Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Working on projects with several people at the same time can be a challenge, especially if the projects get fairly big and involved. Coordination and project consitency suddenly become very important.

To make this scenario managable, Autodesk introduced Worksharing & Worksets into Revit. I will cover the basic setup in this post and go into the nitty gritty of creating and managing worksets in the second.

So, first off, what is Worksharing? Worksharing means what is says: multiple users working together on one project, in one file.

Wait! What? One file? That's not possible! Just look at any other software out there! You cannot open one file more than once.

That is (sort of) correct. Windows will only grant one person write access to any file at any one time. So it would be almost impossible to open one file from multiple computers and expect everything to go smoothly.

Revit solves this by introducing the concept of a central file (residing on the server) as a sort of overseer and multiple local files (residing on the workstations of the users) as the actual files people work in.

The central file is located on a central location (hence the name), for example the office servers. It contains the model information and is in charge of allowing (or disallowing) users to make changes to objects, views, layouts etc. It does so by "lending" out objects to a specific user, thus allowing him or her to edit said object and denying everyone else access. Once that user is done with the object he or she reliquishes the hold on the object and returns it to the pool of editable objects.

For example: UserA wants to move an interior wall 50cm to the right. He grabs the wall and moves it. Revit as now determined that UserA wants to edit this wall and assigns the wall to UserA. UserA now has full control over the wall. UseressB now wants to move the wall 75cm the other way. She cannot do that, because Revit has locked the wall. Only after UserA relinquishes his hold on the wall will UseressB be able to do the change she wants.

The central file is responsible for this sort of rights management.

The local file(s) is located on the local harddisk of the user and is there to facilitate the rights management as much as enable quick working. It also contains a copy of all model information which has to manually be updated. This is to prevent data-loss should the connection to the central file be severed. The local file has the same name as the central file, but with _username added to the end.


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