BIM 360 and Forge Overview

Occasionally I get requests to have a call to discuss about BIM 360 and Forge. While the context of what people are trying to accomplish are different, some people tells us that they hear conflicting information about availability of different API’s. I will try to clarify the status of API’s for BIM 360 as it stands today.

The fact that Forge is continuously evolving, in particular, Forge support for Docs is still under development, is most likely contributing to the confusion. In addition, I see there are two factors that seem to make API discussion for BIM 360 fuzzy:

  • BIM 360 is a collection of different web services. Some are Forge while others are not.
  • Forge is platform technology, which in turn a collection of component technologies that some of BIM 360 web services are built on top.

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Android App for BIM 360 Docs

I just heard that the Android version of mobile app for BIM 360 Docs finally released! It’s available for download from the Google Play Store. This is THE first Android app for BIM 360 family products (aside from the BIM 360 Team which is a branding change of A360 Team and whose Android app is already available.)

The BIM 360 Docs Android app is an free app. You can use it to access your BIM 360 Docs data. The first version focuses around viewing project documents, models, markups, and issues. More functionalities are expected to come, including the ability to download files for offline access, and more advanced issue and markup management features.

If you have an Android device, please give it a try.



HQ API Intro Node.js

Prompted by an inquiry through the forum post, I made a minimum sample that uses HQ API. I wanted to do “Intro Labs” series for Forge API for a while any way. He gave me a little push to start something along the line of Intro Labs. (So thank you for asking.)  Not quite to the level of Labs, yet. I hope I will be accumulating how-to materials as I write in small chunks at a time.

The Intro sample is intended for people who is new to HQ API. The sample demonstrates the following workflow:

  1. Get a token using two-legged authentication
  2. Get the list of companies
  3. Updates a company info

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Field API: Enforced Route Verbs

BIM 360 Field update went out today. It includes a change that potentially affects API users. As a part of pre-work for future framework update for Field, Field API’s route methods (i.e., POST, GET, PUT, etc.) used in the API calls are made strict. If you are NOT using the correct verb (i.e., the verb indicated in the documentation), you will get an 404 error. If you are using correct ones, you will not see any difference.

This made me think that we want to have a better communication channel for an update like this. The product team recognizes that, too. I did post a note to the BIM 360 API forum immediately after I heard about it. This is not just for Field. The same applies to other API, too. We will discuss with the product team to make sure we get advanced notice for any changes that have potential to break your apps in future.


From AU/DevDay 2016

What a week.  I just got back from Autodesk University (AU) and Developer Day 2016 in Las Vegas. I knew it was going to be a busy one. But still AU for me only gets busier and busier each year. On Monday, we had Developer Day whole day; the general session started 8 AM in the morning, and breakouts in the afternoon till 5 PM. I was responsible for organizing the AEC breakout in the afternoon. Sasha Crotty, Platform and API Product Manager for Revit, presented about Revit API updates. I presented BIM 360 API updates, followed by Augusto Goncalves briefly presenting about Civil 3D and Infraworks 360. I feel lucky to have a person like Sasha as a Revit PM, who used to be a Revit developer herself, understands both technical and business side, and very comfortable presenting to a large audience. As in previous years, Revit API session was fully packed, many standing in the back. The clear sign that the momentum of Revit is not yet weakened. My session about BIM 360 went well as well. On Tuesday we had so-called DevLab, which is a walk-in clinic-type setting, where a developer can stop by to ask API related questions. I also had one class of my own on Wednesday about API for BIM 360 Docs as well as helping two other classes. I plan to write about BIM 360 Docs API in subsequent posts in the next few weeks.

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Where to Get Help about Forge?

Forge seem to be getting a bit of momentum these days. I get inquires about where to get help about Forge from various directions. It’s not always clear where to go to get help, is it? So here it is, I’m listing a few options to get help when you are developing with Forge API.

There are basically five options as far as I’m aware of. But not everything may apply to you; depending on the type of API and your subscription level, you may or may not be entitled to have an additional support channel:

  • stackoverflow – popular forum among developers. Use with a forge tag. (See below if you don’t know how to use tags). Open to anybody.
  • Forge Help e-mail – send e-mail to Open to anybody.
  • BIM 360 API Forum – this is limited to BIM 360 API only. Open to anybody.
  • Autodesk Developer Network or SFDC DevHelp Online – ADN member only site.
  • Autodesk Customer Support – Enterprise Priority Support and Advanced Support subscribers are entitled to receive API support.

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Materials from Forge Hackathon

Long overdue. But I myself ended up looking for the materials from the Forge Hackathon, two-month long series of online events to promote web services apps submitted to Autodesk App Store. So here is this, I’m listing them here as a reference.

Introduction to BIM 360 API (HQ API)

This is the session I did. I talked about BIM 360 API, i.e., account level API a.k.a. HQ API. BIM 360 HQ API provides comprehensive coverage. The API gives you an access to the data stored in BIM 360 Enterprise account. You can read/create/modify projects/companies/users information. In the session, I first discuss about the current scope of BIM 360 API, gives a quick product overview, followed by the detailed discussion account level API.

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Field API: Issues Search with Two Conditions

Q. I would like to search issues with two conditions combined using this:

POST /fieldapi/issues/v1/search

For example, I want Safety Issues that were created on or after September 1, 2016.

I am able to search on a single condition. The documentation suggests like this:

"[\"cf--5bf288e4-21a0-4fe8-9a4b-67c8133fcb92,like,\\\"inspect\\\"\",\"f--status,in,[\\\"Work Completed\\\",\\\"Draft\\\"]\"]"

but I can’t get anything that resembles this to work.

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Field API: max_date Parameter

When retrieving a large amount of data through Field API, we often think about performance and efficiency. If you are performing routine tasks, such as nightly sync update, one approach might be to retrieve only the data which are modified after a certain time. If you look at the Field API reference guide, there is a parameter “max_date” for some of methods. Unfortunately, the documentation lacks the detailed explanation about the format it takes. We also found that not every method with this parameter seems to work as expected. So I took a look. Continue reading “Field API: max_date Parameter”

Troubleshooting Tips Making REST Calls

I’m writing a few troubleshooting tips when you are having a problem making REST calls. I intend to add more as I hear them.

1. POSTMAN is your friend

First and foremost, if you are having a problem making a REST call, please try to test, using a tool that you know should work to verify if your URL and data are correct. This will help narrow down if the issue is due to the data you are passing or your program processing the data.

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