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File Saving/Organizing Question

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jfleming, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    Where I used to work (with SolidWorks) we saved everything in a Windows project directory on a shared drive and it was FUBAR until they installed the Enovia PDM system. (Maybe some of you have experience with it.) Everything was ECO controlled and went into the vault. It made things easier for saving files out at each revision since Enovia tracked versions, revisions and the release state of the file(s). All files that were gotten out of the vault were read-only and if a change was needed the file was checked out, changes made, then checked back in at the next revision level before being released to an active state.

    I'm not saying we need something as expensive (over-priced) as Enovia but didn't Alibre have a vaulting system for a while and would that solve some of the issues that are being discussed? Would it make sense to have a vault and what would it take to re-implement it?

    It sounds like Lew has a system that works for his needs but you need to be on top of your game to make sure you don't save a new version over the top of an older one. And it sounds like you would end up needing a lot of storage space, especially if all standard hardware gets copied into each project folder. That seems like a lot of duplication of files.
    Mika likes this.
  2. jfnewman

    jfnewman Member

    In the early days of Alibre it had a very simple PDM built in that would track version of parts/assembly etc. and you could recall a different version of an item at notes and I believe you could have release status or something similar to that idea.
  3. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Hi Harold -- While am not saying it is trivial, but so long as you create a "Project Zip File" at each "release," you have a "version" that may easily be restored. Now, mind you, my Design Files get names that "evolve" such as 20E00160 Gonkulator Assy -- Rev C which will become 20E00160 Gonkulator Assy -- Rev D at the "next Revision level." The hardest part is renaming Part and Assembly files and "restoring" them into the Project Model Tree. Could we rename files from within the context of the used on Assembly within a Project, we would be much further along a Project Management path. -- Lew
  4. jfnewman

    jfnewman Member

  5. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    jfnewman likes this.
  6. Mika

    Mika Senior Member

    I dont know about Alibre future plans, but I would like to see that old Vault to remake something same alike what out Finnish software Vertex G4 is doing. They have that Vertex "Flow" built in to the design system and that's great. (Lightweight version built in, but possible to buy more wider license of it if needed)


    This comes a little bit in to Alibre strategy...is it going to be always targeted to small companies and hobbyists...or do Alibre have any bigger goals?
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  7. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    I hope too that something is worked on in future versions, even though I know it's a difficult one to solve. Just look at Solidworks, they've just moved from the not-so-old Solidworks Explorer to a newer Solidworks File Utilities for 2020, so it's not an issue isolated to Alibre!
  8. sz0k30

    sz0k30 Senior Member

    Giant companies like: GM, Ford, Boeing, General Dynamics etc. have much different needs, numbers of users and $$$'s. They can afford to have systems that charge thousands of dollars per seat. They have to pay big $$$'s for constant maintenance, on site support, training and giant databases. Companies like: NX, Catia and others.

    I don't see any way Alibre can compete on that level. They are at a level that fits their market - small companies, individual users and hobbyists like me.

    Many Alibre users already complain about the maintenance costs. If they aspired to go bigger it would probably price out many current users. Then what?
    bigseb, Mika and simonb65 like this.
  9. GIOV

    GIOV Alibre Super User

    For my point of view Simple,

    Rhinoceros plus some add-in and my professional software give more than Alibre and without maintenance cost. In the particular case of Rhinoceros they only give extra charges when you buy a new version but ever you get updates. I do like this management for Alibre. I don't like they send an anticipate invoice for renew your maintenance saying if you don't pay you will charge with extra cost. Like you are a perpetual agreement with they and it is not my case of to be customer. In my opinion they have to have sent an advance notice and proposal for the renewal but not an advance invoice. As a small company with 14 years of existence I have never done that. I find it a very bad company policy. I came back to Alibre Design for the team and for the Hurricane Harvey as help. Alibre Design not gives so much improvement that urgent I need for my little company. I do like Alibre Design make the quality jump in Features. For example in 2D&3D sketches Divide with reference points lines curves and splines... nothing, 3D Sketch surface developable or no developable with the chance of apply thickness, Nothing, Hydrostatics of solid, Nothing, Loft still has so many issues. The AD11 had in Assemble Workspace assemble rotate with vector X, Y&Z and now nothing.... Only Hoops like a cosmetics graphics things that aren't my particular priorities and mechanical constraint that you need give the exactly radio and peach for right behavior. It is a cosmetic constraint! They need only focus in OpenGL and Direct X nothing more and more Real Features..So Alibre Design should to gain the trust of your clients in concrete facts so that their service is a real contribution to the development of your clients, especially the historical ones that at the same time will translate into the development of the company itself made in USA & Texas.

    I am seriously evaluating my renewal as a client.

    Hope Alibre Design goes forward with me or without me as customer.


  10. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    There is a huge area in between those extremes.

