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You may occasionally have the need to write programs or spreadsheets to perform particular design tasks. In some cases, this would be better facilitated by accessing the model or design data in the Ram Structural System (RAM SS) database directly rather than manually retrieving the information. In addition, you may find a need to create or manipulate a RAM SS model programmatically. This can be accomplished by using a set of functions called Ram DataAccess (RAM DA).
What is RAM DataAccess?
The purpose of RAM DA is to allow you to read, add, and delete data in the RAM SS database. This is accomplished through the use of the COM component, RAMDataAccess.dll. This file installs with RAM SS and its information is registered on your computer. A Microsoft COM (Component Object Model) component aids in software communication. The RAMDataAccess.dll component contains functions and a way for an application to call the functions (interfaces). The great thing about COM is that the programming language you use for your applications does not need to be the same programming language that the component was written in. Hence, we can use RAM DA with VBA, C++, or any other programming language that supports COM.
Installing RAM DataAccess
As stated previously, the RAMDataAccess.dll file installs with RAM SS. The version of the .dll file is specific to the version of RAM SS that is installed. Therefore, in order to use RAM DA, you must have RAM SS installed on the computer and the model that is being accessed must be the same version. It is good practice to open the model in RAM SS and run all of the various modules. This ensures the model will be converted to the version that is installed on the computer and that all results are available through RAM DA. The Ram DataAccess Developer’s Guide PDF installs with Ram SS as well. This document contains a wealth of technical information on using RAM DA, the RAM DA architecture, and descriptions of all of the interfaces and functions available.
Getting Started with RAM DataAccess
You can post questions about RAM DA in the Structural Analysis and Design community. You will also find several files that have been posted. The DA for Dummies document is a great place to start. This file describes how to use Ram DA with Visual Basic for Applications (Microsoft Excel) by going through a practical example Section Replace. In addition, there are tools created by other users and tools created by Bentley. The Bentley tools include a program for steel estimating, RAM Estimator, and a tool to merge, move, rotate, or mirror a Ram SS model, Model Merge and Move.