Three Wishes for Civil 3D Reference Templates

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The latest and greatest Release 8 of the Framework for Civil 3D for Civil 3D 2018 and Civil 3D 2019 employs Reference Templates in the sample project datasets. Those vital datasets help users identify what Styles looks and behave like. These project-based sandboxes provide and deliver a consistent development environment to tweak and test any of the specifics from the Framework’s huge Civil 3D resource libraries. To keep things simple in Release 8, we employed a single Reference Template resource connected to all the relevant project drawings from a local project resource location.

Reference Templates Work

I written quite a few posts and done some videos about the various issues with the initial and improved current version of the Reference Templates tool and the functionality of the Reference Template stack. Read and review the videos in the Who Broke Civil 3D Reference Templates post. Register on the site and you will discover an entire Reference Templates section collected articles in Documentation and Help.

Lately, I’ve worked with customers to develop attack plans to get them implemented in their projects. Most of these are in the pilot project stage. Fundamentally, the Reference Template approach works. We just can’t be as cute as we might think you want to be due to current limitations in the tool.

Funny, the last time I checked in the AKN and forums about Reference Templates there were hardly any discussions at all. Is it fair to say most folks in Civil 3D Land appear to be waiting to see if Mikey likes it?

I hear tell that Autodesk is working to improve Reference Template tool in the next 2020 release. I hope they cycle back any Reference Template improvements into an Update for Civil 3D 2019 too.

Wishes to Improve Reference Templates

Reference Templates should have a Type instead of the rasher of tabs in the current Reference Template Tools interface. Never mind that the current order of the tabs has little or nothing to do with when and how all the many properties of the many potential referenced resources actually must get applied to a real world drawing in Civil 3D.

A Reference Template Type that combines relevant property conditions for that Type coupled with Priority stack order would make the entire interface more useable and maintainable for real world users.

The Reference Template code could and probably should check that your current Priority stack makes sense for how all the properties actually must get applied to the Civil 3D object model. A report on problems would then be more possible and help us all sort issues out. The where the heck did that come from problem is not a small one.

To make the point - If I want to overwrite the current set of symbols (block property graphics) employed in a collection of Civil 3D Styles, those ACAD block references must enter the Reference Template drawing first.

When we hit Apply the Reference Template code should not have to search for all the potential conditions in all of the tabs. Put another way, I don’t care about the blocks or layers in that drawing only in the Layers and Blocks in those specific Types of Reference Templates.

Reference Template Futures

I doubt that I’m the only one in Civil 3D Land that would like to employ Reference Template tech to the Style libraries and make them truly more robust, flexible and adaptive to multiple CAD Standards. To maintain multiple Style collections for multiple Layer Standards Systems is actually sort of dumb when you think about it. I debated for a little bit doing that in Release 8. That would however, probably scare most people too much.

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