Developments, research projects, roadmap and all other news of the BIMserver.org platform

New query language BimQL

Recently Wiet Mazairac from Eindhoven University of Technology has presented his new developed ‘open Building Information Model Query Language’ BimQL. Wiet used the open source BIMserver core to test and develop his query language and expressed the wish to integrate the BimQL work into BIMserver.org. In a close collaboration the core team at TNO created a new plugin type for Query Languages. Wiet used that to create the first Query plugin for BIMserver.org. It will be in the next (beta) release available for testing. We like to urge that this is a first result of a new initiative. Interested participants are welcome to join this effort. More information can be found in the white paper, on the website www.bimql.org (including examples), or the source code for the plugin on github.

Find a bug, get a mug!

As you might have noticed, work at BIMserver has not stopped. At the moment we have a strong focus on stability and support. To grow a community around BIMserver we like to launch a “Find a bug, get a mug!”-campaign. The deal is simple: when you find a bug, post a question on the support forum. When it really is a bug, we will fix it and send you a genuine BIMserver mug. We are starting this campaign to fix bugs and increase stability of BIMserver.  This campaign is not new, but we have new mugs that are more beautiful than the previous ones (and so far we only send out 5 mugs for minor bugs that were found).

By the way… you don’t have to find a bug to get a mug. Any help in fulfilling our goal is worth a mug. Join our philosophy and help make the world a better place!

Release 1.1.0 final is public

Today the BIMserver.org team is proud to announce that the final release of BIMserver 1.1.0 is public.

Open infrastructure:
After the previous release we expressed our intention to transform the BIMserver software from one big chunk of code, to a flexible cohesion of core modules and plugins. By doing this, we are lowering the threshold for people to create extensions, plugins and custom builds. In other words:  creating a stable, flexible, open infrastructure that everybody can use as a strong base to build something on top. We believe this is important for BIMserver to be able to grow into a movement that will be much bigger than just a couple of programmers.

Credits:
Because of the involvement of great developers and advanced users during the last couple of months, we are proud to have a BIMserver build with several external plugins. Many thanks and credits go to Chris Bogen (USACE) for their COBie plugin and Thomas Krijnen for the IfcOpenShell render engine plugin. Also many thanks to Catenda for intensely testing the framework. We hope your bimsync application will be a success! We are very thankful for the effort and are convinced it has made today’s release much more stable and reliable. Thanks to Rehno Lindeque for creating a connection between his Open Source WebGL Viewer (bimsurfer.org) and BIMserver. Many more developers are creating plugins that will be released for public (hopefully) very soon. We can’t say too much about it today, but we’ll keep you informed via this website. Finally a warm ‘thank you’ to all people that took the time to test or evaluate the BIMserver software and inform us about issues on http://support.BIMserver.org

We had a great year with lots of great talks with prominent people in the world of (open)BIM. We feel a growing interest for the BIMserver.org project and hope the 1.1.0 release will accelerate the use and appreciation of BIMserver.org.

New features:
Although the new, visible features for end-users are not jumping towards you from the screen…. there are some nice ones we would like to note:

  • The storing of incoming files: even when IFC files are corrupt (or for some other reason not stored in the database) the server manager can always obtain the original uploaded file.
  • Visualization 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. Other visualization tools might also join our team in the future.
  • 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 (by any user) 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 computer.
  • Progress bar: lots have asked for it, now it’s there… a progress bar during checkin and download.

Some more technical new features for the people who love nerd-talk:

  • Ignore files renamed to ‘objectIDM’  and are now part of the plug-in structure (to be able to link them dynamically to serializers).
  • Ability to choose renderEngine and objectIDM for a (de)serializer. Default BIMserver is shipped with the TNO IFC Engine Series Library (closed source as a plugin) and open source IfcOpenShell. It’s up to you which one you use.
  • More server settings.
  • Low level calls: We’ve added ‘add’, ‘edit’, ‘delete’ calls in IFC objects through the BIMserver service interface. This allows every application to edit the IFC data without upload/download of a file.
  • Setup page after first startup: No default admin and password anymore. Just choose your own after first startup.
  • Database migrations: In the future, new versions of bimserver will update the database to the new structure (beta).
  • Enable and disable external plugins.
  • More info of your running server and improved logging
  • 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.
  • Client Libraries: Allows developers to ‘talk’ to the API of BIMserver very easy and gives access to the cool BIMserver stuff for their own application (both server-, as client-side).
  • Improved API, including technical documentation: on http://wiki.bimserver.org and JavaDoc of the interface API.
  • Notifications: subscribe your client to notifications on your server. BIMserver events will be published to a special protocol. We even created a ‘Satellite server’ example framework to demonstrate the power of this concept.

A full list of new features, enhancements and bugfixes (the release notes) can be found on our development site: http://dev.bimserver.org/

Download:
There are several builds. If you are looking for the ‘old fashioned one-click-and-it-runs-JAR-file’ you should download “bimserver-including_GUI-1.1.0-final.jar”. This is renamed because it is now a combination of the BIMserver and the GUI Interface (the HTML you get on the screen). When you use the BIMserver with GUI, please note that we do not support all webbrowsers. We test on Chrome (for multiple reasons) and know that Firefox and Safari also work pretty good. We do NOT support users with MS InternetExplorer so please do not use IE with BIMserver.

