Eneroth Reference Manager

Who ‘Owns’ what part and what ‘ToDo’ about it ? TC -extension : Import as reference, ToDo’s)

‘I thought you said…’ - - - ‘But I actually meant…’

Talking about it just one part and if it is within the same company, it will go along way.
Dealing with other parties, however, involves some more ‘written’ agreements. (TC- Web : Releases, version history, activity history, who downloaded what and when, etc.)

In Trimble Connect 3D Viewer, you can bring it all together: Multiple SketchUp Files, explore options by turning models on or off, view dwg’s at the same time, create multiple active section cuts, have the latest version of all files and produce UnReal engine rendered pictures, also! (Windows Only, though).

Cross Reference Organizer (CRO). You have master model and then separate models for each of the components (essentially also what they are) that is referenced in. The nice thing about CRO is it keeps track if these components are changed and alerts you to it in its interface.

1 Like

I think that is how every “XRef” worklfow works in SketchUp.

1 Like

The Trimble connect extension works a bit different, it does not treat them as components, like normally imported (you cannot unlock them, for instance) though used Tags are imported separately, there is also a special newly created Tag , which has control over the reference, being the tag that is assigned to the top level of the reference.
Furthermore, the main model cannot be ‘saved’ or ‘saved as’, you need to ‘Publish’ instead. (If you override the warning in the save menu, you break the link with the Project on the server, ‘saved as’ is greyed out)

Besides ‘normal’ skp files you can also reference dwg’s .

The biggest difference is however, that you cannot use them more then once in the same mastermodel, like ‘SketchUp components’
Each ‘instance’ should get it’s own, separate file in the project.

There are flaws too, for instance, If you just publish the mastermodel to the server, it’s references won’t be kept inside the published model. They do if you save it locally, but when you publish it again, you need to set the visibilty for each reference.
I am not certain if this is by design or has to be treated as a bug.
And then of course the need for internet (you can however use Trimble connect sync to upload your files and folders, you will always have a local copy, then.
If internet fails, there is more to worry about, I guess.

Trimble Connect is designed after its whole separate paradigm. A Trimble Connect reference doesn’t behave like an integral part of the model you are working on, but is more like having a bottom paper on a light table and trace over it. With Eneroth Reference Manager components work like completely normal component, e.g. furniture, fixtures, apartments or even buildings, that can be moved around freely both in space and the model hierarchy, that can be easily reloaded from external files or written out to them.

I have. However uploading and downloading big models can slow down things quite a lot so I’d rather use something that works on our local network.

As far as I have been able to test drive CRO I believe it acts similar than other ‘xref’ plugins. Meaning it doesn’t have functionality I was asking for above (to lock component on disk when in use and warn user when editing Xrefed component, or to suggest saving xrefed component once it’s edited inside one of the workspaces. This is still left to user to remember and therefore prone to errors.

In general, you need to have some ‘company-standard’. That should also include how to handle storage and naming of files and who has access to what.
On a project-level, you can have another set of rules, but the keypoint here is offcourse, if you are all on the same page here.

The status of the files in the advanced attributes could be used for this (every inserted file or model is treated as component)
If the status say’s ‘to be revised’ , the owner is still working on it.
You can ask when he’s finished, or impatiently edit it yourself. Some management or guidance is always needed.

It might seem as if I am a stakeholder of Trimble (which I am not) but I just get enthusiastic about it, so here goes:
Trimble Connect also has a ‘MetaData extension’, which could be helpfull to check who checked which files when, all configurable according to company’s rules and policy’s:

But, there is also the ‘Release’ concept, once you set the milestones for all contributor’s, you can block the concept folders and only add the files to the release that matter, or are the ‘final’.

The way I typically use Eneroth Reference Manager is to have a master file containing components linked to external files. In this model don’t edit these components. In some projects I edit the external files directly, but often I have separate working files where I work on these components and save them out from there and never touch the external files directly.

As a practical example, the master model can be an apartment building, the external models never to be touched directly can be apartments, windows, furniture etc, and the separate working models can contain all of the different apartments in something of a schematic layout.


Master Model

2020-05-05_10h40_18

Linked models

2020-05-05_10h41_17

External working model

In all these workflow I make sure data only flows one way, either from external models to the master model, or from separate working models to linked external models into the master model. With such a workflow you don’t need any specific component lock, as the file lock is enough to stop people from working on the same thing at the same time.

I have been thinking about a way to optionally mark a model as being one of these separate working models or a master model, and only allow external files to be either written to or read based on this, but this would increase the complexity of the tool. I’m still not sure if this feature would be an improvement or just clutter.

Yes, we have some of that. But still it’s prone to user error when someone forgets to update xref on disk with new one.

I tried working with Trimble Connect but it had loads of problems. Referenced models didn’t import properly, parts of model missing and as mentioned uploading/downloading files that have 100mb or more is too slow for our production needs.

I think for us that would be of great benefit.

1 Like

Hi Christina,
Is there a way to get reference manager to save out each component according to its definition name rather than its existing file name? Sometimes I import components from my MacHD library and after I make it unique and perhaps give it a new definition name, I open reference manager and I can see that it is still referencing the original library component. No surprises there.
I then choose ‘save as’ to essentially create a folder full of the model’s components but when the save as window pops up for each subsequent component, the file name field uses the original component name, not the new definition name I have specified while modelling.
This is pedantic, I know.
Hope your apocalypse is going well!
cheers.

1 Like

I can see the use case for this but I think it’s more common to want a name that follows any semantics of the old file name. Maybe a simpler solution ios to make it a habit to save as right away when making something unique and giving it the new name.

1 Like

@eneroth3
While I’m not using an Xref manager at the moment I do organize my models in the way you’ve described and edit using the EditInPlace extension. The problem I have is to remember not to edit the components within the master model (creating component versioning issues). I’m mostly good about it, but do sometimes forget.

So I’m wondering if you have, or are planning, an ability to edit lock the master model, so that all editing happenings in sub-models / components (with a preference setting). Maybe with a warning dialog that pops up when you enter edit mode in the main model, with a button to that opens the component in a second window for editing.

1 Like

I have some plans to mark a model as being a “composite” (?) model or a “collection” (?) model and warn if you are about to sync a component in the wrong direction. I’m still not exactly sure how to design the feature regarding to phrasing and the like to make it intuitive.

1 Like

Sounds good… I’m not sure exactly how you envisioned that but I’d just like to suggest to mark components that should not be edited inside the active model as an “Xref” component - and force them to be locked?

1 Like

A referenced/linked component can also exist for the purpose to be edited in place and saved out, in addition to edited externally and loaded in. The top post in this thread shows an example of a model containing a furniture collection, combined in one model so everything can be edited together, but then intended to be saved out to individual files. Such workflow would break if referenced/linked components cannot be edited locally.

In theory there could be a lock on individual components but I think that would require a bit of unnecessary micro management. Typically I think you’d want to lock everything in a model from either being loaded in or saved out/locally edited, hence a model wide setting for this.

Actually per component lock would be very helpful for our workflow. So if you could make a checkbox or something in the reference manager panel to mark component as locked would be quite useful.

Basically what I am trying to prevent is that someone modifies component and forgets to save it out to disk afterwards, which unfortunately happens quite often.

1 Like

How will locking prevent the user not forget to save it?
Upon closing the component a message saying ‘you have edited the definition, would you like to save?’ should be enough.
One tends to forget the warning when opening or unlocking for editing at the beginning of the edit.

I can’t think of a use case when you in one single model both have components you want to only save out to an external file and other components you only want to load in from an external file. Typically data flow in a consistent direction.