Slinger's Thoughts

January 16, 2008

AutoCAD and SharePoint

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — slingeronline @ 4:27 pm

Ran into an interesting set of issues that I needed to fix for our users before we move our site into production.  The first problem was xref files in AutoCAD.  Our company is starting to get into 3D modeling and for their design issues, some AutoCAD files will have a lot of xref drawings embedded.  Great! Xref’s reside on the Network Shared drives though. Crap!  Well I happened upon a possible solution by accident.  I couldn’t point the xref in each drawing to the full URL of each xref drawing, AutoCAD didn’t like that.  I looked at the document library where the xref drawings were uploaded in the “Explorer View” and used that.  Worked like a charm.  For example, instead of http://your server name/document library/file name, I would use \\your server name.com\document library\file name.  That worked great here from the office at least. I haven’t tried it at home to see if our remote users would have an issue, but it’s a start to move our users away from the Network folders.  (We are trying really hard to do so, and it almost seems like our users have an addiction to the Network folder structure like it was crack to them.  I need to start a 12 step program for my poor user base.)  Well that was fantastic, but I encountered another issue when I bragged to one of our CAD users about getting it to work.

She went to the “playground” area I have set up on our MOSS server, and clicked on the file I asked her to, and she got a white screen in Internet Explorer.  That’s it.  Didn’t download the file, didn’t open the file, nothing.  She tried to right click and save as, and it almost worked.  It opened up AutoCAD on her workstation, but then it asked her which file to open.  After asking some of my compatriots here at the IT dept, it may be an issue with MIME types in IIS.  So I tried it.  Go into your MOSS server, and into the IIS management console. Right click on the second item from the top in the navigation pane, labelled whatever you named your server when it was set up. (Ours is Hades, long story.) and go to “Properties.” In the window that pops up, near the bottom, click the “MIME Types” button. In the “MIME Types” window that pops up, see if the “.dwg” extension is there. (You may need to also add “.dwf”) On our server the .dwf extension was there, but the dwg extension was not. So I added it, using the dwf extension as an example.  That didn’t work.  I hunted around online and found another way to set the MIME Type, so instead of setting the MIME Type to “drawing/x-dwg,” I set it to “image/vnd.dwg.”  Still no luck.  This is getting really frustrating.  Especially since it works on my machine, but not on my users’ machines.  I thought there was something to that, so I look in a users Internet Explorer options and check the Add-ons loaded.  There is one labelled DWGIVIEWCtrl.  I disabled it, and asked a user to try it.  Well now IE doesn’t want to do anything, since it seems to think it needs that file.  So that doesn’t work.  (It should be noted, that I checked on my computer, that works, and this ActiveX control is not loaded. Hell it doesn’t even exist. I don’t know why.) Next thing to try is the DocIcon.xml file located on your MOSS Server in Program Files/Common Files/Microsoft Shared/web server extensions/12/TEMPLATE/XML I added the following code to the line where I added the DWG icon.   <Mapping Key=”dwg” Value=”DWGicon_full_2007.gif” OpenControl=”SharePoint.OpenDocuments“/> Of course it should be noted that each time I make a change, I test it on my machine to make sure that it at least still works for me. And according to my CAD user, still nothing.  I’m about to the point I suggest dumping AutoCAD altogether.  It should be clearly labelled, “Does not play well with others.” It’s the end of the day now, so I’m going to go home, and try this again with a fresh mind tomorrow. Wish me luck. If someone else has an answer, throw it into a comment. (Incidentally, I recommend that every SharePoint or MOSS Admin have a “playground” or “sandbox” area set up for testing.  Set it up in the same site collection as the rest of your environment, so that everything is running on the same set of features.  Don’t give out any access rights to it, unless those individuals are helping you in the development or testing of functionality or features.)

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20 Comments »

  1. Hi slinger.
    I work as a sharepoint tech for an engineering company. We’re using organice to handle our autocad integration with sharepoint. (I dont work for them just find it good software). It’s client side software handles xrefs well including notifying others users when an xref has been been changed.

    Comment by gavinadams — January 16, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  2. yeah, I looked into that software, and CADtoWIN, and a few others. Working in an energy industry, and our users are jsut starting out on SharePoint, I don’t want to hit them with another piece of software that they have to learn, in Organice. They are already pretty loaded with “new” stuff to learn with SharePoint, and Coade’s CADWorks, and they are also increasing the deployment of FlexCAD. There needs to be a solution that isn’t a separate piece of software, but is more like a plug-in.

    Comment by slinger — January 17, 2008 @ 6:58 am

    • We are in the same boat. Thanks for the posting. I was truly frustrated myself and I’m so glad I came across your article. What a life savor. We too are just starting out and don’t want to hit them with another piece of software to learn. Its already been a bit of an overwhelming process for them as it is.

      Comment by Craig Wales — August 30, 2011 @ 9:45 am

  3. check out cadnection, its new. http://www.CADnection.com

    Comment by Nomar — January 24, 2008 @ 1:26 am

  4. Check out our product, ShareCAD. It automatically uploads/downloads XRefs with a DWG file within SharePoint. It is not perfect or complete except in our hosted versions. Let me know what you think!

    Comment by James — February 12, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  5. In my experience the best SharePoint tool to deal with CAD drawings is CADnection which is the only one that really works with the x-refs and seems to really understasnd CAD.