We also supply a WebArchive build, and both a Jar and WAR of BIMserver without the GUI. Examples of the Satellite server, libraries and other downloads are all available on http://download.bimserver.org  

Installation and setup instruction can be found in a screencast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6CjPuDknlc. Please note that the license of most of BIMserver has changed from GNU GPL v3 to GNU Affero GPL v3. More info on http://www.bimserver.org/license/

Philosophy:
On every new release people ask us why we do this… We even get question what your hidden business model is and how we rip off people without them noticing. None of this is true. Read our ‘Philosophy’ and guiding principles on http://bimserver.org/about/philosophy/ to understand us a bit more.

Future:
We have great plans for the future. We really believe we are at the edge of implementing a mayor change of how the industry uses BIM. If you understand and acknowledge our guiding principles, and want to team up with us, send us your plans and (broadest possible) motivation to contact@bimserver.org.

 

Third release candidate for 1.1.0

bimserver logo Today we are proud to release the 3rd 1.1.0 release candidate for BIMserver.org. Some new bugs, found by the community, are fixed. This release also has the ‘clash detection’ feature working again (although it will be obsolete after 1.1.0 final). This version has a major update for the ObjectIDM configurations and is tested intensely in a multiuser environment. Please read the full 1.1.0 release notes in our previous blogpost.

Download the 1.1.0-RC3 on download.bimserver.org or on our development site dev.bimserver.org.

3 mugs are send so far

 Many of you have tested the Release Candidates for the 1.1 version of BIMserver. Some of you (3 to be exact) found a bug. All three bug finders (so far) recieved the official BIMserver Coffee mug. We are very thankfull that you are testing BIMserver with so much passion. For all others testers: keep testing! There are still a lot of Coffee mugs in stock. Although we hope there are as little as possible bugs to be found, we are happy to send these ‘thank you’-gifts to bug finders.

When you think you have found a bug, please post it on http://support.BIMserver.org/

For people who get scared from this blog post: don’t worry. All bugs that were found are fixed.

Update on 1.1.0: Second release candidate

 After the first release candidate from last week, we’ve got some feedback from you. Thank you very much for that! Thanks to your testing efforts we can now release a second candidate for the 1.1.0 version.

Some bugs were fixed, and the Collada/KML export has improved. There are still issues with the clashdetection but we are working to fix those as soon as possible. Please read the full 1.1.0 release notes in our previous blogpost.

Download the 1.1.0-RC2 on download.bimserver.org or on our development site dev.bimserver.org.

First Release Candidate for version 1.1.

UPDATE April 20: final release is public.

Today the BIMserver.org team is proud to announce that the first Release Candidate of BIMserver 1.1 is public. It has been over a year since the previous release of BIMserver and we have to admit we underestimated the effort. For the enthusiastic users who have high hopes of this release we just want to say: slow down. You won’t see a lot of change… The UserInterface is still… well… ready for improvements. And the new features are not the kind you would passionately talk about during your family diner.

Fundamental changes:
Nonetheless everything changed. When we released the 1.0 version of BIMserver, we released software that had all features we thought a BIMserver should be having (revisioning, merging, user management, change finder, querying, RSS feeds, etc..) and even more (clash detection, rulesets, WebGL viewer, etc….). After the release we expressed our intention to transform the BIMserver software from one big chunk of code, to a flexible cohesion of core modules and plugins. By doing this, we are lowering the threshold for people to create extensions, plugins and custom builds. In other words:  creating a stable, flexible, open infrastructure that everybody can use as a strong base to build something on top. We believe this is important for BIMserver to be able to grow into a movement that will be much bigger than just our small team.

This is the part where we miscalculated. Although the BIMserver software had a layered architecture that already was very flexible, it took some time to unravel serializers, deserializers, render engines, objectIDMs (the new name for ignore files), Graphical Interfaces, and their features. At the end of last year, a beta release was created for developers to ‘get used’ to the new infrastructure. This encouraged lots of developers to create plugins for BIMserver.  Some developers even claimed this 1.1 release should be called a 2.0, because of the structural changes. Others claim this release should have been the 1.0 (and the original 1.0 was just too early).

Credits:
Because of the involvement of great developers and advanced users during the last couple of months, we are proud to have a BIMserver build with several external plugins. Many thanks and credits go to Chris Bogen (USACE) for their COBie plugin and Thomas Krijnen for the IfcOpenShell render engine plugin. Also many thanks to Catenda for intensely testing the framework. We hope your bimsync application will be a success. We are very thankful for the effort and are convinced it has made today’s release much more stable and reliable. Thanks again to Rehno Lindeque for creating a connection between his Open Source WebGL Viewer (bimsurfer.org) and BIMserver. Many more developers are creating plugins that will be released for public (hopefully) very soon. We can’t say too much about it today, but we’ll keep you informed via this website. Finally a warm ‘thank you’ to all people that took the time to test or evaluate the BIMserver software and inform us about issues on http://support.BIMserver.org

We had a great year with lots of great talks with prominent people in the world of (open)BIM. We feel a growing interest for the BIMserver.org project and hope the 1.1 release will accelerate the use and appreciation of BIMserver.org.

