How Axiom researches emerging types of V8 file corruption
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — Regardless of the cause of design file damage — a power fluctuation, a network glitch, an unreliable hard drive, an amateur software developer, an act of God or an act of Bill Gates — customer reports to Axiom Technical Support confirm week after week that design file corruption does impact MicroStation projects, and no version of MicroStation is immune.
Some forms of design file corruption are immediately obvious and fatal (such the “Unable to open design file” dialog). Some categories of design file corruption are annoying time wasters (such as unselectable elements). There is also a class of design file corruption that lurks unnoticed in your project design files, not impacting production until the most inconvenient time for you, possibly long after the damage was done.
To solve these problems for the MicroStation community, Axiom continuously watches for long-term trends of design file misbehavior to identify new features that should be added to FileFixer. Axiom is particularly meticulous in its analysis of any file which is so badly mangled it cannot be opened by MicroStation — the files which stop projects dead in their tracks. When MicroStation cannot open a file, that design asset is lost. Axiom takes this very seriously.
To assist the broadest possible number of MicroStation users, FileFixer enhancements provide solutions for recurring, long-term file corruption trends which have been identified by Axiom’s analysis of customer files over a long period of time – the most common problems CAD shops, like yours, have encountered or inevitably will.
One of the most common problems that are found in customer V8 design files is a corrupted level table. When a V8 design file’s level table is damaged or missing, graphical elements become “stranded” on levels that aren’t defined. This problem is new to V8 and does not occur in V7 design files. FileFixer for V8 offers a quick remedy for damaged or missing level tables.
Other V8-specific problems discovered in many customer files involve elements that have at least one coordinate beyond the edge of the design plane. This type of error makes these elements hard to select, move or delete and cause MicroStation users a great deal of annoyance (and wasted time). FileFixer repairs these elements so that they can be manipulated as needed.
Running out of design file corruption to fix?
What about FileFixer’s future? The fizzing test tubes and bubbling beakers in Axiom’s design file laboratory are currently filled with specimens of “structured storage” corruption. Structured storage is the file structure used by Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Bentley also selected this file structure for MicroStation V8 design files.
A structured storage file contains multiple sub-folders and sub-files. Analysis of multiple customer V8 design files has identified repeated instances where the internal pointers to sub-folders or sub-files are damaged — causing the standard structured storage file reading and writing operations to fail. When such damage occurs, MicroStation cannot open the V8 file. Sound familiar? You may have been told nothing can be done to recover from this.
Fortunately for you, Axiom didn’t give up. Analysis of customer files revealed that in many cases of structured storage damage, the original design data is still intact, but is trapped within the mangled wreckage. If you need to free your V8 data from the surrounding structured storage wreckage, or if you’ve run into any project-stopping or annoying design file anomaly — V7 or V8 — contact Axiom. Your troublesome file could contribute to a new search or repair option that benefits the entire MicroStation community.