Autodesk View and Data API Intro Overview

Update 11/28/2016. this is written before Forge was introduced and some part might be outdated. Please check the latest at I intend to update when I get a chance. 

Autodesk View and Data API is a platform technology that allows the user to upload a model in the Autodesk cloud storage and to view it in a modern Web browser. This is the technology that Autodesk is using internally as well. For example, A360 Collaboration for Revit (C4R) has the viewing capability of a work-shared Revit model on A360. View and Data API is the technology that is used behind the scenes of those features. Although API for C4R itself is not available at this time, Autodesk is making the same technology available to the third party developers to use with their web services applications. View and Data API is current in beta stage.

As this is a platform technology that potentially has an impact to various products, the entire DevTech team has been involved to look at View and Data API in some degree. From my position, I sometimes get an inquiry about difference between Glue viewer and View and Data API viewer, as well as the specific behavior when uploading Revit and Navisworks files. I have also noticed the slight difference in the styles of REST API from Glue web services API.

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Getting Started with BIM 360 Glue API

I have posted existing materials about Glue API to this blog for the last several weeks. Trying to point to those while replying to inquiries, I realize that it is getting a little difficult to tell where to start. So here it is, I’m putting them together here as an instruction on how to get started with the Glue API.

1. What you need

  • Glue “sandbox” account
  •  API key and secret

Please contact ADN for these. You can find more information about accessing Glue API here. Upon request, we will send you an invitation from Glue sandbox and keys.

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Arduino Introductory Workshop

I had a lot of fun today. I participated an introductory workshop for Arduino. Rick Rundell, Senior Director from the CTO office, was sympathetic to the employees who are stuck in the snow in the area and organized the event at Autodesk Waltham office. We had a pleasure to have Andrew P. Anselmo, Ph.D. from Clipboard Engineering as our instructor.

In case you are not familiar with Arduino, Arduino is a tool that you can connect your computer with all sorts of sensors, controllers and other physical hardware, and you can write programs to controls them. It’s an open source project to provide a platform based on simple microcontroller board and development environment for writing software for the board. You can find the information here.

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Revit UniqueId in Glue and Navisworks

Every Revit element has a property called UniqueId. As the name suggests, it’s an unique identifier of an element in Revit. At glance, it looks like GUID. But it actually has additional eight (8) characters at the end. It was added for API users in order to uniquely identify each element. Other properties, for example, Element ID, is not guarantied to be unique. DWF and IFC use GUID. But as stated above, they differ from UniqueId. UniqueId is accessible only by API. (Jeremy Tammik describes this topic in detail on his blog.)

Being able to identify each element by UniqueId is important for many API users in order to link external information to a specific element. For example, to realize a round trip between Revit model and an analysis program, you may use UniqueId to identify the existing elements.

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AEC Hackathon 2.0 New York and Girls

There was AEC Hackathon in New York over the last weekend (Jan 30 ~ Feb 1). For those who haven’t heard about AEC Hackathon, it’s an informal event that helps create an opportunity for technology enthusiasts to get together, share ideas and build something new together. AEC Hackathon specifically targets the goals of improving built environments.

I was planning to drive down to NY to join if the weather permits. But due to the snow storm, I decided not to. But Jaime Rosales from our team joined. During the team meeting, Jaime enthusiastically talked about it and shared photos from the events: 3D scanning, Google’s Project Tango, robot, FieldLens, etc. It surely sounds like it was another successful event.

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Glue API Versioning and Deprecated Calls

When making a Glue Web services API call, you need to include a version information in the endpoint or URL. e.g.,{format}{format}?

The API has this versioning to 1) allow changes in the API for further enhancement, as well as 2) maintain backward compatibility. Unlike desktop applications where we can add compiler warning to signal any changes to the developers, with Web services REST API calls, it is not obvious when a newer version is introduced just by building an application.

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