Release Notes

v1.8 Release Notes

We are very happy to announce the release of Unifi v1.8. Highlighted in this release is the beginning of our graphic styling project including new colors, logo, and several UI/UX enhancements to make your experience using Unifi more enjoyable and streamline your efficiency!

A new Ideas portal is now live and open to all customers! Your ideas matter, login and start submitting your ideas directly to the Unifi team today. You can vote on other peoples ideas and let the Unifi team know what YOU want us to build next! To top it off a brand new Unfii website has been launched, check it out!

New Login Screen

New Unifi Login Screen

New Features:

  • New logos, color palette, and branding graphics have been updated across the Unifi application.
  • New Unifi Ideas Portal has been launched! Start submitting your ideas today – https://unifi.ideas.aha.io 
  • New DiscoverUnifi website is up and live, check it out here–> https://www.discoverunifi.com
  • Admins can now edit the Library of a Content Request! (Thanks Fergus!)
  • Type Catalogs now display sorted exactly the same way as Revit does. Previously it was sorted per type name by default. (Thanks Ryan!)
  • New User Information button added to the top header bar of Unifi. This will show the currently logged in user and allow them to logout. More features will be added to this button very soon!
  • Dates displayed across the Unifi application have been set to the users local date/time format. (Localization of Data/Time)
  • Added several stability enhancements

Exterminated Bugs:

  • Fixed the Unifi installer to now show the current Unifi version in the Windows Add/Remove programs dialog. Previously it was stuck on v1.6..for some silly reason.
  • Fixed an issue where if a library was removed from an existing saved search the user or admin was never alerted of this. If this scenario happens Unifi will now display a human readable error message.
  • If a user was once part of a User group then removed, they would still have access to that User Groups permissions. We have fixed this so Unifi Admins across the world can now stop pulling their hair out.
  • Fixed an issue where in some cases newly uploaded content would not immediately be shown in searches and browsing.
  • Fixed an issue where some content requests where not showing up for Company Admins. This annoying behavior has been resolved.
  • Fixed an edge case of company saved searches not appearing once all libraries in a company were deleted. This would never happen in reality, but hey we fixed it anyway.
  • Fixed an issue where the sorting options for a saved search were not working. Whats the point of sorting if it doesn’t work?

 

We truly hope you enjoy this release. Thank you to all our great customers who share our vision of organizing, analyzing, and distributing the worlds BIM data!!

The Unifi team is already working on the next release. We will not sleep, sleep is for the weak…and that is making us walk around the office like…the undead.

zombies!!

Enjoy your Halloween!!

Cheers

SG

Design Cloud

Unleash your design teams with Single Sign-on

In the rapidly growing world of cloud powered applications and web apps, IT teams are finding new ways to manage the ever growing list of tools their users need access to. With this growing user demand for cloud based tools and utilities several of the worlds top AEC firms are moving toward SAML based Single Sign-on (SSO) user identity tools.

What is Single Sign-on? “a property of access control of multiple related, but independent software systems. With this property a user logs in once and gains access to all systems without being prompted to log in again at each of them.” – Wikipedia

The chart above shows a typical top 20 list of apps for an organization. https://www.onelogin.com/blog/legacy-iam-cloud-fail

The chart above shows a typical top 20 list of apps for an organization. https://www.onelogin.com/blog/legacy-iam-cloud-fail

When it comes to configuring and customizing apps used by every employee it makes sense for IT teams to spend weeks doing deployments. When you start moving down the list to the apps that only a certain department needs access to it may not make sense to make large investments in on-premise software and deployments. This is the point where IT personnel in AEC firms across the globe are trying to find a middle ground between security, providing their users the tools they need when they need them, and speed of deploying these tools. No IT team wants to be a barrier to their colleagues, but they are the gatekeepers of a firm. They must keep data security and employee access to this data a top priority.

Single Sign-on identity providers such as OneLogin, LoginRadius, OKTA, and PingIdentity are leaders in providing a single source of truth for users access to various cloud applications across an entire design firm.

Cloud identity providers are built in the cloud for the cloud, making deploying cloud software a breeze. Most SSO providers have app stores where you can search for thousands of existing cloud software and connect the two quickly and easily.