New features:
Although the new, visible features for end-users are not jumping towards you from the screen…. there are some nice ones we would like to note:

  • The storing of incoming files: even when IFC files are corrupt (or for some other reason not stored in the database) the server manager can always obtain the original uploaded file.
  • 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.
  • 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 (by any user) 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 computer.
  • Progress bar: lots have asked for it, now it’s there… a progress bar during checkin and download.

Some more technical new features for the people who love nerd-talk:

  • Ignore files renamed to ‘objectIDM’  and are now part of the plug-in structure (to be able to link them dynamically to serializers).
  • Ability to choose renderEngine and objectIDM for a (de)serializer. Default BIMserver is shipped with the TNO IFC Engine Series Library (closed source as a plugin) and open source IfcOpenShell. It’s up to you which one you use.
  • More server settings.
  • Low level calls: We’ve added ‘add’, ‘edit’, ‘delete’ calls in IFC objects through the BIMserver API interface. This allows every application to edit the IFC data without upload/download of IFC.
  • Setup page after first startup: No default admin and password anymore. Just choose your own after first startup.
  • Database migrations: In the future, new versions of bimserver will update the database to the new structure. No need to throw away your data every new release anymore!
  • Enable and disable (external) plugins.
  • More info of your running server and improved logging
  • 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.
  • Client Libraries: Allows developers to ‘talk’ to the API of BIMserver very easy and gives access to the cool BIMserver stuff for their own application (both server-, as client-side).
  • Improved API, including technical documentation: on http://wiki.bimserver.org and JavaDoc of the interface API.

A full list of new features, enhancements and bugfixes (the release notes) can be found on our development site: http://dev.bimserver.org/

Download:
Todays release candidate, is a candidate for the final release. Please test this with care and submit your issues on http://support.BIMserver.org. We will try to fix bugs and help you with questions there.

There are several builds. If you are looking for the ‘old fashioned one-click-and-it-runs-JAR-file’ you should download bimserver-combined-1.1.0-RCx.jar. This is renamed to ‘combined’ because it is now a combination of the BIMserver and the GUI Interface (the HTML you get on the screen). When you use the BIMserver with GUI, please not that we do not support all webbrowsers. We test on Chrome (for multiple reasons) and know that Firefox and Safari also work pretty good. We do NOT support users with InternetExplorer so please do not use IE with BIMserver.
Download the builds on our Google Code Development site: http://dev.bimserver.org/

Installation and setup instruction can be found in a screencast: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6CjPuDknlc. Please note that the license of most of BIMserver has changed from GNU GPL v3 to GNU Affero GPL v3. More info on http://www.bimserver.org/license/

Philosophy:
On every new release people ask us why we do this… We even get question what your hidden business model is and how we rip off people without them noticing. None of this is true. Read our ‘Philosophy’ and guiding principles on http://bimserver.org/about/philosophy/ to understand us a bit more.

Future:
We have great plans for the future. We really believe we are at the edge of implementing a mayor change of how the industry uses BIM. If you understand and acknowledge our guiding principles, and want to team up with us, send us your plans and (broadest possible) motivation to contact@bimserver.org.

COBie and BIMserver find each other (even more)

We are very enthousiastic and proud to announce that the first external plug-in for BIMserver 1.1 is a COBie import/export plug-in . From the 1.0 release to the 1.1 release of BIMserver, some major changes have been made in the code structure. From the ‘one big chunk of code’ that 1.0 was, we grew into an agile open framework with a stable plug-in infrastructure. The idea behind this is to enhance and stimulate the development of plug-ins, add-ons and extensions to the BIMserver platform. In the coming months more extensions and plug-ins created by other organizations will be made available for BIMserver, but in this blog post we would like to create some attention for the first plug-in that was made by the US army corps of engineers. The plug-in we are talking about is actually two plug-ins: a COBie serialiser and a COBie deserialiser (import and export).
Advanced and fanatic BIMserver users will probably note that the COBie export was already in the 1.0 release (thanks to Nick Nisbet) and that would be correct. In the new 1.1 release, a plug-in for COBie will be available in the new plug-in infrastructure. The big advantage of this new plug-in is that it is build to directly interface the BIMserver core. This makes the performance much higher. Another advantage for the development teams is the complete split between the BIMserver core/framework and the COBie plug-ins. In practice this means that the COBie plug-ina and BIMserver can (will) have separate update sequences.

The COBie plug-in is still under development and has some disclaimers, but we believe in its great potential. For more information about this plug-in you can contact Bill East.

More plug-ins from teams outside the core BIMserver-team will be available on short notice. We will keep you up to date about them on this blog and on extend.BIMserver.org.

The release of BIMserver 1.1 (final) is planned for the first quarter of 2012. A developers beta is already available.

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

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.