    Ask Officetalk for a demonstration http://www.office-talk.com/pages/cadnection.html

    Comment by Andy Dale — June 27, 2008 @ 2:59 am

  6. well, it looks like there are many different options that are available; Organice, CadtoSharePoint, CADNection, ShareCAD, etc. Each one has advantages and disadvantages. Not a single one of them deals with the DWG True View issue that AutoCAD doesn’t think is a problem. So far the only fixes to that are registry edits. I’d like a better solution.

    Comment by slinger — July 1, 2008 @ 6:41 am

  7. Hi Slinger,
    You can launch AutoCAD drawings from SharePoint sites using our CADtoSharePoint plugin demo. After installing it, just follow the readme instructions.

    Comment by Raul — July 5, 2008 @ 6:02 pm

    • hello i have followed the instructions and i am unable to find the installation directory can u help me with the location

      Comment by saikiran — September 3, 2014 @ 10:32 pm

  8. We do this! Our solution, CADnection, is basically a plug-in to AutoCAD. It is not another application you have to load, learn, and manage. It is present inside AutoCAD and interacts directly with SharePoint.

    While our solution does not solve your problem with TrueView, it does provide another option. CADnection supports easy use of the DWF files as a way for non-AutoCAD users to view drawings from SharePoint.

    If you want to know more, feel free to contact me and we can discuss some of your likes and dislikes of our solution. Good ideas are always welcome!

    Comment by Michael — July 23, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

  9. To follow up on my previous comment, there is a review of CADnectionin in the October 2008 issue (Volum 14, Issue 2) of Desktop Engineering. It was written by Richard Bourke and offers insights into the important features of CADnection and its seamless integration between Autodesk and SharePoint. Check it out at http://www.deskeng.com/articles/aaamak.htm.
    Thanks,
    Michael

    Comment by Michael — October 9, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  10. We have tried CADnection, CAD-to-SharePoint and found that Organice is a better solution for our SharePoint environment. It also integrates with MS Office enabling the user to do document automation.

    Comment by Brian — September 29, 2010 @ 8:48 am

  11. Anther product plug :) We (PTC) also have a SharePoint based solution for managing AutoCAD (and other CAD data) called “ProductPoint” which extends SharePoint to be able to manage structured data (i.e. XREFs) and provides a front end to SharePoint more tailored towards engineering needs. The AutoCAD plugin allows you to save directly to/open from SharePoint using the native open/save commands – so no additional Check In/Check Out type commands to learn. We have a beta program going on at present for the upcoming release which extends the existing AutoCAD integration. I would be interested in hearing from anyone interested taking a look.

    Comment by Neil Taylor — September 30, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  12. Can anyone tell me which one of the products mentioned is comparable to Autodesk Buzzsaw?

    Comment by Nedra — October 1, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    • None of them really. Buzzsaw doesn’t allow collaboration on anything except AutoCAD products, and even Buzzsaw won’t solve any problems if you have ever installed DWGTtrueView. So the problems that SharePoint people are having with AutoCAD, is not solved by using BuzzSaw. And BuzzSaw does not integrate with any other platforms, such as Documentum, Alchemy, etc.

      Comment by slinger — October 1, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  13. Have you looked at Adeptol’s AJAX Document Viewer which allows you to view AutoCAD files in Sharepoint.
    See http://www.ajaxdocumentviewer.com

    Comment by cary — June 23, 2011 @ 5:25 am

  14. Have a look at the Formtek EDM Module and connector for AutoCad which is used in connection with Alfresco

    http://www.formtek.com/products/alfresco_edm.shtml

    There is a webinar available from the alfresco site at http://blogs.alfresco.com/wp/webcasts/

    Comment by Karl Nixon — June 23, 2011 @ 5:32 am

  15. I know that this is an old post, but there is a simple fix for this problem that doesn’t involve ANY third party software.

    The way to fix your users problem is actually a simple registry edit on the client machine (not so great either on a network with many users but…).

    First of all, I’ll go over what’s happening on your client machine. In short, if any version of DWG TrueView is loaded on a client machine (we tested up to 2010 last time I ran into this issue) you’ll get this issue. Basically, TruView loads an IE plugin that attempts to become the default file handler for DWG files opened from the internet. It fails miserably leaving the user staring at a blank page in IE. Extremely unhelpful.

    You can disable this behaviour though withou uninstalling TrueView without breaking its other useful functions (such as giving the user the ability to convert files to earlier versions of AutoCAD whic they may not have installed on their machine).

    The registry fix is:-

    Start REGEDIT and navigate to the following key:

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{6C7DC044-FB1E-4140-9223-052E5ABE7D24}\EnableFullPage

    Then change the name or delete the key. For example I changed it to:-

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{6C7DC044-FB1E-4140-9223-052E5ABE7D24}\EnableFullPageDISABLED

    This is fuly reversable – just rename the key back again if you want to restore the prior behaviour.

    Note that you wil need to close all browser windows and open a fresh one for the change to apply.

    Once implemented, the user will see the more usual File Open/Save prompt from IE.

    Comment by Glenn Laugesen — August 14, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  16. dear all, i have to implement sharepoint with autocad too, without the need to instal other software. Can anyone point me in the right direction? are their any instructions available ?

    Comment by Nicolas — July 6, 2013 @ 8:07 pm


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