AEC Tech News (#321)

1 Nov, 2012 By: Cadalyst Staff

Customization Options Expand for AutoCAD WS

Autodesk releases additional APIs, including one that enables users to open the CAD editor from a mobile application.

By Andrew G. Roe

Users of AutoCAD WS should be happy to know that customization options for that product are growing. AutoCAD WS, a cloud-based CAD editor from Autodesk, enables you to view, edit, and share AutoCAD drawings using a Web browser or mobile device. Introduced in 2010, WS has since been updated to include features for pinning photos to specific locations within drawings, as well as organizing comments within drawings.

Autodesk recently unveiled an application programming interface (API) for WS 1.5 that allows users to open AutoCAD WS directly from a mobile application. With this new capability, anyone with a mobile device can access WS and open drawings from other mobile apps, avoiding the need for a drawing viewer. The API is currently only supported on Apple's iOS, although support for Android devices will be added in future versions. You can read Autodesk's tutorial about the new API here: "Launch AutoCAD WS App API."

The new API joins previously introduced APIs that allow users to embed links to AutoCAD WS in mobile apps and use WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) to perform various operations on files and folders located in an Autocad WS account. WebDAV is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that enables accessing files stored on World Wide Web servers. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Andrew G. Roe is a registered civil engineer and president of AGR Associates, Inc.


Seek and Ye Shall Find: Quickly Locate AutoCAD Files That Contain Specific Entities

Learning Curve tutorial: AutoLISP routine makes short work of an otherwise arduous task.

By Bill Fane

It was a warm and sunny day. Captain LearnCurve and his gorgeous wife were staying at their summer cabin at the lake. They were relaxing between waterskiing runs, idly watching a great blue heron soaring by. The only cloud in the sky had a pointed shape ... that's it!


The topic for this article: point clouds! No, this article won't be about AutoCAD point clouds and how they work, but instead will be a learned treatise on how to automatically search through a set of drawings looking for entities that meet certain criteria.

I say again: Huh?

It all started with an e-mail from reader Dave Sasko. His problem was that he had a large number of drawing files spread through a complex folder structure, and he needed to find those files that contained at least one of the new point cloud entities. This article will show you how easy it is to find drawings that contain any particular type of entity, or even entities with specific characteristics. For example, if you need to find all drawings that contain a 12-inch-diameter circle that lives on layer "Cake," then stick around to see how easy it is.

Where to Begin

Finding drawings that contain specific entities is a very simple 4-step process:

  • First, we need to create a trivial AutoLISP program that specifies our search criteria.
  • Next, we use a good old-fashioned DOS command to create a list of all the drawing files in the folders to be searched.
  • We then use Notepad to turn the file list into an AutoCAD "script."
  • Finally, we run the script in AutoCAD. It opens every file in turn and the AutoLISP program checks for the desired entities. If it finds any, then the file name is added to the end of a log file, the drawing is closed, and the script moves on to open the next drawing. When the script has finished, then the log file is a simple text file that lists all the target drawings.

Read more »

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Bill Fane is a Cadalyst contributing editor, a registered professional engineer, and a close personal friend of Captain LearnCurve.

Mark Your Calendar: AEC Events


Autodesk University 2012
November 27–29, 2012
Las Vegas, Nevada
Autodesk University (AU), a conference and exhibition for Autodesk product users, will bring together design and technology professionals for networking, exhibits, innovation forums, and a new curriculum of more than 800 lectures, roundtable sessions, and hands-on labs. Visit Cadalyst at booth #412! Read more »

Building Innovation 2013
January 7–10, 2013
Washington, D.C.
Building Innovation 2013 is a gathering place for building industry professionals and stakeholders seeking up-to-date information on building science, technology, and ways to collaborate to improve the built environment. Read more »

RTC 2013 Australasia
May 16–18, 2013
Auckland, New Zealand
At the ninth Australasian Revit Technology Conference (RTC), attendees will be able to learn from some of the world's top instructors and industry experts, share ideas and insights with an international community, and explore the latest trends and technologies. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to


What’s New at


Identify the 'Quick Win' Opportunities in Your To-Do List
Are you facing a mountain of CAD management duties? Start with the tasks that yield big rewards, but require only a limited time investment. Read more »

Establish a Training Program for Your CAD Users, Part 2
You've gotten the go-ahead from management; now it's time to gather supplies and locate the right training venue. Read more »

Set and Save your AutoCAD System Variables
Because there are so many system variables in AutoCAD, it's easy to get them confused. The Express Tool SYSVDLG makes quick work of setting up your system variables and saving them to a file for speedy recovery down the line! Watch the video »

The Best Hardware Configuration for AutoCAD 2013, Part 4: Processor, Video Card, RAM and Hard Drive
So far in this series, I've discussed how to determine if your hardware can handle the AutoCAD 2013 upgrade, how to outline your current and future needs and how to find new hardware if you decide it's time for a new system. If you are looking for new hardware for AutoCAD 2013, here's some specific components to look at closely. Read the CADspeed blog post

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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