Tales from the Axiom Technical Support desk
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA, USA — FileFixer has long been the undisputed champion against design file corruption. Since design file corruption is not something associated with any particular version of MicroStation, there are always new issues that come up that prevent MicroStation users from completing tasks they need to complete or make it harder for them to meet pressing project deadlines. This is why the motto of Axiom’s Customer Support team is “make MicroStation user’s lives easier!”
Following are some of the most recent V8 design file corruption problems presented by clients to Axiom’s Customer Support team.
Damaged level definitions
Axiom clients have reported that graphical elements not associated with any level are present in their design files. For example, an element indicates it is on level “electric-01″ but there is no such level defined in the file. Another manifestation of this is when MicroStation’s “Analyze” command cannot display the element’s level.
FileFixer has a solid and comprehensive repair algorithm for elements on undefined levels. FileFixer reads the level table to determine which levels are valid for the elements in the file. Then it handles the problem according to your needs. You can also specify the level you want “lost elements” moved to by using the repair setting “Move elements on unacceptable levels to level: ____”.
Structured storage problems
Structured storage errors are one of the most serious, recurring V8-specific corruptions reported by Axiom clients. This is a new phenomenon with MicroStation V8 files; hence, drafters using V8 in production might have encountered problems that were actually the result of structured storage errors, without realizing it.
Beginning with V8, design files contain multiple internal folders and files, similar to Microsoft Excel or Word documents. This internal organization is called “structured storage”. There are specific internal folders and files that are standard and expected in V8 design files. For example:
If one of the structured storage folders or sub-files is damaged, the data therein might become inaccessible, even when other portions of the same file are intact. FileFixer checks for structured storage damage automatically in every file processed because a fatal structured storage error indicates an important portion of your file is missing or cannot be accessed.
The most common structured storage errors are related to “missing graphical data” and “damaged graphical data”. These errors are manifested in unselectable models, unopenable V8 design files and missing elements.
FileFixer reports exactly what structured storage components are damaged or missing and enables MicroStation to read graphical data beyond corrupted structured storage portions in a V8 file. If FileFixer can’t quickly handle the problem, Axiom’s Customer Support team is readily available to analyze the design files and provide the most workable solution to the problem.
What is batch mode?
A common request we get is a customer wanting to know if they can use FileFixer to automatically analyze the health of their project files in batch at regularly scheduled times or during hours when project files are not tied up in production. Much to their delight, FileFixer can be launched from the DOS command prompt to process one file, one directory or an entire project. To do this, you must have MicroStation installed, but MicroStation’s graphical user interface will not be used in the process.
Why use batch mode? Batch mode might be handy for you under any of the following conditions:
- You want to schedule timed execution of FileFixer, especially after normal business hours.
- You can’t tie up network resources during normal business hours and need FileFixer to run at a specified time, unattended.
Customers report additional problems
The above-mentioned situations are not the only MicroStation corruption problems Axiom’s Customer Support team is encountering. We also hear about the following from our customers:
Cell library problems: the same problems that plague design files, plague cell libraries (because in V8, cell libraries have the same structure as a design file).
Fit view problems: upon clicking on the Fit View icon in the View Controls, the design doesn’t properly fit on the screen.
Elements off the design plane: At least one of the element’s range coordinates is beyond the edge of the design plane (or design cube in 3D). Elements may be unselectable, unmovable or excluded from fence operations. Also, you could experience anomalies with plotting.
All of these varieties of design file corruption are automatically handled by FileFixer’s “Automatic Design File Repair” command.
Even if MicroStation (V7 or V8) never introduced any erroneous data into design files, factors beyond Bentley’s control can still impact your files: acts of God, acts of Bill Gates, your operating system, your network software, your network hardware, your server, your CPU, your hard drives and your electric power company.
And sure enough, the tradition continues with MicroStation V8. FileFixer for V7 is the best resource available to ensure that your V7 files will import into V8 healthy and whole. Once you begin production with MicroStation V8, you enter the realm of FileFixer for V8.