Light tables and magnifying glasses retired. MicroStation V8 models can now be compared automatically!

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Clearwater, Florida, USA — Axiom announces the release of a new version of DgnCompare that compares models inside MicroStation V8 design files. The automatic comparison of models is actually a very important milestone in quality assurance. What makes this release so vital for V8 users?

To answer that, a brief examination of the current situation is in order. Designers who are used to overlaying plots to visually scan elements for minute changes have realized that it is time-consuming and inaccurate. What’s more, level modifications and dropped complex elements do not show up on a plot and visually checking even one intricate model can take a highly paid employee off production for hours.

Comparing two MicroStation files against each other became even more complex with the introduction of models into MicroStation V8. Models are sub-components contained in a design file and can even be complete drawings in themselves. Any software program that compares design files in MicroStation V8 must have the ability to match up similar models and compare them, element by element. With the addition of model support in Axiom’s new release of DgnCompare, it is now possible to have complete control over the comparison of all files, models and elements in MicroStation V8.

DgnCompare now has the ability to compare design files by automatically matching model names and model types between selected files. A list of files and models is displayed in a table format. The user selects the models to compare and clicks on the <Start> button. The compare process can be run unattended in batch or in interactive mode. DgnCompare analyzes elements in the selected models being compared against each other. For example, when comparing a more recent version of a model with an older version of the same model, DgnCompare detects and reports on new, modified and deleted elements. The report is optionally generated in two formats, a MicroStation design report (a design file showing differences) or a text file listing the elements that were added, modified or deleted. DgnCompare has four modes:

DgnCompare has multiple modes that can be used to get the exact result needed when comparing design files or models.

  • Compare Active Model (compare a file’s active model against selected files). This builds a list that matches the active model in an open design file against all models in all selected files. This list is displayed in a dialog box. The dialog box shows a grid that lists the design files, the model names, the size of each file or model and the date and time each file or model was modified. This dialog box also shows, at a glance, which models are newer, older or have no match based on their name. From this list, the user tags (selects for processing, shown by the check mark in the far left column) the models that he wants to compare.
  • This shows DgnCompare’s “Compare Active Model” mode with two lines tagged. The model “nut” on the left side will be compared against models “Nut Metric 10mm” and “Nut Metric 9mm” on the right side.

  • Compare Active File (compare all models in the open design file against models in selected files). The models with the same name will be displayed in the model list dialog box. Simply tag the models to compare.
  • This dialog box shows DgnCompare’s “Compare Active File” mode. The open design file is shown on the left side and the file chosen to compare against is shown on the right side. DgnCompare displays models with the same name on the same line. Models that don’t exist in one of the files are shown with blank fields in the adjacent columns (orphan fields).

  • Compare Selected Files (compare a selected set of files against another selected set of files). This mode is used to compare files with other files that have matching file and model names. It allows the selection of many files to compare in batch mode.
  • Compare Models Listed in a Text File (compare files and models from a list in a text file). An input text file is read by DgnCompare to build a list of models to compare. Using an input file temporarily disables DgnCompare‘s logic to match models in the model list dialog. The model list dialog then displays files and models as defined in the list file. This leaves the definition of what files and models are compared against other files and models to the user’s discretion. In other words, any files and models can be compared against any other files and models using this mode.

After choosing which files to compare and which mode to use, the user can then filter the models to compare by model type or model name. This will reduce the number of entries shown in the model list generated by DgnCompare. The default option is “All Models”. The other choices are “Default Model”, “Design Models” or “Sheet Models”.
The “Model names filter” lets users filter and select models by model name. For example, using wildcards, users can compare all models that start with “exist*” or all sheet models that have the model name “sht*”.

The “Model names filter” has the ability to limit which models are listed in the model list dialog box. Only the models that match the model name filter and model type selection will be displayed in the model list dialog box.

DgnCompare uses the data provided by the user for input files, model filter and mode to build a list of files to compare. It displays the list in a dialog box.
The dialog box displays a list of files and models to compare. DgnCompare matches file names and model names on the left side of the dialog box to files and models with the same names on the right side of the dialog box. The list displays models using different colors for size differences, date differences, empty models and orphan models. An orphan model is a model name that does not match any models on the opposite side of the list.

This is where you define the colors to use in the model list dialog box.

After tagging the desired models to compare, simply clicking on the <Start> button will begin the compare process.

DgnCompare displays a list of models on the left side and another list on the right side. Only the tagged models (shown with a check mark in the left most columns) will be compared to each other.

When the compare process is complete, an information dialog will display showing the number of models and elements processed. The list of models will now display an equal or not-equal sign to show which models are the same or different. The user can highlight the line in the dialog box and click on the appropriate button to view the text report, the design report or the original models that were compared.

In this example, models with all elements matching are shown with a blue equal sign between the model names. If a model has any elements that have been added, deleted or modified, this is shown by a red not-equals sign between the two versions of the model.

Clicking on the <View Design Report> button will minimize the dialog box and display the design report that graphically shows the design file differences in a separate MicroStation design file. The design report shows the differences detected by comparing the model on the left side of the model list dialog against the model directly to the right of it. By default, elements that are unchanged are displayed as white elements, deleted elements are red, modified elements are yellow and new elements are green.

DgnCompare also boasts a new interface that makes it easy to see the differences between several models in multiple copies of design files. Users no longer have to make a “best guess” by looking at the file time and date as the only criteria. Users don’t have to keep several copies of a file just because they are unsure if they made changes to one of them. Other uses include viewing the changes made by a consultant or checking up on the work of an engineer (or drafter) in training. CAD managers with a new CAD technician can check how much work he completed today. Comparing design files is no longer a big deal!

Across the MicroStation world, CAD users are tossing out their old magnifying glasses and light tables and replacing them with DgnCompare.

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