Just to be clear, while the steps below *work* at this time, it apparently is an unsupported and inappropriate workaround and there could be risks (financial or otherwise) for BIM 360 Docs customers who invite free users into their projects. You should only invite:
BIM 360 Docs users for which you have paid for and applied an entitlement
BIM 360 Design (C4R) users who have purchased their own entitlement
I expect this workaround may eventually be disabled by Autodesk? You can view if you have exceeded your purchased package of BIM 360 Docs entitlements in the relevant Autodesk Manage pages. For example, it might show 16 of 10 licenses used in red? This is where I think there is potential for Autodesk to back charge users who abuse this current state of affairs.
My advice: check directly with Autodesk about who you can and cannot share your BIM 360 projects with…and proceed accordingly.
You are a paying BIM 360 Docs user and would like to invite a non-paying user to collaborate inside a BIM 360 Docs workspace. Perhaps you just want them to be able to upload and download files, but not Collaborate in Revit…
They need to create a free BIM 360 Docs account, and then get invited to your workspace.
Previously, this was all working with the old Desktop Connector and b360provider.exe (I think?) but the new versions of Desktop Connector seem to have broken the ability to ‘browse’ C4R Revit models on BIM 360… and guess what? There is no Solution. This functionality is in fact ‘by design’. You can copy and paste a non-C4R Revit model to BIM 360 Docs via the connector, and that RVT will be visible in Windows Explorer. But if you have C4R initialised Revit models on BIM 360 Docs, they will not be visible under the BIM 360 (Preview) node in Windows Explorer. You can only view those C4R Revit files in their folder structure by navigating through Revit 2018.3 or newer.
This is the feedback from Autodesk:
Revit cloud models (C4R models) are not supported in Desktop connector. They won’t be showing up in Desktop Connector. Published C4R models are only available in Revit and Docs.
I went looking for another answer, but there really isn’t one. Below is a list of steps I took to play around with the Desktop Connector installation. In the end, the only way I can foresee being able to ‘automate’ onsite BIM 360 Docs backups will be to leverage the CollaborationCache folder. You will need some Revit API know-how to forcibly populate this through some BIM 360 Reload methods (refer here). Unfortunately this will be a flat list of files without descriptive names, so there will have to be some workarounds and cleanup scripts in place (we already have a system of BIM 360 file management in VirtualBuiltApp). I intend to post some more about these workarounds in future.
Keep reading for excessive detail on my Desktop Connector journey …
Uninstalled this old version. Interestingly, there were 3 different uninstall processors triggered? Like I had three different versions installed?
Also tried removing this folder and reinstalling:
I found a pile of errors in the diagnostic logs:
CDX pipleline builder output
Output=Warnings received from AddInStore.Rebuild
Could not connect up a part in a pipeline to its neighbors: AddInAdapter Name: "ISecureSettingsProviderViewToContractAddInAdapter" Location: "AddInSideAdapters\Comet.AddInFramework.DataSourceProviders.ProviderAdapters.dll".
and a few of these
Could not connect 2 valid add-in model parts.
While inspecting an assembly, caught a BadImageFormatException: The file is not a valid binary: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Desktop Connector\AddIns\ADriveConnector\AdWebServices.dll This occurred while inspecting assembly C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Desktop Connector\AddIns\ADriveConnector\AdWebServices.dll.
While inspecting an assembly, caught a BadImageFormatException: The file is not a valid binary: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Desktop Connector\AddIns\ADriveConnector\AdWebServicesUI.dll This occurred while inspecting assembly C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Desktop Connector\AddIns\ADriveConnector\AdWebServicesUI.dll.
I scanned through the Registry and deleted old references to Desktop Connector.
Found this link with the command line switches: here
Tried an install from elevated command prompt:
C:\Temp>DesktopConnector-x64.exe /install /quiet
Note: you do not actually need the Desktop Connector to collaborate on BIM 360 Revit projects in the cloud. You only need Revit 2018.3 or newer, and the relevant license for Revit Cloud Collaboration (too hard to keep track of the names but I think ‘BIM 360 Design’ is the current terminology).
You will be able to see this link in Revit 2018.3 or newer:
When ‘linking’ Revit models, CAD files, and other resources, you will see this option when working in a cloud workshared model:
These models will be temporarily stored in the CollaborationCache folder:
Ensure you can see the BIM 360 (Preview) item in Windows Explorer
Using BIM 360, create a suitable folder under the Project Files area, and upload your resource file, such as UniformatClassifications_2010.txt
Browse to that folder in Windows Explorer:
Navigate to Manage – Additional Settings – Assembly Code Settings
Copy and Paste the folder address from Windows Explorer (which actually shows the local sync location for BIM 360 data, typically C:\Users\YourUserName\BIM 360\YourBIM360License\YourBIM360Project\Project Files\
Back in Revit, after navigating to the correct BIM 360 folder, select the text file resource and click Open
Revit detects that this resource is stored on BIM 360 Docs and you can proceed…
Sync your model to save the settings
You should be able to use the same process to save other files like Keynote references and Shared Parameter files in the cloud. Keep in mind that you will still have to manage BIM 360 access control, as you probably don’t want multiple people actually be able to edit these files.