What are the top 5 reasons for looking into a SSO solution for your design firm?

  1. Lowered IT costs
  2. Improved security
  3. Increased workforce productivity
  4. More utilization of mobile
  5. Improved user experience

Design technology is moving rapidly and how AEC IT personnel adapt to it will be critical over the next few years. Security, ease of use, and scalability will be key factors of which technologies we choose for our design firms. This is why you will find the Unifi app in each of the four providers app stores listed above with more to come upon request! We have listened to our customers and made Unifi compliant with the SAML 2.0 protocol which will allow you to integrate Unifi with any compatible Single Sign-on provider.

I would bet we end up seeing more AEC software leaders move down this path eventually with SSO. SSO integration is just the beginning, its a fully connected world and API’s can turn a great product into a powerful platform. We fully plan to continue to expand our platform integration options further with various API’s and integrations into some of the most popular platforms such as Slack and Trello! More to come on that front in a future post.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or question below.

Release Notes

V1.7 RELEASE NOTES

Updated: 1.7.0.2 released 10/7/15 (bug fixes below)

We are very happy to announce the release of Unifi v1.7. Highlighted in this release is the rollout of new cloud infrastructure across the Amazon AWS backbone including a completely new search engine! This new search engine project (codenamed Dewey) is all about enhancing the user experience with faster browse and searching speeds on a global scale. The Unifi team has invested heavily into a new search engine technology which is extremely scalable and reliable, two major factors we take very seriously for the Unifi product. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with an enjoyable experience when finding content for use in Revit projects!

Library Browsing v1.7

Library Browsing v1.7 now shows total amount of categories available

What does this mean for your designers?

  • Our internal metrics show that current Unifi search times average 2 – 8 seconds globally depending on the size and complexity of the search. The new search engine testing metrics show global search times that average .5 seconds regardless of the size or complexity of the search.
  • A new “Search information bar” has been added to the top of the search and browse screens which displays how many results are being returned. This bar will also tell the user if any content is being hidden due to a incompatible Revit year among several other informative notes. You will notice the information bar also appears while browsing letting you know how many libraries or family categories are being displayed in the UI.
  • The new enhanced search engine now shows reduced results the more words you add to the search bar making it easier than ever to quickly refine your search to exactly the type of content you are searching for.
    This is something the majority of our users have been asking for so you got it! Your searching will be even more intuitive then ever with the intent on getting you to the right piece of content faster than ever.
Screw Chillers search example v1.7

Screw Chillers search example v1.7

New Features:

  • New Amazon cloud servers added to global cluster making international search times quicker (More improvements in this area are coming soon!)
  • New Elastic search engine added (More improvements in this area are coming soon!…can you say integrated parameter searching!)
  • Hidden results will now be displayed in the Search Information bar, users can click a link to see all incompatible Revit families
  • URLs in Family parameters will now be hyperlinks within the Unifi File Details page. (thanks Ji-Yong)
  • Library Admins can no longer delete libraries (thanks Fergus)
  • Changed the way the Favorite icon works. The favorite (heart) icon will now toggle your favorites filter to quickly see only the items you have favorited in the current results screen.
  • Any incompatible (future Revit version) families are now displayed greyed out and are unable to be inserted by the user.
  • Added several stability enhancements

Exterminated Bugs:

  • Resolved a bug where certain files could not be uploaded do to inaccurate file header data within the RFA file
  • Fixed some wonky text that would display in some system family names
  • Fixed a bug in the content request screen where when the ‘Specific Standards’ option is selected, but no text is entered into the textbox Unifi would get angry (thanks Fergus)
  • Resolved a bug where in some cases opening a PDF from a content request would crash Unifi
  • Resolved a bug where certain formatted type catalogs would not insert correctly (thanks Blake)
  • Fixed some labels in the Content request screen that were confusing
  • Fixed a bug where some file details would appear blank if not parsed yet in the Unifi cloud. If a family is still being parsed on the cloud you will now see a “In Progress” message indicating that the cloud is still busy herding the kittens (thanks Jason)
  • Fixed a bug with rolling back a file to a previous revision
  • Fixed a bug where when a pending file was deleted, it would still show in the Batch Upload Review screen
  • Resolved a timeout issue when if a User does not use Unifi for 30 minutes Unifi would release the licenses and the app would not log the user out. (thanks Blake)
  • Resolved a bug where certain fill pattern parameters values where not being displayed correctly in the file details page

Known Bugs: We will be working quickly to resolve these known issues in v1.7. 