    I worked at a $100 million company doing product design, and Alibre would have been a good fit if it had existed back then. 250 employees total, about half in the R&D plus manufacturing area where I was. They went with Pro-E and later switched to Solidworks. Nothing done there would have needed more than the current Alibre capabilities.

    But there was a separate PDM system that was used. I did not do CAD there, the CAD folks worked for me as-needed with designs. The only CAD I did was to illustrate what I wanted when sending to them.

    The BIG DEAL about that is that the current way Alibre works with files is simply totally unacceptable to even a company lower on the ladder than that level of user. There has to be some basic file discipline built-in to Alibre, as a minimum.

    Frankly, it is "almost unacceptable" to me as an independent designer. I have to "fight" Alibre to get things how I want them, and if I let up for a second, Alibre will mess me up.

    Read-only Library directory, and "project directories" are just a basic minimum to make the program "credible" to anyone but the typical undisciplined hobby user.

    The way Alibre is, I would get rid of it in favor of a different program except for the cost and the large number of files already in Alibre format. I could keep reading the files OK, but the cost of switching is significant.

    And, of course, there is the continuing carrot out there that the needed basic stuff will show up before too long.
    Mika likes this.
  11. Mika

    Mika Senior Member

    This file management thing was one of the causes why I didnt continue my Alibre subscription. I'm doing my product development mainly again with Fusion360, less headache.
  12. simonb65

    simonb65 Alibre Super User

    I've worked for one of the largest construction manufacturers in the world and they use a Free file versioning system. Most of my $$$$ software development tools don't manage files, they rely on external tool (many of which are open source or free) It doesn't have to be fully integrated, it doesn't have to be expensive it just needs some planning by the user.

    For hobbyists it probably not an issue (if it is you should look at some of the free tools small businesses use or just get organised with a simple file system).

    The small business managing Alibre files is one small part in a bigger file managment plan (if its not in your business ... it should be). How do you manage you Word/Excel/Visio/Invoices/Quotes/Project Plans/Requirements/Test plans/Correspondance/Project files/Datasheets, etc. Then there are backups, data replication.

    Larger businesses, they will already have systems (i.e. Agile, PLM, Perforce, etc) in place, so not an issue.

    So, for Alibre I wouldn't ask for yet another file management solution other than Copy and Move a file (plus its dependencies), which is what the new Solidworks system does. For version control, I would like to see the interface to existing free third party products like CVS or SVN ... which is what most other tools I use provide (then you have the option use it or not).
  13. Mika

    Mika Senior Member

    Does any of available PDM systems support Alibre files?
  14. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    [QUOTE="simonb65, post: 143604, member: 12951............
    So, for Alibre I wouldn't ask for yet another file management solution other than Copy and Move a file (plus its dependencies), which is what the new Solidworks system does. For version control, I would like to see the interface to existing free third party products like CVS or SVN ... which is what most other tools I use provide (then you have the option use it or not).[/QUOTE]

    PLEASE DO NOT CONFUSE THE ISSUE BY MAKING IT INTO A HUGE DEAL WITH TONS OF DEVELOPMENT! It isn't, and that just makes a lot of side arguments, plus gets the basic idea thrown away as "not in our core business".


    Anyone who wants PDM can get it from some outside source, Alibre should NOT try to duplicate any such thing. Alibre would definitely "do it wrong" according to 90 percent of users, so let the users choose their own.

    WHAT IS NEEDED in Alibre is really really SIMPLE. It amounts to some pretty simple file management changes. Most of this already exists within the program, but is not used this way now.

    1) GET RID OF (or allow an alternate to) the system that AUTOMATICALLY stores a file in the same place that the function last stored a file....... let the user set up the default for file storage and retrieval to go to /come from as a default. (this just lets the user automatically populate the list that exists now)

    .....1a) Let the user pick from the last 10 locations, just like the last 10 files, and/or browse for the new default location when setting it up

    .....1b) Possibly ASK "do you want XXXX directory to be your default?" if that is not the current working directory, and not the library.

    ..........1b/1) or make a formal "change working directory" command, to avoid getting annoying questions every time.

    .....1c) Allow retrievals from elsewhere, but do not make that change the default. Default stays same until changed (or until the system of defaults is turned off)

    2) ALLOW a "real library", which is one that is read-only within the program, so that things do not get modified and stored-back unless that is intended.. (this just adds an entry to the existing display you see when adding a part or opening a new model, and does NOT change the working directory.)

    .....2a) DO NOT force a save of anything back to the library, send it to the working directory even if it came from the library

    .....2b) DO NOT change to the library as working directory, stay in the current directory even after a file retrieval from the library

    .....2c) Allow a save to the library ONLY if that is intentionally selected, and if saving will over-write a file, ask if that is intended.

