How to avoid migration disasters

Preventative steps to ensure a successful V7 to V8 migration.

CLEARWATER, FL, USA — Are you longing to work with MicroStation V8 but obligated to continue using V7 for the immediate future? If so, you are certainly not alone. Axiom continues to energetically support its large number of V7 clients and continues to enhance the V7 version of MicroStation Productivity Toolkit applications.

With MicroStation V8 on the horizon for many MicroStation shops, preparing legacy V7 files for a successful migration is a growing concern. MicroStation Productivity Toolkit offers solutions to ensure migrations go smoothly.

But there’s no reason to be excluded from the world of V8. There are a number of actions you can take right now on your V7 projects which will immediately save time and increase productivity while also preparing your projects for V8. This article describes actions you can take right now which will benefit both your current V7 projects and future V8 projects.

Avoiding emergencies
Use FileFixer to search for problems in your V7 project files and to identify those files which require repair. You can use FileFixer’s “Search for Problems” mode to generate a full report of all problems found in one or more project files — this is perfect mid-project to debug corrupted files which have halted your project. However, if you are responsible for hundreds or thousands of V7 files, perhaps on the verge of migration to V8, you need a summarization of the corruption found in your files so you can quickly identify and handle the most severely corrupted files with FileFixer before they impact your project or migration to V8. Use FileFixer to generate a list of files with the most serious problems and then use FileFixer’s “Automatic Repair” mode to fix the identified troublemakers. When you are responsible for hundreds or thousands of files, this fast solution is an effective trade-off of time and thoroughness. This quick action alone avoids expensive emergencies, project delays and disrepute. Check your V7 project files this way before archiving a completed project — ensure there are no time bombs that will blow up months or years later. Using FileFixer to identify and repair your most seriously corrupted project files is also the best way to ensure your project files will import into V8 healthy and whole. Post-migration, use FileFixer for V8 to handle any troublesome V8 files and to maintain the continued health of your V8 files.

Creating backups
Back up your project files! Regrettably, Axiom clients have reported a few too many horror stories that resulted from failure to back up files. Back up your project files to tape, CD, DVD or a second hard drive — it doesn’t matter. This is a good practice for any project and is particularly crucial before executing a bulk import of V7 files into V8. When the time comes for you to upgrade your V7 files to V8 using MicroStation’s “Upgrade to V8″ command, each new V8 file inherits the name and location of the V7 original. Note: if you de-select MicroStation’s backup option (not recommended!) your V7 files will be lost (instead of being copied to a user-defined directory)! The moral of the story: back up your project files regularly and don’t disable the backup option when executing MicroStation’s bulk upgrade command.

Saving full file path in references
Reference file full paths are often a source of trouble when project files are moved from one directory or drive to another — a common occurrence for V7 projects and particularly common when a new V8 project is started. You can use Axiom’s RefManager to remove saved full paths. You can also use RefManager to insert MicroStation configuration variables in place of saved full paths. For example, MYPROJECT:MyRef.dgn. Configuration variables are portable to V8 — and the definition for the configuration variable MYPROJECT can point to different directories in your V7 and V8 workspaces. Or, if you prefer to use saved full paths, RefManager can help update the saved full path when project files are moved to a new directory or drive.

Deleting useless cells
Use CellManager to delete obsolete, duplicate and non-standard cells from your cell libraries and consolidate multiple cell libraries into one efficient, standard library. This optimizes your ongoing V7 projects and ensures you don’t carry confused, non-standard cells with you to V8. Note: once you convert your V7 cell libraries to V8 there is no way to convert them back to V7 format. Back up your cell libraries!

Adhering to standards
Adopt standards now and automatically standardize your project files with SpecChecker. This achieves consistency, efficiency and pleased clients now, while preparing your drawings for V8′s level-based standards.

Migrating User Commands
It is amazing how long some user commands (UCMs) remain in productive use. Few other examples of “software” survive more than 15 years — unrivaled return on investment! However, despite the fact that some UCMs still work with MicroStation V8, Bentley has stated that UCMs are an unsupported V8 feature and will be removed in a future release of V8, so it might be time to think about retiring your beloved UCMs. Take a moment to survey your drafters to identify those vital UCMs that are actually still in use. Try using the Bentley UCM2BAS utility to convert your UCMs to BASIC (compatible with MicroStation/J and V8). If you begin converting your UCMs now you will avoid an often-unanticipated V8 migration problem.

Naming V7 levels
You don’t have to wait for V8 to use level names now. MicroStation/J supports level names and level descriptions select Settings | Levels | Names… from MicroStation/J’s main menu bar. MicroStation/J also allows you to group named levels into logical groups. Level name definitions are saved to a file that can be imported into any V7 project file — use Global File Changer to add level definitions to your entire project. Attaching level name definitions to a V7 file simply assigns a label and description to existing numbered levels — you can still refer to level numbers if you wish, but level names and descriptions serve as reminders for V7 project staff while introducing them to an important aspect of V8 life. V7 level names will be imported automatically into MicroStation V8 when the time comes (and are fully compatible with V7 workmode too).

Checking files in V7 workmode
Open one of your V7 files with MicroStation V8 in V7 workmode and use Axiom’s Problem Element Viewer to traverse through your elements to see how they have are represented by MicroStation V8. Yes, this works in V7 workmode! This illustrates how your V7 files will be converted to V8 when you upgrade them — an interesting study!

All of the Axiom applications described in this article are components of MicroStation Productivity Toolkit.

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