VDS 2017

2016-08-19_08-02-28Data Standard 2017 have been released several weeks ago, and there have been some interesting improvements that brought us to update the VDS quick reference guide. VDS2017 brings a lot of little internal improvements, which will make customizing simpler. So far, there were quite differences between VDS for CAD and for Vault and such differences have been streamlined.

Aside the internal improvements, there is one new feature around the Save Copy As function in VDS for Inventor. In the early days, all save functions were mapped to the VDS dialog. So, regardless if you just saved, saved as, or saved copy as, in all three cases the VDS dialog showed up. Early customers immediately claimed the ability to perform a save copy as without VDS in order to save the files in different formats, and this is the behaviour as you know it today. Save and Save as are caught by the VDS dialog, and the Save Copy As is still the original Inventor dialog where you can save the file in a different format, where you want.
With VDS 2017 you have now a new Save Copy As function within the VDS ribbon. This allows you to save, actually to export, your file in some other formats directly into Vault. So, the VDS dialog still shows up and asks you to complete the form, but it also allows you to save the file in other formats and stores the file directly into Vault. So, the original Save Copy As is still the same and a new Save Copy As has been added. There is a very nice post  on the cadlinecomunity page with a nice video that gives a good overview. If you like to know more about this feature, leave a comment, and we can dig into it in a separate post.

Let’s get back to the internal changes in 2017. You will notice that the _Category and the _NumSchm property are now exposed, in VDS for CAD, as a custom property called VDS_category and VDS_NumSchm. This makes it simple to align the category chosen in CAD with the one assigned by Vault. Now you can map a user defined property in Vault with the VDS_category property of Inventor and AutoCAD and use the new property for defining a simple rule.

A very important change that will reduce a lot of customization, a are logic between category and numbering scheme. In case your numbering scheme is called the same way as the category, then it will be automatically preselected. Just try to create a category “drawing” with a numbering scheme “drawing” and a category “models” with a numbering scheme “models”. You will see that as soon you select drawing as category, the numbering scheme will be set accordingly, and as soon you switch to models, the numbering scheme will change too. You still can choose another numbering scheme, but in case they are both called the same way, then the pre-selection is automatic. That simple!

A new internal property called _OriginalFileName have been added. It’s useful when a copy operation is performed and you want to know what was the original file name. So, via $Prop[“_OriginalFileName”].Value, you can now get the file name of the original file.

The internal properties _CreateMode and _EditMode are now available in VDS for Vault as well. So, now it’s simple to know in which state the dialog is.

Also, a lot of logic that, so far was inside the XAML file, now have been moved to the Default.ps1. This way, logic is in PowerShell and graphics in XAML. It should be easier now to influence the behaviour. So, you’ll find now new PowerShell functions such as IsVisibleNumSchems, ShouldEnableFileName, ShouldEnableNumSchms, which defines the standard behaviour of the numbering scheme. So far, the logic was inside the XAML with triggers and the like. Now, the XAML points to these functions an here you can easily define the behaviour.

One big change in VDS 2017 is the change from the mymenu.mnu to the MenuDefinitions.xml. This change was a must since a while. By moving to a XML file, a lot of bugs with special characters and the like have been fixed and the logic should be now simpler. You can find more details on the Autodesk knowledge page.

Working with VDS and custom objects should now be much simpler. You get a VDS dialog template (CustomObject.xml, CreateCustomObject.ps1 and EditCustomObjects.ps1) which can be used with any custom object. Just add in the MenuDefinitions.xml the according menu item for your custom object. In the MenuDefinitions.xml you’ll find a sample for a custom object called CustomObject :-). So, just duplicate the CustomObject element in the CommandSite section and rename the Location property to the name of your custom object. Of course, it would be better to also duplicate the menu items in order to have a custom menu labelling.
For custom objects, a new automatic logic has been introduced. Just create a category with the same name as the custom object and you are done. Next time you create a custom object, that category is automatically set. In case you want to enforce such category, just set the combo-box to read-only or inactive in the XAML file and the user will not be able to change the category. In case you also have a numbering scheme with the same name, then also that is automatically assigned. Done!

There is one more thing! With VDS 2017 you have now the application and document object available, for Inventor and AutoCAD. So, within your PowerShell script, you can access via $Application and $Document to the native API. This allows you to interact more deeply with the hosting application. Of course, you will have to know the according application API, but if you do, then you have way more options now.

In my view, with this version of VDS, a lot of typical scenarios are now covered in the standard or can be accomplished in a very simple way.

Here is the updated Data Standard Quick Reference 2017 . Have fun with VDS2017! We already have…


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3 Responses to VDS 2017

  1. Markus says:


    Gibts es überhaupt eine Befehlsreferenz über die Inventor API für $Application und $Document?

    mit freundlichen Grüßen,

    • Marco Mirandola says:

      The $Application and $Document are equivalent to the .Net Application and ActiveDocument objects of the given application, so Inventor or AutoCAD. therefore, the API reference will be either the Inventor API or the AutoCAD API reference. This two new variables, have been introduced for “advanced” coders with experience with such applications, in order to allow them to to even more fancy stuff. If you have a very specific requirement, we might help you with a custom service engagement. In such case, please share with our support (support@coolorange.com) your needs, and we can get back to you either with a suggestion or an offer in case we should do this for you.
      I hope this answers your questions.

  2. Jim Winkler says:

    How difficult is it to upgrade from 2016 to 2017? I assume this will require us to download the VDS 2017? Is this even necessary? We are looking at VDS and just checking what is required.

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