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AC24 - Hotlinks, Modules, PLNs...for a Large residential project

rob2218
Contributor
So..here's the knowns:
1. large 50 home residential project.
2. there are 2 model types...a Model "A" and a Model "B".
3. Both model types will have 3 different exterior elevation designs, therefore a Model 1A, 2A, 3A, and a Model 1B, 2B, and 3B...in essence having 6 different models.
4. they will all (all 6 model types) have the same story to story settings.

So the questions are:
1. Best way to organize the MOD's or the PLNs or hotlinks into a main "Master PLN" file?
2. should I create lowered story settings (say at elevation -100 and -111 and -99 to place the floor plan walls, doors, etc...and then create 'hotlinks' "IN" the actual master file or?
3. should I create 6 separate MOD files, then hotlink them into the main "Master PLN" site file"
4. Also...how do you create a 'Hotlink' of a story that resides INSIDE the same file as the "Master PLN" file?
5. Do I buy a server, use that as a dedicated Teamwork holding computer and login all the users into "that" system?



Just need help/thoughts on this massive organizational puzzle.

thanks,
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS
27 REPLIES 27

DGSketcher
Virtuoso
You may find some of the answers you seek at learn.graphisoft.com. You will need to sign in with your GSID, once there go to the catalog and find the e-books section. There is available a Hotlink Management - Workflow guide. The copy I got a while back is quite good at setting out your options for working with Hotlinks.
Apple iMac macOS Big Sur / AC24UKI (most recent builds)

rob2218
Contributor
THANKS...
In the absense of "time"......I may need a power-user who has a server/Teamwork setup capabilities in their office for me to be able to "rent" space in their server/Teamwork environment so that all the AC24 libraries are in one place.

If I can't find someone...I may have to go out and: a) buy a server, b) set it up with Archicad 24 and the use it as a "Teamwork" only server to upload and download project data.
My client on is on a MAC (hubboy) and right now were are transferring files back and forth via DropBox...but I think the Teamwork/BIMCloud/Server path would be best suited for this task...but hat means me spending pesos.....NOW.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Barry Kelly
Moderator
I have no idea about teamwork, if it will help you or not, as I don't use it.
I guess if you are multiple users working on the same files at the same time it would be essential.
But if only one user is working on a file then there would be no need - sharing via Dropbox should be fine so long as you all know who is doing what.


If this were my project, I would simply save each of the 6 models as their own PLN (not as a MOD).
Then you can hotlink the PLNs into the master site plan (exactly the same as you would for a MOD file).
Having separate files makes saving the 'module' (PLN) easier than if it was all contained in the same file on different storeys (in my opinion anyway).

Make sure all the models and site file are based on the same template so they have the same attributes and storey settings.


Barry.

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 25
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Dell Precision 3510 - i7 6820HQ @ 2.70GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD FirePro W5130M, Windows 10

DGSketcher
Virtuoso
Rob, I can’t help you on he teamwork front either, but just to add to Barry’s words of wisdom... I have a feeling Barry has mastered his templates and as such creating consistent drawings from different PLN files shouldn’t be a problem. From my own experience working with an external lead consultant who was prone to be picky about presentation styles etc, things unraveled when trying to maintain a consistent appearance over multiple pln files. I ended up with all of the buildings in a single pln file on the last job. Attribute management can be a nightmare with separate files. The other thing that you may have to manage is purchaser driven changes. Ok you have predicted six variants, but depending on your client you may need to change door, window and possibly even partitions on individual plots. Good luck!
Apple iMac macOS Big Sur / AC24UKI (most recent builds)

rob2218
Contributor
So...I'm a bit still fuzzy about the whole hotlinked PLNs thru the net into a master PLN site file.

Meaning....if these 6 distinct PLNs here on my PC follow a certain path if you will, then when they get to the clients MAC via DropBox...then how does those distinct 6 PLN hotlinks know to take a different path/folder structure because for sure my folder structure on a PC will be different than the clients folder structure on a MAC?

Also, when I refer to "client" I mean the lead architect who also works on Archicad 24 but on his MAC.
We have yet to do a Teamwork project together and have only been sharing PLA's back and forth...which that in and of itself is a hassle cause the PLA library is blotted when being uploaded/downloaded from Dropbox.

Not only that, PLAs don't actually save "ALL" the information. It will constantly give me that "Not all information will be saved, do you want to continue" message...when creating the PLA.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Barry Kelly
Moderator
rob2218 wrote:
Meaning....if these 6 distinct PLNs here on my PC follow a certain path if you will, then when they get to the clients MAC via DropBox...then how does those distinct 6 PLN hotlinks know to take a different path/folder structure because for sure my folder structure on a PC will be different than the clients folder structure on a MAC?