If you are still running a relatively small SSD (like 512gb), you might see that your C drive fills up pretty quickly while working on a large BIM 360 Design Revit cloud worksharing project. See below image, where the CollaborationCache folder is using almost 50gb of space on my machine:
While I realise that the SSD is the best place to have that data in terms of performance, if you don’t have the space available you may consider moving your CollaborationCache folder to a secondary, larger hard drive. I used a symbolic link to do this, with the script below:
if exist "%localappdata%AutodeskRevitAutodesk Revit 2018CollaborationCache" rename "%localappdata%AutodeskRevitAutodesk Revit 2018CollaborationCache" CollaborationCache.old
mklink /d "%localappdata%AutodeskRevitAutodesk Revit 2018CollaborationCache" E:C4R
if not exist E:C4R MD E:C4R
robocopy /mir "%localappdata%AutodeskRevitAutodesk Revit 2018CollaborationCache.old" E:C4R
This creates a folder called C4R on your E drive, copies the CollaborationCache over, and sets up the symbolic link. To use it:
Sync all Revit instances and shut down Revit completely
Make a CMD from the code above and run it as Administrator (elevated privileges required for mklink )
In Explorer, confirm you have the symlink and delete the .old folder :
I previously posted about how to quickly repath links based on some control mechanisms. Enter BIM 360, and the wild world of Revit cloud worksharing… I expect that it will be commonplace now for existing projects and datasets to move across to BIM360 ‘mid project’. But that creates some interesting problems, like creating folders, dealing with the initiation process, and replacing local Revit Links with their cloud versions.
This post is focused on that process of changing all of the Revit link paths to link to the BIM 360 models. Unfortunately, the previous method I used (TransmissionData, like eTransmit) is not available for cloud hosted models. So how do we automate this process?
We went about it this way:
Initiate all Revit models on the BIM 360 Document Management cloud (manually, for now)
Create one federated model on the BIM 360 cloud that links in all the other cloud hosted Revit models. You might do this one manually, using Reload From in the Manage Links dialog box.
Once you have that one ‘super host model’, use a batch process to harvest all of the cloud model data
Using the harvested data, create a script that implements a Reload From method to batch reload local models from their cloud counterpart
On the journey to solving step 3, I experimented with a few different methods. I discovered that you need to use the ExternalResource class to get information about BIM 360 cloud models (not ExternalReference).
I also realised that I had to deal with Reference Information, which appears to be a .NET dictionary per link that stores some funky Forge IDs and so on. But I want to store all this data in our VirtualBuiltApp BIM Management system, so I had to serialise the Reference Information to a string that could be stored in a database VARCHAR field (or push to Excel if you are still doing things the old way). Dimitar Venkov gave me a few tips about using JSON with IronPython in Dynamo (thanks mate!), so after that all the harvesting pieces were in place!
Here is some of the harvesting and JSON code. Notice that I played around with using a container class to pass data between Dynamo nodes. In the end, JSON string was the answer:
data = 
for u in unwraps:
container = dummy()
sdicts = 
for y in data:
dictinfo = ExternalResourceReference.GetReferenceInformation(y)
container.dictinfo = dictinfo
The next step was to create the ‘batch reload from’ tool. Now that we had the necessary data, we just had to use it to grab the matching cloud path information (from our database) and apply it to each Revit link.
I created a node that essentially built a new reference path from the JSON and other data that we had harvested. Here is some of that code:
des = 
for x in referencesInfo:
newdicts = 
for y in des:
serverGuids = 
for g in serverIdsIn:
tempguid = Guid(g)
newrefs = 
for z in range(len(referencesInfo)):
serverIdIn = serverGuids[z]
referenceInfo = newdicts[z]
versionInfo = versionsInfo[z]
sessionPathIn = sessionsPathIn[z]
tempRef = ExternalResourceReference(serverIdIn, referenceInfo, versionInfo, sessionPathIn)
OUT = newrefs
The final step was to get a RevitLinkType and a matching ReferenceInformation and apply them to each other. I stored the data in our cloud based BIM Management Application, VirtualBuiltApp. Then I could easily just pull the data into Dynamo with a suitable database connector, and match up the RevitLinkType in the current file with its associated cloud identity. For that genuine 90s feel, you could use Excel to store the data as it is just a JSON string and some other strings:
Here is the key bit of code that actually changes the link path (without all of my other error checking bits and pieces):
newCloudPath = newCloudPaths[l]
reloaded = fileToChange.LoadFrom(newCloudPath, defaultconfig)
successlist.append("Failure, not top level link or workset closed")
To actually implement the script and get productive, I opened 4 instances of Revit, and then used this process in each instance:
Open the Revit file from BIM 360, with Specify… all worksets closed
Unload all links
Open all worksets
Run the Reloader Script
Confirm link status in Manage Links
Optional: Add ‘bim 360 links loaded’ text to Start View (just for tracking purposes)
Optional: Add comment to VirtualBuiltApp (optional, for tracking purposes)
Close and Sync
In this way I can have 4 or more sessions operating concurrently, fixing all the link paths automatically, and I just need to gently monitor the process.
One nice thing is that I set the script up to immediately Unload a link after it had obtained and applied the new Path information. This means that the Revit instance does not get bogged down with many gigs of link data in memory, and in fact this is way faster than trying to use Manage Links for a similar process.
Ideally I would like to fully automate this, to the point where it opens each file, runs the script, and syncs. Unfortunately, time didn’t allow me to get all the code together for that (for now).
Finally, because we are using our custom built schema and validation tools, we can easily create visuals like this:
Modified versions of the Dynamo graphs can be found on the Bakery Github here:
Method 1 – Controlled Sharing – ‘Consume’ Published Models from Packages
Method 2 – Controlled Sharing – Link from the Shared Folder
Method 3 – Live Linking
Each method requires fundamentally different sharing standards, and varying degrees of prior BIM 360 permissions and team setup.
Notice that Method 1 includes the concept of ‘packages’. The overall intention here is to try to emulate some existing workflows. While BIM files continuously change during project development, in traditional workflows a ‘team’ only interacts with a snapshot of the available BIM data from other teams (a package).
At this point, it is key to keep in mind that these different methods exist, and if you are a BIM Manager on a BIM 360 Design with Revit project, you will need to discuss and agree on the linking Method for managing the Revit data throughout the BIM creation phase of the project.