  • Queuing large batches of files for upload (2500+) is taking several minutes as the files are checked on the servers to see if they already exist first. We fully intend to make this wicked fast, but right now its not.
  • Sorting by Star Rating is not working properly in the filter dialog. Fixed v1.7.0.1
  • The “TC” icon shown overtop of the preview image, when in the file details page, is not aligned properly. Fixed v8
  • The “TC” icon is not shown in the search results view, both in Grid mode or Row mode Fixed v1.7.0.1
  • New user activation emails may take up to 24 hours for the recipient to receive it. We are working with our 3rd party mail system to get this back to instantly send upon user creation. Fixed v8
  • If an Admin rolls back to a previous revision of a file, the parameter values do not update in the File Details page to show the current versions parameter data values.
  • On very large searches, while results are still loading and the user opens up a file details page, the information can take up to 10-15 seconds to populate. This is not acceptable to the instant gratification generation and will be fixed. Fixed v1.7.0.1 instant gratification achieved!
  • The “delete” button on a new saved search has been changed to “Cancel”, you can’t delete something that doesn’t exist. Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • Newly uploaded content may be shown as a revision to previously deleted content with the same name. This is a case of content identity theft, and has been resolved. Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • Automatically adding users to user groups was not working in some cases. Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • File underscores are not being removed from the content display name causing problems with finding the content while searching. (Thanks Ryan!) Fixed v1.7.0.2
  • Uploaded and approved content was sometimes not available in the search engine. Fixed v1.7.0.2

We truly hope you enjoy this release. Thank you to all our great customers who share our vision of organizing, analyzing, and distributing the worlds BIM data!!

The Unifi team is already working on the next 1.8 release which will include new highly requested workflow features! Stay tuned for more update news soon!

Cheers

SG

Nine Practices for a Faster, Smarter Revit Experience

Large projects often succumb to slow load times, performance issues and bogged-down file load times. Revit relies heavily upon file access and manipulation, so surrounding software settings can greatly enhance performance. Your quick, easy Revit experience needn’t require intensive computer reformats, either. Many of Revit’s optimizations are accessible within the program. The following practices optimize the Revit experience, reducing load times and input lag:

 

Practice One: Avoid User-Uploaded Content

BIMopedia’s blog inspects the many ways users can optimize their experience, focusing on reduced load times and overall program strain. One of its top suggestions identifies user-upload websites as a key factor of Revit slowdown. BIM, or Revit “family” websites feature a wealth of useful content, but each download adheres to different parameters. Each embedded family may cause performance drains due to its used objects. Keep away from community uploaded content, especially when efficient families aren’t their high priority.

 

Practice Two: Remove Unused Options

Revit houses a slew of in-depth options to generate customized operation experiences. However, its multitude of inactive, invisible design options can greatly slow down the program. To maintain a “clean”, optimized Revit experience, search out any unused design options.

Additionally, locate any unplaced views and remove them. Though unused, these views still increase Revit’s overall data use—creating performance issues and big file sizes.

Practice Three: Utilize Room Separation Lines Wisely

Revit’s room separation lines divide its rooms where no bounding objects are present. They’re quite useful, but they can overlap with future bounding objects, including:

  • Walls
  • Columns
  • Roofs
  • Ceilings
  • Floors

Room separation lines, while inherently useful, should be minimized with room-bounding elements when appropriate. Just remember, however, to keep the bounding objects sorted and optimized appropriately.

Practice Four: Minimize Rendered Lights

Revit Clinic’s list of rendering performance enhancements suggests reducing unnecessary artificial lights. A project’s rendering time is fragile, and numerous light groups will slow its processes significantly. When you can, turn off your project’s artificial lights.

Practice Five: Compress Your Revit Files

Revitstore’s tutorials place importance upon compressing Revit’s project files. Revit’s files are already compressed before access, but used, expanded files can inflate to twice the file’s original size. Sometimes, Revit fails to recompress a file. When this occurs, the program’s performance is reduced due to increased processing needs.

Be sure to select Save As when compressing a file, as relocating a saved file often enacts Revit’s natural, compressing tendencies. Additionally, remember to compress your project’s Central File on occasion.

Practice Six: Don’t Import Files

When possible, link your files. Don’t import them. Often, information from other software packages is needed for current model projection. Importing adds all information into the current model, reducing overall performance. Linking files, however, will locate needed files without changing them mid-project.

Practice Seven: Use Worksets

Worksets improve workflow and performance. They create easy-use environments for link opening, work separation and access. Of course, your Revit model needs to be well-structured before a workset is accessed. It also needs to be “broken down” into smaller worksets. A workset’s 3D views assist tracking, reducing performance-damaging processes needed to visualize projects.

Practice Eight: When Possible, Use Detail Lines Instead of Model Lines

Model lines in abundance can be mistaken for drawing errors. While not inherently a performance-draining problem, drawing errors create a need for more processes, more tracking procedures and more data. Detail lines, however, are intelligible and quick. They enhance Revit’s optimization in the long run.

Practice Nine: Use Selection Boxes

Selection boxes, when used in views, crops away unneeded geometry. Often, Revit users experience downtime and performance losses from intensive rendering weight. Selection boxes are very intuitive, and they can be used for:

  • Daylight portals
  • Linked files
  • Lights

Rendering boxes feature enhances rendering times without creating confusing project parameters, too, making their use entirely conducive to a clean, efficient project.

 

Source

http://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/revit-products/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Improving-performance-of-Revit-projects-s.html, http://bimopedia.com/2013/04/02/5-tips-to-reduce-bad-performance-in-revit/, http://www.revitstore.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=108:speeding-up-your-revit-session&catid=37:tips-and-tricks&Itemid=55, http://www.revitcity.com/forums.php?action=viewthread&thread_id=29803, http://revitclinic.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/11/10-tips-for-improving-revit-rendering-times.html

Hidden Parameters: The Key Under the Mat

Locking parameters inside of Revit content is sometimes a necessity: getting logic to work properly requires some gears to turn and parameters that hold and relay data. In very complicated families that include arrays, moving components, or even error messaging if multiple incompatible options are chosen, the amount of parameters can quickly build up. Revit has a built-in solution to hide those parameters, to keep families clean and only present information that will be important to users of the content: hidden parameters. Little known and under-utilized, hidden parameters can really clean up content when used properly. The best part is it only requires one extra step after the parameter has been made – so they’re fast, easy, efficient, and add functionality. What more can you ask for in a modelling technique? As an example I will be making a simple box with three types of different dimensions and colors, locked out, with the “key” hidden from the user.

The process of creating a hidden parameter begins like a normal shared parameter. When adding a parameter to a family, select the “Shared” option instead of family. It might make sense to create a new file specifically to hold hidden parameters, to keep them segregated from other shared parameters and to make them easy to access. There is no obvious way to tell if a shared parameter is hidden without loading it into a Revit project, so a separate hidden parameters file would make that distinction: any parameter within the file, will be hidden. No guessing or testing involved. For this example I made a new shared parameter file simply called “Hidden Parameters” and a group within the file named “Constraints”.

Hidden Parameters 1

Hidden Parameters 2

Create a new file if needed. Groups can be added to the file once it is made.

Revit Quirk Alert: An important note here before continuing is to go through the entire creation process, including the step to make the parameter hidden, before adding the shared parameter to a family. If it is added to a family before being turned into a hidden parameter it will be visible.

Add any necessary parameters to the file as they are required: there is no limit on the data type of a hidden parameter. Once any parameters have been created and added, they can be used inside of the family as normal. Since these are shared parameters, I prefer to name all of my hidden parameters with a “z” in front, such as “z Type”, “z Width”, “z Model Number”, etc. This will put them at the bottom of the parameter list inside of a project and also signifies that the parameter is hidden in the family editor.

Now for the final step (really, that’s it!): open the shared parameter file in a .txt file editor such as Notepad. The first thing you’ll see is a message to not edit the file…

Just ignore that.

You’ll then see a list of parameters as well as how they are organized inside of Revit and some data that lets Revit know how the parameter is used. Change a single value: the second integer. It will be a “1”. Change it to a “0”.

 

Hidden Parameters 3

Save the file and you’re done. Now that parameter is hidden in a project when added to a family.

For my example I made two hidden parameters: “z Type” and “z Material”. The visible dimensions are locked out using z Type, and the material (which can not be locked – just the nature of material parameters since they are unable to use formulas) is hidden so it cannot be modified in a project.

Hidden Parameters 4

Hidden Parameters 5

Dimensions locked and materials changed by hidden parameters. Note that there is no “Constraints” category in the Type Properties.

Custom Preview Images

So, you’re plugging away at work and your best Revit user submits the best door family they have to Unifi.  Awesome!  The system is working, the users get it!  But then you see the preview image!  Oh yeah, they are one of those who like a black background in Revit!  Sigh!  At least it’s not magenta!You could reject it and have it fixed, but you still need to validate it.  Best option: approve the content and fix the image yourself!

Unifi can help with this due to its ability to capture custom images.  Yep, any image shown on your monitor can be assigned as an elements preview image.  Editing the image is totally optional, but there may be times it needs to be done.  You definitely do not have to edit every image on every piece of content.  Steps for this are outlined below or check out this quick video!  No sound in the video, sorry!

  1. Start up a test project or open content.
  2. Modify view.
  3. From an item’s detail view, select “Edit File” from the buttons in the top right corner.
  4. Make sure the image you wish to capture is open on your screen.
  5. Click on the “Capture Image” button that appears below the item’s image. At this point, Unifi will hide and your monitor(s) will be blued out except for a small clear square near the center of the main monitor. A “Save Image” and “Cancel” button will appear at the top of the same monitor.
  6. Click on the clear square and hold the mouse button down as you move this square over the desired image.
  7. Click on one of the corners to resize the square if you desire. The square defaults to the minimum allowed size. The image you select will be resized to fit into the item’s icon.
  8. Click on the “Save Image” button to import the image into the item detail. After a moment, your image will replace the one that was previously shown.
  9. Click the green “Finished” button to save the changes.


Thanks for your time.

Chris Ridder – BIM Manager – GBD – LinkedIn – @cridder_


This is a post by a guest contributor not affiliated with INVIEWlabs. The opinions expressed are that of the contributor not INVIEWlabs. 

New Feature: Collections!

…actually, it’s been there the whole time! Read more below:

This is shaping up to be a big week for us at INVIEW labs! I am currently in-flight to DC to attend the first inaugural Building Content Summit (BCS) AND RTC. As co-chair of the BCS, it has been AWESOME to see the amount of interest in the event from all segments of our industry! I look forward to participating in this first meeting of the many content-minds out there. At RTC, The team at INVIEW labs will also be showing off our latest work on Unifi – plan on stopping by our booth so we can meet you!

As a product designer for Unifi, I take deep pleasure in seeing Unifi being used in so many ways by our amazing customers. Simple, yet flexible tools are the best tools. We measure each proposed feature against this core principle and we are proud of the positive feedback we receive from our customers that confirms the value of this.

We developed our simple meta-tag feature to fulfil many different needs. In Unifi, tags can be applied automatically upon upload, or manually anywhere an element appears. Consider the following uses of tags:

  • Improving search results – Search results are heavily influenced when a search term matches tags.
  • Searching – Many of our users enjoy searching by tags. By typing a bracket “[“ in the search form, users are given a drop down list of all tags. This is filtered down as you type.
  • Collections – “What? Collections? There’s no collections feature in Unifi..” you say. Let me explain below..

..but first, a bit about the Saved Search feature. Search criteria can be saved for perpetual use later. For example: a normal search for “Double Glass” will probably return many results. But if you add a Category filter of ‘Doors’, then your results will be greatly reduced. If you want to perform this search often, you can save the combined search term “Double Glass” AND the Category filter of ‘Doors’ together as a Saved Search. This is very powerful because any new content added later that fits this criteria will automatically appear when you open that saved search. It’s like an automatically updated folder!

When Saved Searches include certain tags in the criteria, they basically become collections. For example: want to organize a collection of ‘Living Room Furniture’? EASY! Just apply a tag that describes the collection (“LR Furniture” perhaps?), then create a Saved Search that only looks for that tag. From that point on, all living room furniture will be displayed by opening that saved search (provided the elements have the tag applied). Want to make the saved search available to everybody? Simply make it a Company Saved Search. So, YES, Unifi has a collections feature and these CAN be shared with your whole company! Unifi has a collection feature!

Again, these are simple tools that can be used in many different ways. Let us know how YOU use these features. I’d love to know!

Stay tuned throughout this week as we’ll be blogging about RTC!

UNIFI Content Library Strategies

One of the favorite things I love about my job is that I get to collaborate with and learn from so many of the best and brightest BIM minds in the world. We work with hundreds of firms and no two have the same needs. When it comes time to assist our customers with options as to how they can best leverage Unifi for their Revit content management needs, the first item on the list for discussion is a Unifi library strategy.

How do UNIFI Libraries work?

A little background first on what Libraries are and how they work. Libraries are like buckets where you can store content. Any user with rights to a library, will be able to browse or search that libraries content and insert it into their Revit projects. Libraries can have their own admins called “Library Admins” who can approve/reject content uploaded to a particular library and can also fulfill content requests to a particular library.

You can have an unlimited number of libraries in Unifi, but simplicity should be a goal. Less is more. Keeping your library strategy simple will not only make it easier for your users, but also for your BIM managers.

How to create a great Library Strategy

1. Single Office or Multi Office? Domestic or International?

Depending on the size of your firm you will have different problems to solve around content consistency and standards. A domestic firm will most likely only have to worry about content in Imperial units (or metric if outside the US). A international sized firm will have content in both formats and thus their library strategy will have to accommodate these 2 types of content.

Keeping your Imperial and Metric content in separate libraries will reduce the amount of potentially redundant content that your users will have to weed through. Another factor to consider for international firms is Regional Libraries. Lets say you have global offices, your London office may need its own regional library for content that adheres to local jurisdiction parameter standards.

Having firmware shared libraries and regional libraries can help separate content for local parameter or code specific reasons.

2. Separate Libraries for Details, Families, & Systems

When searching or browsing for specific element types in Unifi, try having separate libraries for quick and easy filtering. It is good practice to have all your details in a Detail Library, your system families is a System Library etc. This library strategy is a more structured approach that will provide quick access to element types.

Having a library per element type will automatically reduce the amount of content results your users will browse or search through. The less total results, the faster your designers find exactly what they are looking for.

3. Experiment with Company Saved Searches

Company saved searches are a powerful way to provide quick and easy access to particular sets of content for your design teams. This feature is just as important as libraries for your library strategy. Several of our customers choose to have a minimal amount of libraries because they use Company Saved Searches extensively. Company Saved Searches can be setup by Library or Company admins, and are instantly available to all users. Need to have a quick way to find all “2 hr rated shaft walls” or want to see all “water cooled screw chillers”, saved searches will hide the complexity of advanced queries from the users as a single click gets access to the content in seconds!

4. Speed is Key!

The entire purpose of the Unifi application is to get your designers to the right piece of content as quickly as possible so that they can get back to higher level design functions. Your firms workflows are unique and therefore there will be no standard library strategy that will work perfect for every company.

This is exactly why we developed Unifi to be a flexible configurable platform. Software should be adaptable to meet your needs and workflows, not the other way around.

You may find that with time your design teams needs will change and morph. Having the flexibility of Unifi will help BIM managers to effectively fine tune their content libraries with minimal effort. See what works best for your teams and continue to revisit your library strategy every couple months to find areas that can be optimized.

I hope this post helps give you some ideas to contemplate as you create your UNIFI library strategy! If you want to pick our brains for ideas on setting up your libraries please reach out to us. We would be happy to talk to you!

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