Are your CAD standards being violated?

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SpecChecker and RuleManager work together to make life easy.

Clearwater, Florida, USA — Do you have a need to ensure that all your MicroStation files meet all your or your client’s CAD standards? Would you like to avoid the time it takes to manually proofread each design file? Whether the project standards changed after the project started or you need to correct an error or standards violation that was repeated in more than one place, making changes to dozens, hundreds or thousands of files is time-consuming, if you have to do it manually.

One company had an 80% design file rejection rate for violations of specifications. By using SpecChecker and RuleManager (included free with every copy of SpecChecker) they were able to reduce this down to 2%, saving both time and money for the company.

With RuleManager, you can get a jump-start on enforcing your CAD standards. SpecChecker uses what it calls “rules files” to ensure your design files meet your standards. Rules files are text files that are a representation of your CAD standards in a form that SpecChecker can automatically enforce.

The easiest way to create a rules file of your own is to let RuleManager create one automatically from one or more existing design files. Just point RuleManager at one or more design files that already follow your CAD standards and RuleManager will automatically generate a rules file based on the “good” design file or files you fed it. Below are the steps on how to do this.

Creating a rules file from one or more known good design files
For this example, I’ll use a design file delivered with SpecChecker for V8. You can, of course, use your own design files. I’ll assume this is the first time you’ve run RuleManager.

  1. Open the SpecChecker sample file “checker.dgn” in MicroStation V8. It is most likely found in “C:Program FilesAxiomV8CheckerSample”.
  2. Load RuleManager from your Axiom menu in MicroStation.

    Notice in the “Rules File:” field that RuleManager has already proposed a rules file name based upon the name of your active design file but with an extension of “.rul”. This is perfect. Leave it this way.

    You will also see that the “Action:” option button is already set to “Automatic design file analysis and rule generation”. This is the action we want to perform so leave it this way.

    Finally, notice that the “Models:” option button is already set to “Active model”. This is how we want it for this example, so leave it this way as we will be processing the active model of the active design file you opened in step 1. You can process whatever models you want when you do this with your production files.

    When you fire up RuleManager, it automatically proposes a rules file name based on the name of your active design file, except that it will have an extension of '.rul'.

    When you fire up RuleManager, it automatically proposes a rules file name based on the name of your active design file, except that it will have an extension of “.rul”.

    What many clients do is create a single-model design file that contains elements that represent every legal combination of element characteristics allowed by their CAD standards. They often set these up in a grid in one model of the design file. Each box (shape element) in the grid contains elements that represent each legal combination of element characteristics for one level right out of the CAD standards. If you create a design file like this for your own RuleManager use, be sure to use level and symbology settings for these boxes (shape elements) that match your CAD standard. For example, if your CAD standards allowed only “text elements” (no other element types) of “color 4” (no other colors) on the level “FLOORPLAN”, you would place a color 4 text element on the level FLOORPLAN in one box of the grid.

  3. Now press <Start> in RuleManager’s main dialog box.

RuleManager’s automatic design file analysis and rule generation is very fast. When it’s done, you’ll get a message saying that rule file generation has been completed.

After automatically generating a rules file based on elements in your “good” design file or files, RuleManager will notify you that your rules file generation has been completed.

After automatically generating a rules file based on elements in your “good” design file or files, RuleManager will notify you that your rules file generation has been completed.

Now you can take that rules file (named “checker.rul” in this example) and use it with SpecChecker to check other design files for compliance with your standards. You simply tell SpecChecker which rules file to use and which design files to check for CAD standards compliance using that rules file.

Remember that SpecChecker can only enforce a standard that it knows about. So the ideal scene is to create a rules file from a design file or set of files that contain elements reflecting every aspect of your standard that you need to enforce. We’ve found that some customers already maintain a design file or files like the one described above for their own purposes. So, when they get SpecChecker and RuleManager, they already have a huge head start on things. If you don’t already have such a design file, we highly recommend you create one. It’s not a must, but it could be quite a big help.

After you create your rules file automatically, rest assured that you can always fine-tune it using RuleManager or any text editor.

All customers are entitled to instructor-led training on their Axiom software via the Internet. If you need help creating or fine-tuning your rules files, contact Axiom and ask about receiving Maintenance Plus training from an Axiom expert at no additional cost to you.

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