Configuring AECOsim Building Designer #5 – Putting Projects on the network

In part 3 I put the Company dataset on the network. However you will have noticed that the COMP_DATASET = E:/Dataset_Company_OnNetwork/ variable pointing to the network is contained in the Project Configuration File (PCF) on the C drive located in C:\ProgramData\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\WorkSpace\Projects\BuildingExamples\.

Copying the modified PCF to every machine, whilst functional, is a poor solution (circa 1992 peer-to-peer networks..), so we need to share them on the network.

This is where ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg kicks in.

For this example the

PCFs will be located in E:\PCF_OnNetwork

Project data will be located in E:\ProjectsOnNetwork

Steps:

1. Copy your PCFs to the network location:

2. Copy your projects to the network location:

3. The location of PCFs is defined by _USTN_PROJECT.

This is initially set by C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\config\msconfig.cfg, but also modified by BuildingDesigner.ucf. Values set in the User Configuration File will overwrite previously set values so the line in BuildingDesigner.ucf needs to be disabled (or deleted if you are confident).

Open BuildingDesigner.ucf.  (From within AECOsim Building Designer use the key-in $ %explorer $(_USTN_USER) to open Windows Explorer to your user preferences folder.)

Comment out the relevant line by adding a '#':

# _USTN_PROJECT = $(_USTN_PROJECTSROOT)BuildingExamples/

4. Open ZZ_CompanyConfig.cfg which is just an empty text file, and add the following:

A header for information and version tracking:

# CompanyName Bentley V8i SS3 startup configuration - 02 November 2012
# v 2.0 updated for SS4 - 09 October 2013
# v 1.0 initial deployment - 23 November 2012
# v 0.1 Initial Wip for testing
#----------------------------------------------------------------------

This may seem pernickety now, but in two or three years time version tracking could be very helpful to prompt memory!

redirection of the PCF location:

_USTN_PROJECT= E:/PCF_OnNetwork/

5. Changing just this variable will result in an error message when the PCF is selected from the network. The reason for this is that default project location for AECOsim (and similarly for MicroStation) is also in C:\ProgramData\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\WorkSpace\Projects\BuildingExamples\, obviously necessary to enable a fully functional installation prior to configuration.

The project location is defined by _USTN_PROJECTDATA.

The value of _USTN_PROJECTDATA is initially set by C:\Program Files (x86)\Bentley\AECOsimBuildingDesigner V8i Ss4\AECOsimBuildingDesigner\config\msconfig.cfg to:

$(_USTN_PROJECT)$(_USTN_PROJECTNAME)

This is a simple example of the way that configuration variables combine and cascade through the configuration.

So you can see that changing the value of _USTN_PROJECT will affect the value of _USTN_PROJECTDATA used by ABD's PCFs.

Directing this variable to the correct location is easy, just add to MyProject_NM_Light_01.pcf:

_USTN_PROJECTDATA = E:/ProjectsOnNetwork/$(_USTN_PROJECTNAME)/

The value of _USTN_PROJECTNAME is automatically picked up and defined from the name of the PCF. For this to work the name of the PCF must be identical to the name of the project root folder. This is why the PCF I created back in part 1 is named MyProject_NM_Light_01.pcf.

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