Getting Going with the Cloud

I am now the proud owner of an Android tablet and happily thinking about things to do with it. The first idea that comes to mind is working through something similar to Adam's Revit model viewer for iOS that Jim Quanci showed at the AEC DevCamp.

Before getting into that, though, I should address some of the issues brought up by Senthil in his comment on the discussion on service-oriented architecture, asking for information about Revit cloud development, e.g. a step by step process for cloud beginners. Senthil also mentions the cloud computing Revit demo on the ADN cloud computing page, its add-in manifest, assembly DLL file location, how to deploy it, how to interact with Revit through web services, and developing a service application in general.

Here are a couple of starting points for addressing these issues:

DevCamp Cloud and Mobile Track

All of these topics are addressed in depth by Gopinath Taget's cloud and mobile presentation, both at Autodesk University last year and most recently at the AEC and Manufacturing DevCamps earlier this month, each of which boasted a separate track on cloud and mobile technologies. Gopi's four sessions at the AEC DevCamp covered:

Gopi's presentations and samples are currently publicly available from Buzzsaw together with all the rest of the AEC and Manufacturing DevCamp 2012 material.

The Apollonian Gasket Cloud Service

Probably the greatest and deepest exploration of using cloud services over a wide variety of technologies and devices was created by Kean Walmsley. He explores making use of just about all imaginable combinations of cloud service providers and clients. The Apollonian gasket cloud & mobile series summary boasts the following impressive table of contents:

Creating the core desktop functionality
Moving it to the cloud
Using the web-service from various clients

This really is a huge wealth of material and should provide ample words of wisdom for any brave seeker venturing out on these now no longer unmapped paths.

AEC Cloud Demo

Returning to my own much more modest efforts in this realm so far based on the Revit API, Senthil mentions the AEC cloud demo on the ADN cloud computing page. That is an eleven minute recording of a very simple add-in running on Revit 2012, originally created for the DevDays conferences in the end of 2010.

I recently migrated the sample add-in to Revit 2013. Here is containing its entire source code, Visual Studio solution and add-in manifest.

As explained in the recording, it simply defines two commands to read data from certain Revit element parameters and store them in a simple cloud-hosted database, and vice versa to read data from the database and populate it back into the Revit parameters again.

Revit Viewer via OBJ

As said, the next thing I would like to look at is a Revit model viewer.

Instead of using Adam's approach via a custom geometry file format, I thought I might make use of the Wavefront OBJ file format, which seems to be pretty standard and compact.

My current tentative outline looks like this:

  1. Describe Adam's Revit cloud and mobile demo (well, Adam is doing this himself):
    1. RVT add-in exporting triangulated geometry faces via custom ASCII file format, uploading to cloud
    2. Mobile device accessing cloud data, custom iOS viewer reading and displaying 3D view of custom format
  2. Implement a RVT add-in that exports OBJ file format instead
    1. Standard format, can be used ubiquitously
    2. Optimise that file format to significantly reduce file size and increase speed and efficiency
  3. View OBJ file format on mobile
    1. Using standard viewer
    2. Implement custom Android viewer

It will be interesting to see how I do during the next few days... especially for me :-)