Sunday, July 21, 2013

Upgrading Models and update to Revit Make Local

It is that time of the year when users start transitioning projects to the newer version of Revit. The first service pack was released this week and most now feel comfortable making the transition.

I am always amazed at how many out there still use the Revit Make Local utility I created years ago, which was last updated in April 2010. I’ve received numerous comments and emails over the last years requesting an update. I have even had a few come to me last week at RTC in Vancouver to thank me and asked nicely when I was going to update it to work with Revit 2014! So I finally cracked down under the pressure and spent some time brushing up on AutoHotkey again (I need to build some scripts at work anyway) and made the necessary changes. You can download the latest Revit Make Local V5.1 and try it out. Please note that I have only tested in 2013 and 2014 OneBox, but it should work on stand-alone and past versions as well. It is becoming a royal nightmare to support all versions of Revit because there are so many variations between them (varying journal file and executable paths, different journal contents, the arrival of OneBox, and now also the obsolete Programs folder in 2014!). So this might truly be the last update, but if it does require more work in the future and I decide to indulge, I will drop parts of the script that support older versions to simplify things.

This brings me to the real intent of this post. Why do users still like this utility instead of the built-in local file functionality? Because besides the fact that local files do not go into their dedicated folders, there is absolutely no safeguard from accidental upgrading. It is astonishing to me that we still don’t have anything built-in to address this issue. The current upgrade dialog is only displayed after upgrading starts and does not present us with the opportunity to cancel, not even the “X” button at the top-right corner.

There are possible hacks to find which Revit version and flavor was last used to save the file (this avoids the use of a naming convention as required for the Revit Make Local utility), but there is nothing visible to the user in the operating system that displays the file version. You have to open the file in Revit to find out.

Revit is typically very verbose. It issues plenty of warnings and dialog boxes to keep users informed and usually even demands their input. However when it matters most, it doesn’t even pause and ask for user feedback. We really need to be consulted when an older file is about to be upgraded so we can take a decision and not just inform us after the fact!

The upgrade process is a massive painful exercise when you have a ton of linked files, especially if you forget to close the appropriate linked file worksets (I just close all of them when upgrading). I think we need a dialog like this that provides the following options:

Upgrade Dialog

Note: The above mock-up was created with Pencil.

What do you think? If you agree, I encourage you to send feedback to Autodesk directly and reference this post.



Architect said...

David, I cannot agree more. Since Autodesk does not allow backward compatibility, they should provide something like your dialog box above. With multiple links in large or complicated projects the upgrade process takes too long. Perhaps they could allow links to remain in their current version as we test the upgrade of the main file?

Dave Baldacchino said...

The only way to not upgrade links is to close out the corresponding worksets where those linked models reside. Unfortunately that assumes the project to be upgraded is using worksets, which for most firms that is the norm, but you cannot generalize either. For non-workshared projects, you have to trick Revit into not finding the links, such as renaming their folder or the individual links.

R vd Brom said...

Hello Dave

Could you please explain a little more how to add more variables for subsequent versions in the settings.ini?
It is not working when I change it to this (but my home language isn't English so maybe that is the problem ;-)

13=C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit Architecture 2013 C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit 2013

Thank you for the wonderful program. I using it already many years!

Dave Baldacchino said...

You're welcome! You can only have one path specified if you're using OneBox, and that would typically be the first one you posted. So just include 13=C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Revit and you should be good (if that's where it is installed).

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