I was hoping someone might be able to give me their opinion on how best to approach this project, i.e. point me in the right direction as far as technologies to be used and what my company might need to purchase. I have been researching it for a few days and have one or two ideas but would like to get others experiences if possible before starting down one route?
The project is for an office furniture company and their client's real estate department, the task is to:
- Produce a quotation based on the items from an Office plan created in AutoCAD (2007? Although preferably compatible with current and future versions also). The plan contains items from other manufacturers so the system should have a way to identify company X's items on the plan and extract a list of their items used and the quantity. The client preferably should not have to do anything different in their AutoCAD and the process needs to be automated by the system (i.e. the client not having to extract the data to excel manually).
Possible ways I am looking into doing it (please excuse my ignorance of CAD terminology):
- Use ObjectARX .Net API to get a list of the 'entities' that the furniture company manufacture and do the necessary processing, preferably with C#. For example I had been looking at Kean Walmsley's blog here: http://through-the-interface.typepad.com/through_t
- Ask the client's CAD/real estate department to save the CAD diagrams as DXF files and use them to upload to the quotation system, then search for the occurrences of the text 'CompanyX' within the DXF file, where it then gets the company X items, for example 'Companyx-desk-typeA' or 'Companyx-screen150'.
- Investigate the cost and usefulness of a developer toolkit such as: http://www.cadsofttools.com/en/products/cad_import
Given the DXF file is 2 million lines and there may be other occurrences of 'CompanyX' in it not related to a specific desk or screen I am thinking this is not a very clean way to approach it. The possible advantage of this method or similar however being my company might not need to purchase AutoCAD or RealDWG etc for what seems like a relatively small project compared to the ~4K license cost?
The license cost is not necessarily prohibitive for the project but I need to have researched all alternatives first.
I would also like to get an idea if possible please if you think the ADN Standard or Professional membership would be a good option and whether this allows me to use ObjectARX and removes the need to buy AutoCAD or RealDWG?
Thank you very much in advance for your help, if I can provide any more information please let me know,
Thankyou, that's what we're looking at doing at the moment I think. If anyone can suggest anything as to my other questions it would be greatly appreciated.
1) “save the CAD diagrams as DXF files and use them to upload to the quotation system, then search for the occurrences of the text 'CompanyX' within the DXF file”
You may use the entity extension data in the form of XData or Extension dictionary to mark the entities and identify them later. This approach can be leveraged if you automate the process using AutoCAD / RealDwg. It can also be used to extract info from a DXF but it is cumbersome.
2) The possible advantage of this method or similar however being my company might not need to purchase AutoCAD or RealDWG etc for what seems like a relatively small project compared to the ~4K license cost?
To my understanding searching through DXF can be technically quite cumbersome while identifying entities.
The cost advantage that you get from this approach is something that you will need to evaluate on your own.
Comparing the approach that uses AutoCAD vs RealDwg - If it is a small project, then automating it using AutoCAD may be more suitable than using RealDwg.
If you wish to automate the process without having to start AutoCAD UI, then you may consider using accoreconsole that is available in the AutoCAD 2013 release. This is a console application ideally suited for performing batch processing on drawings which seems to fit the kind of automation you are referring to.
3) I would also like to get an idea if possible please if you think the ADN Standard or Professional membership would be a good option and whether this allows me to use ObjectARX and removes the need to buy AutoCAD or RealDWG?
DP has answered this.
Hope this clarifies your queries.
Thankyou for addressing my questions, we are going to try and get some money from the client for the ADN subscription and look into doing that.
Thankyou both for your help,