With the Hotlink Manager, it is possible to re-link the files to re-establish the file path if it is different.

Barry.

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 25
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Dell Precision 3510 - i7 6820HQ @ 2.70GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD FirePro W5130M, Windows 10

Barry Kelly
Moderator
rob2218 wrote:
Also, when I refer to "client" I mean the lead architect who also works on Archicad 24 but on his MAC.
We have yet to do a Teamwork project together and have only been sharing PLA's back and forth...which that in and of itself is a hassle cause the PLA library is blotted when being uploaded/downloaded from Dropbox.

Not only that, PLAs don't actually save "ALL" the information. It will constantly give me that "Not all information will be saved, do you want to continue" message...when creating the PLA.

There should be no need for PLA files if you are both using the same library.
If it is the default Graphisoft Library, then you will both have this on your machines.
Possibly with the MAC / PC file paths being different, you may just have to use the Library Manager to find the correct library path.

If you have a custom library, then you either both need a local copy of that library (and make sure you share any changes) or the BIMcloud (teamwork) can take care of it - again I can't help with that as I have never used it.

Any custom objects you make should be stored (by default) in the Embedded Library.
So they will be part of the PLN (basically like an automatic PLA file).


Barry.

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 25
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Dell Precision 3510 - i7 6820HQ @ 2.70GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD FirePro W5130M, Windows 10

Podolsky
Mentor
Guys, to solve hotlinking strategy really helpful to draw a logical scheme how everything connecting. Make several options.
Many unclear areas becoming crystal clear - it works as architectural plan.

rob2218
Contributor
So....Barry, basically what I need to then do is:
1) when I send over the PLN of each of the units (6 of them), I then instruct the client to "path out" any libraries we are both using.
2) the AC24 standard library of parts should just load up from his MAC or my PC assuming we are using the same build of AC24?...correct?

If that's the case, then it should be fairly easy to just have the client repath his libraries....then when he sends me back the PLN I repath to my libraries.....is that what I'm hearing?
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

Barry Kelly
Moderator
rob2218 wrote:
So....Barry, basically what I need to then do is:
1) when I send over the PLN of each of the units (6 of them), I then instruct the client to "path out" any libraries we are both using.
2) the AC24 standard library of parts should just load up from his MAC or my PC assuming we are using the same build of AC24?...correct?

If that's the case, then it should be fairly easy to just have the client repath his libraries....then when he sends me back the PLN I repath to my libraries.....is that what I'm hearing?

I have never used a MAC and I have not had to share files with anyone using a MAC.
So I am not sure if the default Graphisoft library will load automatically or not.
If they do - great.

If they don't when the file is opened, it will say the library is "Missing" in the Library Manager.
You just need to relocate that library in the Library Manager.


Barry.

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 25
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Dell Precision 3510 - i7 6820HQ @ 2.70GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD FirePro W5130M, Windows 10

mikas
Advocate
If you both use DropBox and do have a DropBox plan big enough it will help streamline your work:
Just share a DropBox folder and use that as a project folder with your client. That means your project is actively synced through DB cloud to everyone who belong to that DB group. Internet connection is needed of course for it to sync, but only occasional connection would suffice too, if you are on a laptop. Sync will happen right away when an active internet connection is found.

DropBox costs money though, but not as much what teamwork would cost. And you can terminate the service after you are done with the project. No files will be lost, just the syncing will terminate. But I bet you don't want revert back to working without it anymore 😉

We have worked this way for years already. Remote (covid caused) work is seamless this way, works great. Everything is being updated immediately after every save of the file. Every PLN, MOD or whatever is being updated too as fast as your internet speeds allow.

Libraries:
Only major nuisance is that if you need to occasionally open a file of your clients, you will need to assign libraries again. And then your clients need to do that too after you have saved your chenges. That's because you can't assign libraries relative to a given path, like your project folder. Libraries can only be assigned "fixed" to a path in your machine. On Mac that is username based hierarchy (/user/... On windows it is drive name based, normally C:..etc.

Another nuisance is that if your files are big, and you save too quickly after another save, you could see a warning about not beeing able to save. You can read about this here in AC Talk too. That has been purely a cosmetic thing though. No files have ever got lost because of using DB.

(There are other cloud based syncing tools too of course, just to mention I am not affiliated with DB in any way)

Fix for library paths:
Forum users have raised wishes for Graphisoft to allow relative paths for libraries, but that wish has not yet been realized. I hope it's on a wishlist and will happen in AC 25. My hopes are high on this, please note GS representatives.


