Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's New in the Revit 2010 API: General Changes

(Part of the What's New in Revit 2010 API series)
In this post, we'll cover a few quick topics about general changes to the Revit 2010 API.

.NET 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1

First, the 2010 release has a new platform requirement for developing Visual Studio solutions - .NET 3.5 for users and Visual Studio 2008 SP1 for developers. What does this mean? Several things:

  • First, every user of Revit 2010 will have the .NET 3.5 Framework pre-installed, taking care of the pre-requisite issue.

  • We can leverage the new technologies available in .NET 3.5, including: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for new look-and-feel, Language Integrated Query (LINQ) for easy access to data from databases, XML or the Revit model.

  • Potentially improved deployment options with .NET 3.5 SP1, which resolves some issues that made it difficult to put Revit Plugin DLLs in a centralized network location.

As a developer, I also appreciate the ability to take advantage of the newer features of Visual Studio, including the built-in Unit Testing framework and language features like the new "var" keyword - where Visual Studio figures out variable types for you!

Compatibility with Previous Versions

The nature of the changes to the RevitAPI makes it likely that old applications will be broken in 2010, and will require re-compiling and some changes to make them work with 2010.

It is possible, if your ExternalCommand does not make use of any objects or properties that have changed, that the existing DLL will work - but I'd say that any ExternalCommand of any complexity is unlikely to work without changes.

VSTA 2.0

We will talk about VSTA (Visual Studio Tools for Applications - Microsoft's replacement for VBA - Visual Basic for Applications) and Revit separately - but this version of Revit includes the 2.0 version of VSTA.

What's in a Name?

I've historically been curious about the directory that Revit gets installed in, i.e. "C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2009". It always seemed like Revit has held onto the "Revit" folder name while the other Autodesk products were all being standardized to be called "Autodesk _____".

So whether they just finally got around to it, or whether there's deeper intrigue - as of Beta 1, the product is now called "Autodesk Revit Architecture 2010", with the folder name to match.

Ok, this post was a little dry and boring - but I felt like these things had to be said up front... I promise it will get better from here :).

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