Design with Insight

1 Oct, 2002 By: J. Fred White

Manufacturing organizations are finding a greater need to communicate and collaborate throughout the design process. Solid Edge V12's (SE V12) Insight.NET leverages Microsoft's .NET technology to facilitate information exchange among the growing number of players in your design process to effortlessly keep projects on track and below budget.

Web Components
The Web Components of Insight.Net are tools for effective collaboration and communication at any point in the development cycle, allowing for early input from the complete team, as shown in the sample homepage in Figure 1.

Figure 1. To enable collaboration and communication at any point in the development cycle, SE V12's Insight.NET technology accommodates early input from the complete team, including customers, suppliers, and internal manufacturing departments.

Web components are lightweight Web parts that can be added to the SharePoint Dashboard so that non-Solid Edge users can view Solid Edge parts, assemblies, properties, and BOMs, as shown in Figure 2. To view Web Components, a user simply requires Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, and the URL for their company's dashboard.

Figure 2.

Here are a few of SE V12's Web Components (Note: You need to have administrative privileges to add them to the SharePoint Dashboard).

  • Web Component 2D Viewer. This new Active-X Web control enables live (unpublished) viewing of Solid Edge Draft documents. By loading the metafile viewing-data contained in a draft document, significantly less data is transferred to the client for viewing. The 2D Viewer is automatically loaded when "Show-Actions" is selected for a Solid Edge Draft file in the Sharepoint Dashboard.
  • Web Component 3D Viewer. This new Active-X Web control enables live viewing of Solid Edge parts and assemblies from the SharePoint workspace. The 3D Viewer is automatically loaded when "Show-Actions" is selected for a Solid Edge Part, Assembly, Weldment, or Sheetmetal file in the SharePoint Dashboard.
  • Web Component BOM Viewer. This directly accesses the Solid Edge Assembly files in Insight for viewing the assembly BOM. The display controls for the BOM Web part are exactly the same as the Property Manager.
  • Web Component Property Viewer. This will access any Solid Edge document for viewing its unique properties.
  • Web Component ECO Unique Number Generator. SharePoint provides the option for assigning a unique ID for each document in the managed workspace. With Insight.Net, this gives users the ability to generate a unique ID number for each Engineering Change Order (ECO).

Property Manager. Property manager is a powerful new interface that allows users to edit the properties of multiple files in a single operation. The command works with both Insight and non-Insight files and folders.

  • Property manager allows users to select or search for documents to edit, and then use an Excel-like interface to edit the values of multiple-document properties.
  • Values can be cut, copied, and pasted from one cell to another, unless they are read-only cells. And a restore option resets all the properties back to their previous values (last saved or original values, whichever is later).
  • For clarity, any values that have been modified but not yet saved are underlined. Changes to the documents are not written to the disk until the user saves the assembly, at which point any files with modified fields will be immediately checked out.

Offline Mode. Off-Line mode increases the flexibility of Solid Edge by allowing users to work on managed documents even when they are physically disconnected from the server or network. In this mode, users work directly from the local cache with no calls to the Insight server. (Note: To prepare for an offline session, synchronize existing files downloaded in local cache and check out any additional documents that may be needed during the offline session.)

  • The Solid Edge title window and Cache Assistant title window indicate that you are working in offline mode. An offline icon also displays in the bottom corner of the Solid Edge window.
  • Any new documents created in offline mode can be checked in when the user returns online. If a document with same name already exists in the folder location specified when uploading, a dialog box will ask if you want to overwrite the previous version.

Full Text-Search. This new capability allows Solid Edge users to search for text data displayed on a Draft document. From the search window on the SharePoint Dashboard, choose the folder to search in, then simply type in the text you wish to search for. A list of the documents containing the text will be displayed. This type of search provides enormous timesavings when compared to the manual searches.

Duplicate Document IDs. V12 provides the capability for administrators to run an automatic search from the Server to scan for duplicate SEDocIds. This simplifies the process for identifying any unmanaged duplicate files that can result from using the file copy commands within Windows Explorer.

Integrated Revisioning. With V12, users no longer have to exit a document and reopen it in Insight Connect to create revisions. This provides quicker access and control of revisions from within Solid Edge. While in any Solid Edge managed document, the user can select Revisions from the file menu.

  • Revisioning is also accessible from the shortcut menu (right mouse-button) in Pathfinder for parts and subassemblies at the immediate level of the active assembly.
  • The Revisions dialog automatically searches for, and displays, any existing revisions for the selected part or subassembly. The filename field defaults to the selected document name and is incremented past the last revision found during the search. The user can then accept the file name shown. This will copy and increment the new revision in cache, and add version comments to the document profile. The new revised document is then checked in and published and the selected document in the assembly is replaced with the revised document.
  • If multiple occurrences exist, the user will be prompted to replace the selected occurrence or all occurrences. The new document can then be in-place edited to make the necessary revision changes.

Insight-Enabled Link Tools. Solid Edge provides users with the ability to search folders for duplicate files and broken links. With V12, the users can also search the Insight Library.

  • URL locations (workspace) and local folders can be combined into a single search and the search will include those document names, both local and in the workspace, which contain the same names. (Note: The user will need to have at least reader privileges in order to search for duplicate documents in a managed folder.)

Automation Support. V12 exposes Insight functionality for automation use as well as enhancing other automation APIs to support managed files. So, you can now use Visual Basic customization to integrate Insight with the rest of your enterprise.

See you On the Edge next month.

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