BIMserver 1.1 beta: developers release

Today we released a beta version of 1.1. To get things clear right away: it has bugs. The main reason to release this new version is to inform developers of the changes and new concept. Since the 1.0 release not a lot of new features were added, but everything changed….  The most important, and radical, change was the introduction of the plugin-infrastructure. The previous release of BIMserver was one big chunk of code; in this new release all functional parts of the code are made modular. The whole import and export interface is put into plugins. The ignore files are now called ‘objectIDMs’ and also modular.

This release of BIMserver.org makes it easier to integrate and communicate with BIMserver. Have a look at the communication schema and possibilities on http://code.google.com/p/bimserver/wiki/Communication

Some other big changes in 1.1beta are:

  • Visualisation is gone: we removed visualization from BIMserver. We think a server should be a server and not a visualization tool. We are teaming up with BIMsurfer.org for visualization.
  • Slit between server and GUI: the graphical user interface of BIMserver sucks. We know… To encourage developers to create a new one, we split the JSP pages from the actual server. Therefor you can now download a server build (only the server) and a combined build (server + jsp GUI).
  • Bimserver now uses internal streaming rather than the creation of temporary files for parsing by the geometry kernel.  There is work in progress to integrate IfcOpenShell as a geometry kernel as well, but that might have to wait till 1.2.
  • Client Library:  Gives you access to plugins and the EMF core client side. As a result this developers  the same advanced possibilities on the client as they have server side.
  • New protocol buffer interface: In addition to SOAP and REST interface, we now support Protocol Buffers. This is a major step towards real-time (streaming) communication with clients.
  • Internal performance updates: we’ve improved a great deal of memory usage in this release.
  • Caching of downloads: Both revision and queries  are now cached on server after the first download. This means any additional download will have very fast retrieval . This speeds things up quite a bit in a multiuser environment where several people need to download a merged model or revision to their own machine.
  • Progress bar: lots have asked for it, now it’s there… a progress bar during upload and download.
  • Plugins: All serializers and deserializers (upload, download) are now plugins that can be activated or deactivated. This infrastructure makes it easy for developers to build on top of BIMserver. There are already several plugins being developed like a very promising COBie plugin.

You can find the release on this location: http://tools.bimtoolset.org/BIMserver/1.1beta (which is our archive site). We call this a 1.1beta, but it will be placed in subfolders, ordered by date. Therefore we can update the release every couple of days, responding to your feedback.

Before (and during) your evaluation, please have a look at the know issues  and the documentation. The documentation on the wiki will grow, responding to your feedback.

Please place your feedback on http://support.BIMserver.org

BIMserver testimonials movie

We’ve already announced it a couple of weeks ago, but now it is there: the final version of the BIMserver Breakfast 2011 movie. It has become a nice movie with lots of users giving their opinion about the BIMserver initiative. It is online on youtube.

For developers: JavaDoc of ServiceInterface

 The release team of BIMserver.org is working towards a new release. We are not sure yet what number it will have. We think 1.1 doesn’t resemble the changes that BIMserver has received in the last couple of months. The developers that have followed our code repository know that the core and structure of BIMserver have been fundamentally changed. Nowadays the code structure resembles the vision that BIMserver could/should be a kernel for other developers better than ever before. Lots of developers decided not to wait for a release and started developing plugins and add-ons to BIMserver even before a new final release. Thanks to them we got feedback about the technical documentation and we responded on our wiki with some very nice technical insight. In preparation of the 1.1 beta release (developers release) we also generated/created a JavaDoc site explaining the ServiceInterface. You can find this new information here and here.

Call for projects that use BIMserver

(c) ZEEP architects

For those of you who wonder when the next release will be available: this post is not about that. This blogpost is a call for projects that use BIMserver. Lots of projects use BIMserver in some way. Sometimes as a transformation tool, sometimes as backup/revision tools, but more and more in its full potential as a tool for dynamic collaboration. In an industry where open source is scary most of these projects don’t go public on their use. And of course our organization is not a software vendor with account managers. That is why we post this call for projects. We intent to create a ‘project’ page on our website with appealing projects. If you have a project that uses BIMserver software in any way (even if it is just to give your clients the Google Earth link), and you want the world to know it, please contact us on projects@bimserver.org. After all, with 5000 visitor per month it is also free advertising for your company.