    .....2d) let user set and change the library path for any project

    3) Let the library path (for assemblies) and the working directory be stored in the model info, so that the user gets those as the default when opening the file. (not sure if some form of this exists or not, but it seems reasonable, especially so that client libraries do not get mixed)

    4) POSSIBLY MAKE IT OPTIONAL: Let the user stay with the goofy way it works now if they prefer, or choose the other system.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
    BeEdHa likes this.
  15. HaroldL

    HaroldL Alibre Super User

    I don't want to pour gas on this fire but you make some bold statements here:
    So who is "We"? Other than a few regulars, I've not seen a lot of users logging onto the forum to chant that statement. What about the M-Files users?

    90% o_O That's a lot of users, How did you come up with that, did you do a survey or poll that I wasn't aware of?
  16. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    Here is an AutoHotkey script that you can run in the background and once every 1 second it will reset the paths Alibre Design uses in the registry to whatever you set it to.

    Just change the paths for Value1 through Value7 in the script to where you want.

    ; AutoHotkey Version: 1.x
    ; Language:       English
    ; Platform:       Win9x/NT
    ; Author:         NateLiqGrav
    ; Script Function:
    ;    Reset the paths Alibre Design uses in the registry.
    #NoEnv  ; Recommended for performance and compatibility with future AutoHotkey releases.
    SendMode Input  ; Recommended for new scripts due to its superior speed and reliability.
    SetWorkingDir %A_ScriptDir%  ; Ensures a consistent starting directory.
    KeyName1 := "lastSaveFileFolderReference"
    Value1 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    KeyName2 := "lastOpenFileFolderReference"
    Value2 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    KeyName3 := "lastImportFolderReference"
    Value3 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    KeyName4 := "lastExportFolderReference"
    Value4 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    KeyName5 := "lastPDFPublishFolderReference"
    Value5 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    KeyName6 := "lastHTMLFileReference"
    Value6 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    KeyName7 := "lastInsertSurfaceFolderReference"
    Value7 := "C:\Users\nathan\Documents"
    SubKey := "Software\Alibre, Inc.\Alibre Design\User Settings\default user\Other Recently Used"
    SetTimer, ResetPaths, 1000
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName1%, %Value1%
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName2%, %Value2%
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName3%, %Value3%
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName4%, %Value4%
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName5%, %Value5%
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName6%, %Value6%
    RegWrite, REG_SZ, HKEY_CURRENT_USER, %SubKey%, %KeyName7%, %Value7%
  17. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Hi Nate -- Is there something other than Alibre Design that is needed to make this "useful?" [Irrational minds want to know.] -- Lew
  18. NateLiqGrav

    NateLiqGrav Alibre Super User

    Download and Install the current version of AutoHotkey.
    Edit the code in Notepad and change the Values as I described earlier.
    Save the code into a text file with .ahk file extension. Double click on the script to run it.
  19. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    I have no idea about M-files, I understood it was obsolete not supported, whatever it is, or was. I did not/do not have it, and my understanding is that it is way beyond the simple basic way to make Alibre stop WORKING AGAINST the user.

    the 90% is of course a WAG, as you should guess from the round number. However, I suspect it to be close, given typical response to ancillary features in many software packages, most have questions of "why is "<this favorite feature I like>" not part of it, etc.

    Point of the matter is that Alibre LLC should work on Alibre, and NOT on some other piece of software that is not in their core competence and company product.

    However, the existing function of Alibre with respect to saving and recalling to whatever the last save etc was FOR THAT PARTICULAR FUNCTION is not even up to basic hobby use standards. One has no idea where something is going, and one mistake of not checking first before assuming in the midst of doing a design to a deadline sends the file off into the blue, needing a search party to find it.

    I cannot see that this "working directory" concept, which has been asked for for at least 3 years, if not more, and is a pretty simple matter, would be anything major to implement. I seem to recall asking 3D Systems to fix that in Geomagic.

    Alibre LLC KNOWS where those 8 or so defaults are, and it would be simple to set them all the same, or to, for that matter, ANY set of defaults that the user may prefer.

    What bugs me is the stubborn refusal to so much as consider what should be assignable to a raw recruit programmer. Max says "something" has been done in the next version. I don't know if I should be encouraged, or if I should stand in dread of what may have been done.......

    That script or whatever it is would seem to "do the function", but I do not see how the destination/source is SET, aside from editing the script every single time...... My reaction is, "Really? Oh, puh-lEEEse". That needs to be easy.

    But that is irrelevant.... it SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED.

    Here.... there are more of us who HATE the way Alibre does this

    Others have said the same over time.

    And if you add in the non-existent library (again some basic file destination manipulation), then others have mentioned the fact that their employer TURNED DOWN ALIBRE because of that total lack, which is part of the same issue mentioned above.

    I may stop support next time if I do not see some action on this. Others already have. It is a blockade to more use of the program, and I suspect that we do not have a clue as to the number of refusals to consider the program that are due to the same cause.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
  20. Lew_Merrick

    Lew_Merrick Alibre Super User

    Hi Nate -- Thanks, I rarely follow such things. -- Lew

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