Note: This TechNote was created from an archived Client Server Article
Proper utilization of configuration files gives you the flexibility of creating your own custom MicroStation environment.
Workspaces are custom MicroStation environments or configurations. By creating your own workspace, you can customize MicroStation for a specific discipline, project or task.
During startup, MicroStation searches for and opens resource files, begins communicating with the keyboard and mouse, prepares the screen for display, validates the user's license and loads the correct workspace. A workspace consists of a project configuration file, a user interface and a user preference file. Configuration variables are among the most powerful components of a MicroStation workspace. They tell MicroStation where to locate data files to use in the design session, so all we really have to tell MicroStation is which configuration file to process. We do this by defining the MS_CONFIG environment variable.
During startup, MicroStation relies upon the operating system environment variable for a definition for MS_CONFIG, which should point to a master configuration file. The MS_CONFIG environment variable must be set before starting MicroStation. (Consult your operating system documentation for instructions on setting environment variables, such as MS_CONFIG, for your operating system.)
MicroStation uses configuration files for all of the configuration variables it utilizes. If a configuration variable is not user-defined, MicroStation will use that variable's default definition. Configuration files are run before anything else in MicroStation, allowing the CAD manager to specify the exact components to use during any one MicroStation session.
Users must have the ability to jump from project to project, so while the projects are read in after the user configurations, project variables must be read in before the user variables. This is accomplished by specifying a priority level for each variable. Variables defined at higher priority levels take precedence over those values defined at lower levels. The following charts illustrate this concept.
While only MicroStation can edit two of the three workspace components-the interface modification and user preference files- you can edit the configuration files and redefine configuration variables with any ASCII text editor.
Certain variables exert a special influence on workspaces. Most of these variables begin with _USTN and many are undocumented.