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    By Nick Harris 

    One significant announcement from Autodesk University was the availability of Inventor and Revit as cloud services.  However, I should make it clear now that this is not about operating Inventor or Revit within a web browser. The announcement came from the team behind Autodesk Forge, the technology used to process and manipulate design data using cloud computing.  It is still a significant step forward for Autodesk and it will allow partners and customers to build applications that process Inventor and Revit files without needing an installation of either product on the local network. Both products allow users to create large amounts of structured data and store them in project models. These new services will allow us to carry out editing operations on those models and create new versions of them. Up until now Autodesk has mainly concentrated on providing viewing and data extraction services with Forge. Now we will be able to send a model and a collection of editing commands and have the cloud service run the commands and update the model file on our behalf. There will be no graphical interface for these services, all interactions will be carried out using Forge API calls within a custom application.

    The most obvious use cases are related to optioneering for both Inventor and Revit by using parameter driven designs. For example, in scenarios where key properties such as weight or gross floor area are important to the outcome, these properties can be varied by trying multiple combinations of the length and width parameters. This then leads to the possibility of automating the creation of libraries of components or families, significantly reducing the effort to manage them.

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    Look for the Design Automation API (Beta) on the Autodesk Forge web site.

    In terms of the detail, Autodesk released a new version of the Forge Design Automation API as a public beta, with support for engines like Revit, Inventor or 3ds Max. Inventor is available now, Revit will be available on January 28th 2019 and 3ds max will follow, hopefully also next year.

    More details on the Inventor service can be found here:

    https://forge.autodesk.com/blog/simple-introduction-design-automation-inventor

    And the Revit one here:

    https://forge.autodesk.com/blog/design-automation-revit-public-beta-coming-january-28

    If you would like to find out more about how we can help you automate your business, please drop me an email nick.harris@cadline.co.uk.