Author Topic: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea  (Read 278 times)

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jhadams82

  • Mosquito
  • Posts: 11
looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« on: May 18, 2017, 06:00:26 pm »
Very new to the Swamp (so glad to have found it, very responsive and helpful already) and pretty new to CAD, but decently experienced with coding in general (BS in CS).  Just recently got a job at a civil engineering firm and almost immediately started imagining ways I could help automate tasks here.  I've come up with a somewhat elaborate idea and I'm having success putting together the pieces but before I go too far on it, I'd like to get some expert opinions on the idea in general.  Maybe there's easier ways to do what I want or maybe even a program out there that already does it.

So here's the situation.  They tell me to cut plan sheets for a new job.  They give me 2-3 base files with everything in them and a couple template files, all on the network drives.  I have to make an individual .DWG for each sheet, attach the base files as xrefs, and vp-freeze/fade back certain layers depending on the type of sheet.  So far, it seems like I should be able to automate almost all of it.  What I want to do is make a DCL dialog that gets all the info about the job from the user, then they hit a button and it copies the templates in and/or creates the new files, attaches the xrefs, freezes/fades, etc all on it's own for however many sheets (files) they say they need.

I've already got some chunks of it coded and working.  I have LISP routines that find the attached base files and freeze/fade the layers.  I've got a routine that shows an OpenDCL dialog that gets the job info and writes it to a temporary file.  I've got a script that opens a file, reads the temp. data file and changes MText contents based on job info.  etc etc.  But it's starting to get complicated because of issues like a LISP routine being trapped in the active drawing and not being able to use "command" inside an event handler, stuff like that.  I'm starting to wonder if Visual Basic might be a smarter choice for something of this complexity (i.e. operating on multiple files) rather than forcing it with LISP routines and scripts.  Or maybe some other option.  Or maybe there's already a program like this.

Any suggestions?  Let me know if you'd like any more info.  Thanks very much in advance.  You guys rock.

ronjonp

  • Needs a day job
  • Posts: 6278
Re: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2017, 06:10:11 pm »
Very new to the Swamp (so glad to have found it, very responsive and helpful already) and pretty new to CAD, but decently experienced with coding in general (BS in CS).  Just recently got a job at a civil engineering firm and almost immediately started imagining ways I could help automate tasks here.  I've come up with a somewhat elaborate idea and I'm having success putting together the pieces but before I go too far on it, I'd like to get some expert opinions on the idea in general.  Maybe there's easier ways to do what I want or maybe even a program out there that already does it.

So here's the situation.  They tell me to cut plan sheets for a new job.  They give me 2-3 base files with everything in them and a couple template files, all on the network drives.  I have to make an individual .DWG for each sheet, attach the base files as xrefs, and vp-freeze/fade back certain layers depending on the type of sheet.  So far, it seems like I should be able to automate almost all of it.  What I want to do is make a DCL dialog that gets all the info about the job from the user, then they hit a button and it copies the templates in and/or creates the new files, attaches the xrefs, freezes/fades, etc all on it's own for however many sheets (files) they say they need.

I've already got some chunks of it coded and working.  I have LISP routines that find the attached base files and freeze/fade the layers.  I've got a routine that shows an OpenDCL dialog that gets the job info and writes it to a temporary file.  I've got a script that opens a file, reads the temp. data file and changes MText contents based on job info.  etc etc.  But it's starting to get complicated because of issues like a LISP routine being trapped in the active drawing and not being able to use "command" inside an event handler, stuff like that. I'm starting to wonder if Visual Basic might be a smarter choice for something of this complexity (i.e. operating on multiple files) rather than forcing it with LISP routines and scripts.  Or maybe some other option.  Or maybe there's already a program like this.

Any suggestions?  Let me know if you'd like any more info.  Thanks very much in advance.  You guys rock.
Sounds like a perfect job for lisp. Visual Basic has kinda gone by the wayside.

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jhadams82

  • Mosquito
  • Posts: 11
Re: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 09:51:39 am »
Thanks for the reassurance.  It's hard to know what info is still relevant when I'm sifting through several years of forum posts.  Things change.  Good to know I'm still headed in the right direction.

Grrr1337

  • Bull Frog
  • Posts: 338
Re: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 10:17:21 am »
Very new to the Swamp (so glad to have found it, very responsive and helpful already) and pretty new to CAD, but decently experienced with coding in general (BS in CS).  Just recently got a job at a civil engineering firm and almost immediately started imagining ways I could help automate tasks here.  I've come up with a somewhat elaborate idea and I'm having success putting together the pieces but before I go too far on it, I'd like to get some expert opinions on the idea in general.  Maybe there's easier ways to do what I want or maybe even a program out there that already does it.

So here's the situation.  They tell me to cut plan sheets for a new job.  They give me 2-3 base files with everything in them and a couple template files, all on the network drives.  I have to make an individual .DWG for each sheet, attach the base files as xrefs, and vp-freeze/fade back certain layers depending on the type of sheet.  So far, it seems like I should be able to automate almost all of it.  What I want to do is make a DCL dialog that gets all the info about the job from the user, then they hit a button and it copies the templates in and/or creates the new files, attaches the xrefs, freezes/fades, etc all on it's own for however many sheets (files) they say they need.

I've already got some chunks of it coded and working.  I have LISP routines that find the attached base files and freeze/fade the layers.  I've got a routine that shows an OpenDCL dialog that gets the job info and writes it to a temporary file.  I've got a script that opens a file, reads the temp. data file and changes MText contents based on job info.  etc etc.  But it's starting to get complicated because of issues like a LISP routine being trapped in the active drawing and not being able to use "command" inside an event handler, stuff like that.  I'm starting to wonder if Visual Basic might be a smarter choice for something of this complexity (i.e. operating on multiple files) rather than forcing it with LISP routines and scripts.  Or maybe some other option.  Or maybe there's already a program like this.

Any suggestions?  Let me know if you'd like any more info.  Thanks very much in advance.  You guys rock.

Just a simple advice:

When you drive trucks and have the potential to make new ones, while the others drive carts - it would be better for you to get paid for the transport,
and not providing a truck for everyone. Else when you finish all kind of automatization you'll might be dumped for a longer and longer period of time.

So just do the job you get paid for, and by programming make it easier for you.

MSTG007

  • Water Moccasin
  • Posts: 1962
  • I can't remeber what I already asked! I need help!
Re: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 11:45:33 am »
um... totally right on that one. I am kinda in the same position you are at, but I have been working on this for like "years". And it is nice to get stuff done ahead of others so you can focus on other things. Keep up the great work. You are heading the right direction. Again, if it takes a basic user 6 hours to setup a basic set of plans and you have your workflow which can do it in 30 mins...
Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite 2017

jhadams82

  • Mosquito
  • Posts: 11
Re: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 04:18:45 pm »
Now THAT..  is an excellent point!   Maybe I won't put so much effort into user-friendliness!   :laugh:

Grrr1337

  • Bull Frog
  • Posts: 338
Re: looking for bird's-eye-view opinions/advice on my idea
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 05:00:05 pm »
Now THAT..  is an excellent point!   Maybe I won't put so much effort into user-friendliness!   :laugh:

Don't get me wrong.. if you are just a few guys that earn and split money together then its better to do teamwork (the opposite).
When I was a student there were 3 roomates that worked together in anything and were way ahead of others.

The difference is where either you share the same ideas and profit or not.
But if you work for someone (as I understood) then you have to be a bit tricky.

Also I'm not trying to discourage one helping/getting help from forums worldwide.