3D design is an interesting field of work, but one that’s evolving rapidly. Improving developer productivity is an immediate need for designers and architects, who look to apply intelligently customized industry best practices to work better. In order to appease the special requirements of these designers or architects, customization comes into the picture.
Designers of computer-aided design would be aware of the popularity of Revit and AutoCAD. Both these softwares are owned by Autodesk and have been developed to meet the needs of designers, but their varying architecture sets them apart. If you are planning to write any utility on both AutoCAD and Revit, then, you would definitely benefit from our blog.
Custom Applications in AutoCAD & Revit
Both AutoCAD, as well as Revit, provide APIs, using which we can write custom applications to suit our requirements and make it most compatible to be used in our process or system. However, the entire underlying principles, workflows, and paradigms for both software are completely different.
At nCircle Tech, we have experienced customization through both, AutoCAD as well as Revit customization. Read along to know more about our experience.
AutoCAD gives developers more freedom to customize with the AutoCAD database and its elements. Here’s why in works:
- The AutoCAD architecture comprises of a Customize User Interface (CUI), which enables you to dovetail your drawing environment to suit your requirements. You can customize AutoCAD as you want.
- AutoCAD is a boundary representation (B-REP) based geometry, which uses a combination of precise geometry and boundary topology to represent objects such as solids, surfaces, and wires.
- AutoCAD enables you to create your geometry easily and use it efficiently to create lines, arcs, circles, polylines and splines. Even complex objects such as Layers, Groups, Blocks and Xref’s can be easily created and used
- AutoCAD Customization uses C++ for an API, which can boost the performance of AutoCAD while rendering or during geometric calculations.
- AutoCAD is command-driven, which means all methods of interacting with the program are with commands – whether through the ribbon, menus, toolbars or command line. (There is also web version of AutoCAD which can be accessed on http://autocad.io/)
Customizing AutoCAD has several benefits, but users looking to use it for parametric geometry may not be able to get desired results. Though the Parametric Constraint feature has been added to AutoCAD 2010, parametric geometry can be tricky in AutoCAD. Additionally, AutoCAD does not support scheduling/estimations by default.
In the Revit API, all elements are completely parametrically driven and everything is tightly linked to everything else. Its API has incredibly efficient and powerful functionalities that need to be understood in depth before starting to customize it. Here’s a brief lowdown on the same:
- We can customize either the entire Revit UI workflow or a part of it
- We can customize this workflow by adding extra constraints but we cannot bypass the basic required constraints of Revit (i.e BIM)
- We need to create a separate geometry with proper templates for its definition and then import it into our project for use
- Revit uses BREP but does not have API exposed to full extents of it (Revit 2017 will have BREPUtils which should make this easier)
- Users can design real-world entities using Revit, as it helps create parameterized geometry and allows making changes to the geometry according to the parameters
- The performance of Revit decreases exponentially with the higher number of entities present in the project
- The journaling feature of Revit can be used to drive it via scripts because Revit cannot be driven by commands
- Revit supports Scheduling, Estimations, and work-sharing, which are unique and useful features for any design workflow. You can hence, automate work-sharing by synchronizing information to a central file located on the server, while others go on to use multiple devices for their respective work.
There are many more similarities and dis-similarities between AutoCAD and Revit Customization. We tried to come up with a few of our observations, based on our experiences. Please feel free to drop in your experiences or thoughts around AutoCAD v/s Revit customization.
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nCircle Tech (inCorporated in 2012) empowers passionate innovators to create impactful 3D visualization software for desktop, mobile and cloud. Our domain expertise in CAD-BIM customization driving automation with the ability to integrate advanced technologies like AI/ML and VR/AR; empowers our clients to reduce time to market and meet business goals. nCircle has a proven track record of technology consulting and advisory services for the AEC and Manufacturing industry across the globe. Our team of dedicated engineers, partner ecosystem and industry veterans are on a mission to redefine how you design and visualize.
Over the last 7+ years, the organisation has worked on more than 150 large and complex projects for 50+ customers across 15+ countries