Civil 3D Templates to Update or Rebuild

Tags Upgrade, Update, Batch Save, Data Shortcut Manager, DREF, Data Shortcut Editor, template, TREF, Project Management

We all work today in one Release of Civil 3D or another. Folks these days appear to wait until Autodesk releases the Civil 3D Update 1 of any particular Release to move on. Only then do they begin to deploy and employ the latest and greatest of Autodesk Civil 3D. Makes sense to me.

Lots of other folks continue choose to remain one or more releases back from the current “bleeding” edge release. There is often some odd and even Civil 3D release mysticism involved here. This protection is an illusion of our own construction. This makes little or no sense to me unless your project, by hook or crook, specifically requires a specific Civil 3D release. Huh? These statements deserve some explanation.

By Hook or Crook

The hook and crook turn of phrase is all about proactive management and animal husbandry. It is not about fantasy movie pirates and criminals by the bye. This is Autodesk Civil 3D. We are trying to herd cats. Yeehah.

What is a Civil 3D Upgrade or Update?

The classic Wait in the Wings Upgrade strategy did make sense back in the day. Autodesk crammed all the new AutoCAD and Civil 3D specific functionalities into the annual release candidates.
Does Mikey Like It? was a valid question for more than cereal.
Service Packs fixed the holes in the dike. Sometimes it took a few of them. Eheh.

Like it or not, those Civil 3D dev days are long gone. Good riddance.

Civil 3D customers demanded better interoperability and Style transparency between Civil 3D releases.
The current, cascaded, and more integrated software development approach is what we pay for.
Demonstrably, the current method works better whatever we want to call it. The approach tends to get many significant issues fixed across multiple releases. Really Big Changes are neigh to impossible. This makes most folks happy.

These days the Autodesk teams put most of the major new functionalities and changes into the Civil 3D Updates. Many, or most, of these core object model changes are cascaded back into older Civil 3D releases via Updates.

In other words, the Civil 3D 2020 object model of the latest 2020 Update in some respects is often closer to the new 2022 object model than it is to the original 2020 model.

If you work in a 2020 Update, you basically miss out on the interface improvements and new tool functionalities in 2021 and 2022.

Whether those potential benefits are worth the deployment effort for your organization is a whole other can of worms.

One person’s bait is another person’s dinner.

Want to Fish or Cut Bait?

Personally, I strive to focus on training and enabling folks on how to fish.
We produce the best Civil 3D Template and Civil 3D Style content libraries and resources to help people with that work.

Should We SaveAs our 2020 Template or Rebuild it for 2022?

The answer to this reasonable Civil 3D question is a bit bizarre - We should do neither and both.

First off – If we believe or act as though a Civil 3D Template is the most important source of our known good, we make an all-too-common Civil 3D management and maintenance mistake.

Any new Civil 3D Release or major Update includes few substantive changes to the object model. 95-98%+ of the object model and Civil 3D Style tools do not change. We face a needles in haystacks problem. Let's toss some fodder into the wind.

We must manage and maintain separate collections of these resources in Civil 3D. These resources must be separate from our working and publication templates.

Our mission critical task then is to manage and somehow maintain that reality in the Civil 3D production project context. That production project-based context and our maintenance and management methods, structures, and patterns matter.

How to See and Get More

We cannot rehash the entire substance and depth of the How to See and Get More in Civil 3D posts series in a single post. In brief, Civil 3D includes a collection of different and separate kinds of templates for good reasons.
The Multiplicity of Civil 3D Templates post and videos is a reasonable place to start the journey.
Register, and see the Members section for more help on these topics.

How often are our Civil 3D Projects Updated? All the time. Certainly a lot more often than we think.

Each and every major Update that changes the Civil 3D object model matters. Our project with drawings in different States of Update are always more likely to fail. Civil 3D project drawings often fail for this very reason at the most inopportune times. You know the drill.

What do you know? Autodesk solved this painful problem.

We Employ the Civil 3D Better Tools or Not

The second and perhaps most important point of this post. The SaveAs command is a poor substitute for the other more useful Upgrade and Update external maintenance tools included with Autodesk Civil 3D.

In Civil 3D projects, Data Reference (DREF) maintenance is mission critical.
Shared project-based data behind drives the bus in Civil 3D.
For most CAD Manager folks the Civil 3D Data Shortcut Editor (DSE) is our project Update besty – I trust the DSE is a familiar project maintenance friend.
Every Civil 3D User should understand and know how to employ the Civil 3D Data Shortcut Manager Tool (DSM) tool well.

We should learn to employ the Civil 3D Batch Save Utility (BSU) to process our Civil 3D Upgrades and Updates of Templates, Styles, and resources for Civil 3D. This skill only requires practice and repetitions to master.

Civil 3D Batch Save Utility

The BSU and the DSE remain the only reasonable method and practice to systematically update Civil 3D projects. Yes. The structures of our Civil 3D projects should reflect this reality.

You do have a Civil 3D Sandbox project to maintain, test, and develop your resources for Civil 3D?

Is that simple maintain, test, and develop list backwards or not?

All the many Civil 3D Templates and hosts of resources require a Civil 3D project-based context to create, edit, and manage them effectively.

Our Framework for Civil 3D Jump Kit products all ship with multiple versions of standardized Sandbox Projects for good reason. We all need them.

There is no real rocket science or dark art to the BSU except maybe the idea of coupled (and secure) LSP and SCR files and perhaps the inventive use of the SCRIPTCALL command to perform systematic Civil 3D Standards changes beyond just the software Updates to drawing collections.

Simple AUDIT, Purge RegApps, and update and Save BSU scripts are easy and included with the tool.
Yes. The BSU beats the heck out of a manual SAVEAS or Open and Save approach.

Batch Save Utility Settings

The Batch Save Utility Settings are important. These are covered in other Batch Save posts in detail.
In summary….

In general, employ only a couple of simultaneous BSU sessions with relatively short 2-5 minute timeout settings.
Less can be more. Your hardware, network bandwidth and performance, and the drawing content all significantly affect BSU results and these performance settings.

We can be pretty fancy with the other BSU file filter settings but processing Civil 3D projects and Civil 3D resources by folders with simple forced Read Only properties of specific files and folders is generally the easiest approach.

Batch Save Separations

We do want to systematically BSU process and test copies and, very often, copied chunks of projects and Civil 3D resources.

There are definitely files and folders of files in our projects and in our Civil 3D resource collections that we do not want to infect with the Civil 3D virus. Eheh.

We manage the Civil 3D Diva or she manages to drive us crazy.

There are useful Batch Save Utility posts on related topics available in the Members section and/or by search on the public side of the site. Register.

The Civil 3D Batch Save Utility is the best thing Autodesk has done to address the Civil 3D Upgrade and Update mess for a decade.

Don’t leave home without it. Eheh.

Do the do.

The Liberty to Make Civil 3D Work
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