasted” into one of the record fields attached to it?

 

Even better if a symbol is duplicated in the RM is it possible for the name field value to also automatically update to the new symbol name??

 

Any workarounds, tips or recommendations welcome!!
Thanks

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I don't understand the need for the Type record. Each symbol definition has to have a unique name. You can show that name in the worksheet with a formula of =SymbolName. You can then summarize on that.

 

A script could be written that would "walk" the resources in the file and store the symbol name in a field, but why? Also this is fragile. When you rename a symbol the field in the record will not update. Using the SymbolName directly is much safer.

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Thanks for the response Pat.

 

I am trying to set up a streamlined process across our office of using symbols, records, data tags and worksheets together for presenting info on our drawings. 
 

Unfortunately at the moment I am the only one in the office with any reasonable level of expertise with this so any system I set up has to be super easy to use, even for someone unfamiliar with this stuff, or it will probably just not get used at all.

 

As you say a “symbol name” column could be summarised in a worksheet and be the unique identifier for each data base row.

However data in this column would not be two way editable so the user would have to do additional steps to get the worksheet into a presentable state.
 

Ideally as soon as the worksheet is placed in the sheet it would produce default record info which could then be directly edited as required to suit the project.
 

I think a unique record field identifier for each symbol would be useful though it wouldn’t have to be the same as the symbol name- I just thought that was convenient as it already exists with the symbol. 

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Thanks Boh for opening this very interesting thread !

Same problem here, over the years I made symbol libraries with all in all about 3000 symbols. Opening each symbol by right click and editing a default value of a record format manually takes about 20 clicks and about half a minute if you are quick with this. Editing 3000 Symbols will take at least 3 - 4 complete workdays if you concetrate on doing only this, and you will get crazy from this work....

What is missing in VW is a method to edit default values of specific recordformats of specific groups of symbols in the resource manager by worksheet, and whats more, a method to attach a specific record format to a secified group of symbols without doing all these clicks.

As far as I know there is a way to connect to the record format tables via ODBC, but after a few attempts without effort I did not follow up this thing. I guess there is a complete database in VW that lists the content of the recource manager ? If yes, maybe edits like this could be done via database querys. I wonder if anyone has ever proceded so far ?

 

Edited by halfcouple

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OK. The want to use the symbol name as a starting point but needing to edit it kind of makes sense.

 

Worksheets are your friend for a job like this, but will only work with objects that are actually inserted into the drawing.

 

After attaching the record(s) to each of the symbols in your library/favorites, you can then place one instance of each symbol into the drawing. Create a worksheet based on object with the record attached. Create a column for each field you want to be able to edit. You can then edit the data in any of the symbols from the worksheet.

 

If would be possible to create a script that would attach the record format and populate a field with the symbol name. If you really want to do this, I will see about helping you with the script, but I don't have the time if you are not going to use it and figure out a different way to proceed.

 

Do you already have a database with the data for the 3000 symbols? If so we should be able to help you get it attached. If not, you are in for hours of work to create what you need.

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Thanks for the offer of help on a script Pat. A custom script would be awesome. I'll hold off on that until I've better worked out what the best workflow for our office is. At the moment we have a restaurant chain project with several of our staff working on different restaurants so this is a good test project to develop some standardised symbols/records/worksheets that can be used across all these projects. Once I have sussed out what the best workflow is I'll have a better idea of how to set up the symbols and their default records into a system that could be rolled out across all our projects.

 

Just to note that I have worked with quite a few other VW users over the years and very few of them knew how to work with database worksheets and record info. I guess this is because it is not a purely "graphic" process and requires an understanding of various concepts such as symbols, records, worksheets, and now data tags, that all have to work in sync together to produce results. I found it confusing myself when I first started on it too. So any system I come up with needs to be as super straight forward as possible.

 

Also:

15 hours ago, halfcouple said:

What is missing in VW is a method to edit default values of specific recordformats of specific groups of symbols in the resource manager by worksheet, and whats more, a method to attach a specific record format to a secified group of symbols without doing all these clicks.

As far as I know there is a way to connect to the record format tables via ODBC, but after a few attempts without effort I did not follow up this thing. I guess there is a complete database in VW that lists the content of the recource manager ? If yes, maybe edits like this could be done via database querys. I wonder if anyone has ever proceded so far ?

This does seem to be something that VW is missing - how to quickly attach custom default record info to multiple symbols in a file.

I also looked briefly at ODBC but couldn't understand it and couldn't find any really instruction on how to do it either.

