Posts

Upcoming release: test data migration

As we discussed earlier, the database of the 1.4 release of BIMserver will be significantly different from 1.3. We didn’t give priority to create a migration script for the database so you need to start with a fresh install of BIMserver when you use 1.4. To accommodate users that really want their data from a 1.3.x BIMserver into their new 1.4 installation, we created a migration script. What is does is download the data from the old BIMserver and import it in the new 1.4 database. This is only tested once on one of our own projects. It seemed to work, but we cannot guarantee that is works all the time. You need to be some kind of nerd magician to get this working because there are no buttons to push, but actual java classes to run. We have a short guideline on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BIMserver/wiki/Migrating-1.3-to-1.4 and of course when you really are a nerd, you will find everything you need in the code: https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BIMserver/blob/master/BimServer/src/org/bimserver/TriggerImportDataRemote.java

We call everyone who thinks they need this to test it before the final 1.4 version is coming. We expect this soon now, so please make sure you have your database ready when it comes. Feel free to use http://support.opensourcebim.org for additional support and bug reports. Good luck!

Doing one thing very good

opensourcebim.org projects

As the loyal readers of this blog know, we joined the ‘open source BIM collective’ a while ago. There are many practical reasons why this decision was easy: we share a support forum, hosting and bandwidth and we face the same legal issues regarding licensing questions from users. But the main reason why we actually joined is because of the mission and vision of the collective.

At BIMserver.org we have a strong focus on being a stable platform for others to build upon. We aren’t building feature after feature and market it as a product that can do ‘everything’. Our mission is to provide a solid foundation so developers can build fast and reliable niche applications. So we want to focus on our core features, but still be interesting for developers and users. We had many discussions about removing the GUI and if we should incorporate a render engine or not. Luckily we  found other people that find pleasure in building a GUI and are much, much smarter than us when it comes to an IFC render engine. These people faced the same problem of feeling the force to widen the scope of their tools, but really wanting to focus on the core problem.

Thanks to our collaboration with the projects in the open source BIM collective, we are now integrating and interacting with these other projects. Thanks to IfcOpenShell, BIMserver now has the highest IFC rendering quality in the industry. Thanks to BIMserver, IfcOpenShell broadens the user perspective. Similar synergies are being created with bimvie.ws, BCF server and Forum and (very early and experimental) OpenIFD. The COBie plugins and other less famous BIMserver plugins are also part of the collective to give the industry a single point of contact and support.

We are very proud to be part of a team of dedicated and highly intelligent people that have the same passion as we do: Helping the AEC industry forward. Feel free to explore the website opensourcebim.org, or the github organisation page with most of the repositories.

Results of a Dutch BIM Server pilot

(C) Berlo, TNO 2012

A while ago, several companies and institutions launched a “BIM Server pilot” in the Netherlands. Although after all there was not ‘one’ pilot, the results of this initiative are quiet interesting. Main reserach subjects were focussed on the use of IFC in contrast to everybody using the same software.

The paper describes the workflow concept of so called ‘reference models’ (or ‘aspect models’). The conclusion is that the combination of this concept with IFC fits the needs from the AEC industry.

Researchers from TNO (initiators of the pilot) and main players in the pilot projects wrote a scientific paper about the results. The paper is published and presented at the ECPPM Conference in Reykjavik 2012. The paper can be found in the scientific section of our website. The presentation called ‘there is no central BIM’ is available on slideshare.

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.

Help us improve by filling in a short survey

Give us 5 minutes of your time, and we will give you an improved BIMserver.

To get an overview of the applications, expectations, perceptions, opinions, shortcomings and your own developments of the open source BIMserver.org we created a short survey.
It consists of some 22 questions and should not take longer than 5 min. to fill in. All questions are optional, fill in only as much as you want.
We would very much appreciate your feedback on this project and we are certain that this will help us with regard to future improvements, features and the general direction of this effort.

Link to the survey: http://www.eSurveysPro.com/Survey.aspx?id=fd868919-cf74-4f2d-a28c-2373c767cbe7

Any other (informal) feedback is also welcome.
Thank you very much for your time,

The BIMserver.org team

Release Candidate 3: WebGL

People keep asking how many release candidates will come before the stable release is there. To be honest… we don’t know. For now we have everything in there we want in a 1.0 release. Final part of the featurelist was the implementation of  WebGL as an online viewer (and forget O3D). Of course not everything we want in a BIMserver is in there, but there will be next releases… If nog bugs will be found in the RC3 it will be the stable release somewhere next week. Feel free to test it via http://download.bimserver.org/

BIMserver pilot info

Returning readers of this blog have noticed the start of a BIMserver Pilot 2010 in the Netherlands. This bimserver pilot is not limited to just the open source BIMserver, but it will probably have a strong focus.

The kickoff meeting of the pilot has taking place at TNO. During this meeting quite a large number of participants elaborated on what they expect and want to contribute in the pilot. TNO is now working on a projectplan to set off with this pilot.

For those of you who want to keep up with things going on in the pilot, or even want to participate: join the special mailinglist at http://bimserver.org/mailman/listinfo/pilot2010_BIMserver.org
This is the only form of communication about this pilot. The projectplan will be send to participants using this mailinglist. Most of the conversations will be in Dutch, but most Dutch people speak pretty good English, so feel free to join in.