Element Name Parameter Filter Correction

The AEC DevCamp has kicked off here in Boston and it is great to be here with all the fascinating presentations and exciting meetings with colleagues and developers. Somehow, I am also able to keep up with other issues in parallel, and one of them has been a lively discussion with Kevin Vandecar which prompted the presentation of lots of new parameter filter samples this morning.

Kevin pointed out that the method I presented in the filtered element collector benchmarking to retrieve a specific level from the Revit model by name using a parameter filter did not work for him. The reason is that the element name on the level is not stored in the ELEM_NAME_PARAM built-in parameter, as I had assumed but apparently not tested, but in BuiltInParameter.DATUM_TEXT.

I updated the code to be able to specify any built-in parameter by defining the following generic GetFirstElementOfTypeWithBipString method. It uses a parameter filter to return the first element of the given type and with the specified string-valued built-in parameter matching the given name:

Element GetFirstElementOfTypeWithBipString(
  Type type,
  BuiltInParameter bip,
  string name )
  FilteredElementCollector a
    = GetElementsOfType( type );
  ParameterValueProvider provider
    = new ParameterValueProvider(
      new ElementId( bip ) );
  FilterStringRuleEvaluator evaluator
    = new FilterStringEquals();
  FilterRule rule = new FilterStringRule(
    provider, evaluator, name, true );
  ElementParameterFilter filter
    = new ElementParameterFilter( rule );
  return a.WherePasses( filter ).FirstElement();

This matches the method GetFirstNamedElementOfTypeUsingParameterFilter that I presented in the original version, except that the built-in parameter can be passed in as an argument instead of being hardwired to use the erroneous ELEM_NAME_PARAM.

In the benchmark mainline, I now call it like this:

  level = null;
  using( JtTimer pt = new JtTimer(
    "Parameter filter" ) )
    //level = GetFirstElementOfTypeWithBipString(
    //  t, BuiltInParameter.ELEM_NAME_PARAM, name );
    level = GetFirstElementOfTypeWithBipString(
      t, BuiltInParameter.DATUM_TEXT, name );
  Debug.Assert( null != level,
    "expected to find a valid level" );

Note that I added an assertion to ensure that a valid level really was retrieved, now that Kevin pointed out to me that this was previously not the case.

The results of running this are analogous to the previously reported ones, i.e. using the parameter filter is still significantly faster than all other options using some post-processing of the collector results to search for the specific named level, less than 6 seconds being less than half the time required by the post-processing approaches, which all require over 13 seconds:

Retrieve specific named level:
 Percentage   Seconds   Calls   Process
      0.00%      0.00    1000   Empty method *
      0.19%      0.11    1000   Collector with no name check *
      9.19%      5.46    1000   Parameter filter
     22.53%     13.37    1000   Explicit
     22.57%     13.40    1000   Anonymous named
     22.73%     13.49    1000   Anonymous
     22.73%     13.49    1000   Linq
    100.00%     59.35       1   TOTAL TIME

Here is version 2011.0.70.2 of The Building Coder sample source code and Visual Studio solution including the updated filtered element collector benchmark command.

Many thanks to Kevin Vandecar for pointing this out and prompting me to update the original article!