I’m looking into ways to batch initialize Revit models onto the new BIM 360 Docs (Document Management) platform. It is a work in progress at the moment – in Revit 2018, I think that there is limited ability to use newer API features for creating a Cloud ModelPath for batch processing. But more on that later…

For now, I wanted to replicate a folder structure from a local network onto the BIM 360 Docs platform. To do this, you just need the Desktop Connector + Preview installed, and then you copy and paste the data.

Here are the steps:

  1. Clear Pending Actions on Desktop Connector for BIM 360 (recommended, use with care)
  2. Work Offline (recommended). Folders will appear blue in Windows Explorer.

  3. Set the folder path in the and create a CMD script using code below. It populates each subdirectory with a text file indicating the contents of the directory.
    @echo off
    chcp 65001 >nul
    for /r "C:\Your\Folder\Path\Here" %%d in (.) do dir /a:-d "%%~fd" > "%%~dpnd\DirectoryFilePlaceholder.txt"
  4. Run the script on your target directory (the local directory that you want to mirror into BIM 360 Document Management platform)
  5. Run a FreeFileSync task with filters to include only the ‘DirectoryFilePlaceholder.txt‘ as a mechanism of building the file structure. This task copies those txt documents to the BIM 360 using the local Desktop Connector path, as shown here:
  6. Then, disable ‘Work Offline’, so the sync to cloud should begin.
  7. Wait for ‘Processing’ to complete

To force the sync you may have to toggle the ‘Offline’ status in the tray.

You can review sync state with the ‘Pending Actions’ link from the system tray:

After the file structure is copied and synced, you will be able to see it in BIM360 Docs.

You can then proceed with adding Permissions or uploading other files.

Previously the Desktop Connector was built for BIM 360 Team projects running C4R. With the shift to B3D (BIM 360 Docs) platform, you need to:

From the help:

This plugin is a connector that establishes BIM 360 Docs as a recognized data source for the Desktop Connector – making it available in your desktop folder and file structure for easy file management.

As with Desktop Connector, this means your BIM 360 Docs files are replicated in a connected drive. You can manage files in BIM 360 Docs through the connected drive, just as you would any other folder on your machine. Changes made on the desktop are automatically uploaded to BIM 360 Docs.

How do you get it?

After install, you will see this in Windows Explorer:

The whole C4R thing with link files is a bit of a challenge at the moment. It will get better, but for now, there are at least two things that don’t match typical desired project delivery:

  • We essentially have a ‘high trust’ environment, which applies to everyone who is invited to a C4R project. High trust in this context means anyone can edit anything, if they have Editor permissions for the project.
  • Also, we don’t have folder structures for Revit files that have been initiated on C4R – they are all in the root folder. However, we can store Revit files in subfolders as a kind of dumb link file (not a collaborative model).

So, until it does get better… how do we use the Desktop Connector to link files from a non-C4R folder structure, into a C4R initiated file?

Basically, you take these steps:

  1. Use Windows Explorer and the Autodesk Desktop Connector to manage your files and folder structure. Navigate to your BIM 360 Team project, add folders, and drag and drop Revit files into those folders.
  2. Then, in Revit, in the Import / Link dialog, you can select the ‘BIM 360 Team’ link from the drop down list. You will notice some special things happening after you link one of these files.
  3. Finally, you can observe the new ‘cloud’ pathed Revit models in the Manage Links dialog box. The saved path should start with Autodesk Drive:// and the Path Type is Cloud.

What does this all mean? Really, it just means the workarounds are getting slightly better. We don’t need to maintain a separate cloud storage repository for Revit models (like Box) just for the link files. And we shouldn’t need to go through too much pain to update the link models. Just drag-and-drop the new Revit link model into the correct folder in the Desktop Connector to update the link for everyone in the team.

 

This feature also works with things other than Revit files. So you can use the same process to store DWG files on BIM 360 Team and link them into your Revit model.

And the same process can be used for things like:

  • Keynoting Settings
  • Shared Parameter files
  • Assembly Code Settings
  • Material Libraries

Pretty much any project-linked resource can now be stored in the cloud, shared with a team, and linked into Revit.

Over the years, Autodesk has provided various means for us to access, sync, backup and share files. Most recently we used “A360 Desktop” (see end of this post) and more recently “A360 Drive“. Autodesk recently released the Autodesk Desktop Connector, which allows you to:

  • Manage remote files from your desktop
  • Connect to Team Hubs
  • Work offline or online

Desktop Connector gives you access to your production A360 data. Using Desktop Connector  to modify files that reside in production A360 will automatically sync changes, updating your production file in A360.

You will see a link on your BIM 360 Team hub like this:

You can install from here which links to these downloads (Help page for install here).

x64

x86

mac

 

You need to sign in:

You should now see a BIM 360 Team link in Windows Explorer:

You can use the tray icon to “Work Offline”.

More Information

Release notes here

Getting Started guide here

Some notes about A360 Desktop retirement

A360 Desktop older versions will get this message:

A360 Desktop current versions:

  • A360 desktop Windows Updater: All users except 2018 AutoCAD products
Windows 32-bit installer – A360 desktop Version 7.3 (exe – 362MB)
Windows 64-bit installer – A360 desktop Version 7.3 (exe – 409MB)
  • A360 desktop Windows Updater: For AutoCAD 2018 product users only
Windows 32-bit installer – A360 desktop Version 9.5 (exe – 373MB)
Windows 64-bit installer – A360 desktop Version 9.5 (exe – 409MB)

 

A360 Desktop Expiration link: