An overview of our favorite plugins

As you know BIMserver is a plugin oriented framework. Even the import/export serializers are plugins in the framework. Most of the ‘default’ stuff like merging, query and compare are also. We deliver some simple example plugins for these features to show how the frameworks could work. It is up to developers to fine-tune and tweak them to their needs. BIMserver also has ‘Render engine’ plugins. We see rendering geometry not as a BIMserver feature, but we provide an empty plugin space for external render engines.
Now some of you might wonder why stuff seems to work although some plugin spaces are ‘empty’. That is because we ship some external plugins standard with the BIMserver build. This blogpost gives a short overview.

The most famous external plugin for BIMserver is the ‘COBie’ plugin. It is mostly created by Chris Bogen from USACE. It gives import and export functions for COBie to BIMserver. Since COBie is a modelview of IFC the plugin basically maps COBie to IFC and back. Thanks Chris for a great job!

Then there is the most infamous plugin BimQL. BimQL is the open BIM Query Language created by Wiet Mazairac. He used BIMserver during the development along the way created a plugin to use BimQL in BIMserver. It is now a standard part of BIMserver, but still a plugin.

Also very unknown is the CityGML serializer. There are actually two of them. One we created ourselves back in 2009 for the GeoBIM initiative (creating a CityGML ADE extension for BIM). That was very experimental and we decided not to invest in that anymore. It is still out there for the ones who want to take up on it. Another CityGML serializer was made by Joran Jessurun from Eindhoven University of Technology. This one was made as a proof of concept in one of their projects and a course.

By now you are probably wondering how the Boolean operations and tessellation are done for CityGML (and some other serializers like Collada, and the WebGL output for BIM Surfer). That is indeed also a plugin. We call it ‘render engine’ and we ship two of those: The IFC Engine from TNO (update: now owned by RDF) and the open source IfcOpenShell from Thomas Krijnen. Thomas created this render engine based on opencascade in just a couple of days. He is finetuning it every since and creating other plugins for Blender and 3D Studio Max along the way. We are helping Thomas to get IfcOpenShell stable enough to make it the default render engine for BIMserver.

So that was an overview of some of our favorite external plugins. Do you have a plugin for BIMserver that we missed? Let us know!

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