Modifying Multiuser Systems (CAD Manager’s Toolbox)

22 Apr, 2008 By: Robert Green

I've received a couple of questions about my approach to modifying programming in multiuser CAD environments. I've passed along some tips and tools for performing testing in the past several issues, but I haven't given you a procedural framework for how I modify CAD environments without disrupting everyone while doing so.

Here is my step-by-step method:

  1. Back up everything you think you could even possibly modify. You never know when those backed up files will come in handy.

  2. Set up a test environment on a remote machine (I like to use a laptop) using the substituted drive trick I outlined in the March 26 edition.

  3. Verify proper functionality of custom programming on the remote machine. As you perform your testing, be sure to save any files or test procedures because you'll be using them again later.

  4. Make programming changes as required and test until you believe everything is set to go live.

  5. Specify a time early in the morning or in the evening when the system will be updated, and publish it.

  6. When the time for updates arrives, verify that your backed up files are available, and then transfer the new programs to the live server environment.

  7. Rapidly run through your testing scenarios (saved from step 3) to verify that nothing unexpected has gone wrong during the move to the network environment.

  8. Pay particular attention to verifying print functionality. Printing tends to access shared network resources and, as such, is difficult to test on the remote development machine.

  9. If everything looks good, then go live with the changes, but be sure you're available to pull the plug on the changes in case you missed something. Never, ever, update the CAD environment and go on vacation or take a day off — that will guarantee something will go wrong.

I've used this method for updating large multiuser environments for years, and I have always had good success with it. I hope you can use it in combination with some of the tools and utilities I've passed along in the CAD Manager's Toolbox to speed through your updates.

Do you have a suggestion/tip that should be in the CAD Manager's Toolbox? Send it to me at, and you might get a cool Cadalyst souvenir if I use your idea.

About the Author: Robert Green

Robert Green

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