Original Article Date: March 2004
Updated: December 2010
Another component of Engineering Links (E-Links) is something called the UstnForm protocol. This specialized keyin allows web-page developers to extend the functionality of the FORM HTML-Tag to drive MicroStation from an HTML web-page.
The ustnform protocol allows form data to be used to generate parameters to MicroStation key-ins, macros, and MDL applications. In effect, Engineering Links provides its own algorithm for processing form data. This algorithm is invoked when an HTML form is submitted with the action:
The form data, which consists of a list of NAME/VALUE pairs, is then parsed to extract whatever key-ins, macros, and parameters were encoded. Here are few examples of using the USTNFORM protocol to provide additional options to standard MicroStation keyins. The following are examples of using the ustnform protocol and can be experienced in any MicroStation design file.
To see this in action, download this zip file: 189_UstnForm.zip and extract the html file to any folder.
Start MicroStation and open any design file. Then just drag and drop 189_UstnForm.html into the open view of your file. In response, MicroStation will open the web-browser and load the contents of the sample web page.
Alternatively, you can manually connect to the browser from within MicroStation by choosing Utilities > MicroStation Link in MicroStation /J or Utilities > Connect Web Browser in MicroStation V8. Then open the sample HTML page directly in the browser.
While the page isn't exactly pretty, it does provide a couple of examples on how to drive MicroStation from an HTML page. For example, this page will let you place a circle in the file by one of three methods, or open another view. What a great way to create a tutorial for training purposes!
To further understand what's going on behind the scenes, the HTML code used in the above example is as follows. You can see this for yourself by opening the HTML page in a text editor as shown.
AskInga Article #189