Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Revit 2009 API: The AddIn Manager

One of the nice additions to the Revit 2009 SDK is the "AddIn Manager" tool.

As background, for those of you who don't know - Revit still uses a 1990s-era REVIT.INI file, with four lines per command to register your Revit external commands, ie:

ECName3=Door Mark Update
ECDescription3=Revit Door Mark Update Utility

This, combined with the application startup time for Revit, contribute to some occasional pains in getting external commands set up (whether by developers or CAD Managers).

What's New?

The Add In Manager application is itself a Revit External Command, and is accessed (after installation) on the Tools + External Tools menu:

The AddIn Manager shows you what external commands have been registered with Revit, as well as giving you the ability to Load a new command at Runtime (NO MORE EXITING OUT!) and Saving changes to your REVIT.INI file.

Chuck Han had done something like this a year or so ago - but it was mainly for outside of Revit - not something that you could load into Revit after Revit had started. So this is a welcome addition - anything to make the process go more smoothly for Revit Users and administrators!

By the way, the AddIn Manager also handles External Applications:


Revit 2009: The Hidden Feature

In previous years, I've really enjoyed ferretting out those "hidden" features or behaviors of Revit in each new release...

This year, I've been poking and prodding - but I've only managed to turn up one thing which I would call a "Hidden Feature".

Revit URL Support
I noticed as you mouse over files in the new Startup Screen, in the bottom left corner you see not the filename - but a URL:

This made me think - does this mean that Revit supports URLs for files now? That might be interesting...

So I tried it - Using "File + Open", I typed in a URL of a Revit File I posted on a website, i.e.:

And sure enough - Revit automatically downloaded the file and opened it.

Where did it put it locally? It currently is put in your %TEMP% folder (a previous build was putting it in "My Documents" - I'm not sure of my preference).

What does this all mean? I'm not entirely sure, but as models proliferate over the web (or content - my presumption is that you can load a family this way as well) - that Revit being able to open any URL (HTTP, FILE, FTP, etc) - presents some interesting future opportuntities....

(Update: It appears that FTP does not really work... ah well).

Another interesting quirk - I notice that when you mouse-over the "New" button, it gives you a URL of:


and the Open option gives you file:///X:/OpenProject.start.

I haven't delved into what's going on here... Is this some kind of HTML application that we're actually in? What happens if you actually have an X: drive?

Anyway - this hidden feature seems to inspire as many questions as answers... Have you discovered any "hidden features"? Drop a comment here and let people know!