Relative paths to libraries would not be so hard to implement? It would make cloud based non-teamwork workflows more streamlined and it would remove a major possibility for errors in that workflow. And save a lot of hassle and time. Teamwork, while great workflow, is not possible for everyone for various reasons. Thank You.
AC25, Rhino6/7+Grasshopper, TwinMotionMac Pro 6,1 E5-1650v2-3,5GHz/128GB/eGPU:6800XT/11.5.1 • HP Z440 E5-1650v3/256GB/RVII/W10Pro

Podolsky
Mentor
I like the way how searching of files is implemented in Maxwell Render: user has let say 10 fields to enter alternative paths where to look for files. It also could include internet protocols, like FTP (I don't know, does FTP supported now in ArchiCAD).
So, something similar can be in ArchiCAD in Library Manager and in Publisher set.

Barry Kelly
Moderator
mikas wrote:
DropBox costs money though, but not as much what teamwork would cost.

If I am not mistaken, BIMCloud Basic is free.
It doesn't have all of the features of BIMcloud (paid version) or BIMCloud as a Service.

Whether it works well or how hard it is to set up, I can't say.
But unless you have multiple people working on the same file at the same time, there is no need for it.

Dropbox can also be free - although that does limit your available cloud space allocation.


Barry.

One of the forum moderators.
Versions 6.5 to 25
Dell XPS- i7-6700 @ 3.4Ghz, 16GB ram, GeForce GTX 960 (2GB), Windows 10
Dell Precision 3510 - i7 6820HQ @ 2.70GHz, 16GB RAM, AMD FirePro W5130M, Windows 10

mikas
Advocate
That's all correct. I started with free DropBox 2GB, and eventually it went up to something like 10GB of storage through some affiliatory maneuvers. But that was not nearly enough for anything other than testing unfortunately. Had to buy the Pro version pretty quickly for real use.

While BimCloud comes as a free version too, it's license does not allow remote use. You are allowed to use it locally only (at least last time I checked it was the case).

With the BimCloud (=Pro, Standard, Paid for version) you would need a dedicated server for actual real use. BimServer eats resources quite a lot, and using a workstation for that would mean slowdowns, storage considerations, probably other inefficiences too, and if in real use it would mean that the workstation does not go to sleep nor is it being shut down. You would need CPU cores enough in that machine. And you'd have think about backups (=storage + some software running periodically).

Then there is the BimCloud AAS (=as a service), the GS hoasted cloud service. Can't say much about that. It's the most costly one, but probably the easiest of the TeamWorks to use there is available at the moment.
AC25, Rhino6/7+Grasshopper, TwinMotionMac Pro 6,1 E5-1650v2-3,5GHz/128GB/eGPU:6800XT/11.5.1 • HP Z440 E5-1650v3/256GB/RVII/W10Pro

Podolsky
Mentor
Okey, if talk about difference:

Standard ArchiCAD license (that costs around $5000) includes Teamwork. So, if you have Teamwork in your ArchiCAD menu - it's better to use it. Also exists ArchiCAD version cheaper - in different countries names might be varies - like ArchiCAD Solo, ArchiCAD Start Edition... It's only half price, but do not have Teamwork, there is no hotlinking there I think...

So, if you have full ArchiCAD license that includes Teamwork - then probably better to use it. BIM Server Basic is for free - but only software. You also need server where this BIM server will run. If everybody is sitting in one office - that is not a problem - you just have additional computer that running BIM Server. If there are people outside of the office - then server must have good Internet connection and act as regular server that is running web-sites. So if you understand IT - this is not a problem too - to switch computer to the online server mode. At least you must have good and stable internet connection where you server is going to be located.

Another option - have your own computer for BIM server - but locate it somewhere in datacenter of IT company. That actually works well - especially if you have good friends in this IT company, who would agree to locate your computer there and provide basic maintenance without robbing you.

Also it is possible to rent virtual server - on Amazon Elastic computing or Google (or any local company, who is renting servers - maybe goDaddy do that too). Then you have your server running somewhere on the cloud, you have remote access to it - and you can install there and run BIM Cloud server.

In all these cases - If you have decided to run BIM Cloud server - you can run it on the same machine where is your web-site translated. Because the way how BIM Cloud communicates and how web-site it translated - similar. Both using HTTP protocols.

Finally it is possible to rent BIM server from Graphisoft. I don't know how expensive it is.

To summarise - it's always better to use BIM server for team working (especially if you have full ArchiCAD license already). Even if you are working alone on the project - BIM server gives you excellent back-up functionality. Just necessary carefully to review financial part - how much will cost to spent on server and which options are available.

rob2218
Contributor
So...in MY specific case, the case which I'm targeting for here in this discussion...I have client who HAS a full blown USA version of the latest Archicad24.
I also have the full-blown version of AC24. They are both paid/bought/ versions...no shinnanigans here...

So...the client does also work in Archicad and he enters and butchers files, then I have to go in and fix them all, make sure views, wall cleanups, strange occurances, in addition to setups and design, I to.