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OBDC will only help if you already have the data in a database somewhere or if you need to be able to make changes that will be updated between different files. It is not an easy thing to set up or keep working. If you already had a data base of something critical, like prices that could be accessed via OBDC I would say it is worth it. For something that needs to be kept dead simple that is not OBDC.

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Hi Pat,

of course it's not your job to do my work, or spending hours on designing scripts for one or two users only.  Your help here is fantastic here, which I guess is certaily the opinion of all users here. 🙂

I'm always chasing for the perfect workflow...The background here is that disposal-software like Hiretrack NX or EasyJob or similar mostly offer an import function for prepsheets or packing lists. So the idea is that VW worksheets are the preliminary stage of the work that has to be done in the warehouse and that they are compatible with the subsequent software.

I have made some tests on this and it works great as long as there are two main principles followed:

1.) The VW drawing has to be very close to detailed assembly drawing and should be completely designed by symbols (That is the reason why I created  3000 symbols over the years,- each symbol represents an item in the real world).

2.) The symbol library has to be an exact copy of what is set up in the disposal software. This is what causes the problem here, since my library is a product of years where the compatibility was never really taken care of.

The link between these two systems is a unique index for a symbol that exists in both systems. Maybe therfore ODBC could really be a solution, since it is not a question of drawing. In the end we only have two tables tables to compare, which are the item table of the disposal software on the one side and the symbols table with their corresponding record formats on the other side.

So before writing endless scripts, maybe the simple question is: Is there a writable access to symbols and their record formats form an external ODBC source (like Excel or Access) ? The rest is a matter of database skills...

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I am just enough of a database nerd to know what ODBC is, but not enough to have ever really used it.

 

If you have data on the 3000 symbols in Hjiretrack NX or EasyJob, AND they offer an OBDC connection to their database AND you need the data in their system, it can probably be made to work.

 

I am relatively certain that you could create an ODBC link into your library/favorites file (Again, you will probably have to place every symbol in the file as the ODBC link is via a worksheet and worksheets can only see objects in the drawing, not objects in the resource manager) to bring in the data from the other system. Then when you import those items to your working drawings that data will come along.

 

You could probably also have an ODBC link to the working drawings, but again, this is set up through a worksheet and will not come automatically when you import symbols.

 

No matter what you are going to have to touch each of the symbols to enter the data to link the symbol to the ODBC database. I doubt there is a way to do that automatically (unless you are really lucky and named them all in a form that also exists in the ODBC database.)

 

It does sound like you have more of a database problem than and drawing problem.

 

Good luck. Ask again if you need more help.

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On 11/18/2019 at 5:26 PM, Pat Stanford said:

I am relatively certain that you could create an ODBC link into your library/favorites file (Again, you will probably have to place every symbol in the file as the ODBC link is via a worksheet and worksheets can only see objects in the drawing, not objects in the resource manager)

 

Ok, I guess this is the dead end of the one way street: Objects in the drawing are instances of the Resource Manager's symbols, changing their recordformat values does not affect the original symbols themself. So the question seems not wether to use ODBC or script, but is there any way at all to access the resources of the Resource Manager directly exept right click on the symbol/resource ?

Edited by halfcouple

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24 minutes ago, halfcouple said:

is there any way at all to access the resources of the Resource Manager directly exept right click on the symbol/resource ?

That looks more or less like my original question. 

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If you create an ODBC link, then the data would not be stored with the resource, it would be stored in the ODBC database. The attached record would only contain a link to finding the correct data in the OBDC database.

 

To edit a Resource you either have to click on it and edit it manually or use a script. So yes you can change a resource without clicking on it, but we are back to the fact that you have to have some way to identify which of the multiple symbols you want to edit. You can't just say attach data to the symbols. You have to say attach data XXX to field YYY or Symbol ZZZ.

 

The data that is stored in the record attached to the symbol definition is just the defaults. When you place a symbol it gets a copy of that default data. After that there is no link between the original defaults and the data attached to each symbol instance.  If you have a symbol of a dog and a Record Animal and a Field Type with a default of DOG. Once you place the symbol instance there is nothing you can do about a uses (other than maybe fire them) who decides to edit that field and say it is CAT.  The symbol will still show a dog, but the data in the worksheet (database) will say it is a cat.

 

Now if you were using an ODBC database you would need a field that would link to the database. So a dog might be Type 123 and a cat Type 456. Every symbol in the file that says it is Type 123 would bring in all of the data for the dog record. Every symbol with a Type 456 would bring in the cat record. This still will not prevent someone from calling a dog symbol a cat (by changing the Type to 456), but the ODBC has the master data.

 

Data science and databases in general are hard. Making sure you have the right connections and the right data entered takes a lot of work.

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