In the past we have merely either saved PLA's or just sent back and forth the latest PLN and we link libraries to the PLN that resides in my system (or his depending on who is working on the latest PLN at the time of project task).

So...fast forward to NOW!.....we have a project that will have SIX residential Unit types. An "A" type and a "B" type. Each of these types will have THREE different model fascades, in essence...3 models for each 2 types of plans. hence....SIX different PLN models.
All of the stories will be the EXACT same. All of the models will reside in the exact same datum height.

Now...the only confusion I have is...
a) I've developed the SIX units already. Each unit has two stories and a roof and foundation.
b) I've so far, sent the client just the SIX pln's back and forth....but at some point we will have to place these individual PLN's "on" a master PLN site file.
c) also..at somepoint we will need to begin to setup layouts, sheets, viewmaps...etc...Q. is this done "ON" the master PLN site file or do I setup the sheets and viewmaps in ALL six PLN unit files?
d) Hence my confusion in 'hotlinking' these individual PLNs.

As a side note. I worked on an apartment unit way back in Archicad. Seems the 'unit floor plans' were drawn in some specified lower story setting (say below the 0'-0" level..say story settin -100'-0" for the first floor of the units and story setting -92'-0" for the 2nd floor of the unit plan - minus 92 because, well the 2nd floor is 8 feet higher than the 1st floor).

Again, I'm offering this up here as an option as well. Anyone on here who can host/sponser (for pay of course we can work out some sort of monthly payment plan) a server that can support the Teamwork functionality, be reliably UP all the time, (no down-times) and in some instance assist with user defined setups would greatly be appreciated if you know of a company/person who can provide this service.

that's all I got for now.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

rob2218
Contributor
@Mikas.

My only concern about using "Dropbox" as THE holding site for an important BIM project is....it's realiability.
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a company who knows nothing about how BIM works nor Teamworks, nor architecture, placing my full trust with all my projects on this particular task INSIDE their DropBox servers.

Besides....Dropbox was and STILL is designed as a "TEMPORARY HOLDING" site where you put a file or folder, upload it and download it and be done with it................NOT as a site to permanently house important architectural 3d complicated database models.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

mikas
Advocate
You are right. They certainly are not a BIM or not in anyway architecture related company. They are a general purpose cloud sharing service. They offer a shared storage resource to all team members invited to take part of that resource.

That said, it can easily be deployed by an architectural company like us. We are a small size company, and I don't necessarily recommend this approach to a large company. At least I don't know enough to do that. For us it's a time saver and worth every penny. All our works are in the cloud now. I drove this approach through, because it was getting a pain in the *** to keep track of everything and to maintain and back up our own file server (by me as a matter of fact).

This solution is not an answer to everything and for everyone by no means. The benfits against a dedicated file server machine are, that you are almost realtime up to date with everything there is to a project (if there is internet access that is). And you have a backup, and kind of a 3 month "time machine" too, with dropbox at least you do.

It's like you would use the same hard drive, all in your team. That would work if you trust each other, and every member does a little bit of understanding and try not to mess up as fast as possible. ArchiCAD won't let you open a save-able file simultaneously with another user, but not sure about every other software there is in the world.

I can think of a larger and more heterogenous groups to mess it all so bad, that an admin would have to work hard sometimes to recover messed up files and locations. We are a six person company, and maybe a few times I have had to recover a few files. That's all. But that error would have happened anyway, just on their own workstations. It's mostly a matter of discipline and other file hygiene habbits you have developed and committed to.

ps. I did try iCloud too, but at that time it was not so streamlined that DropBox appeared to be. Haven't tried OneDrive though, I do have an account. Maybe someone has done that too already?
AC25, Rhino6/7+Grasshopper, TwinMotionMac Pro 6,1 E5-1650v2-3,5GHz/128GB/eGPU:6800XT/11.5.1 • HP Z440 E5-1650v3/256GB/RVII/W10Pro

rob2218
Contributor
thank you for your insight into DropBox and how your firm uses it with Archicad.
Six person firm is "not" that small.........and it seems to be working for you all.

I may just give this some thought this weekend. Right now its only myself and the other architect (client) whom we will be using the files.

So...my question is...
1) do you actually access and USE the PLN while on the DropBox folder? As you are working? if so...what's the time lag of syncing the files?
2) Can you describe the setup a bit more? meaning...you put up a file on the DropBox (a PLN let's say) and then what...you can hotlink other PLNs to a master PLN "all" while being 'ON' the Dropbox folder?

thanks for the help.
...Bobby Hollywood live from...

i>u

Edgewater, FL!

SOFTWARE VERSION:

Archicad 22, Archicad 23

Windows7 -OS, MAC Maverick OS

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