19 Replies Latest reply on Feb 26, 2015 12:22 AM by Brian McEwen

    Big List of EPDM Enhancements

    Brian McEwen

      Here is my list of what I think the EPDM software should do better. Much of this was noted during implementation.  One important theme I noticed is the EPDM searching and filtering options, while they have a lot of advantages over no PDM, also have lots of room for improvement. 

       

      I got ideas from a variety of others on the forums. Partly due to convergent evolution there is some overlap with the list created by Terry Raymond   Re: EPDM 2013 implementation issues / wish list  

       

      See also Big List Of SolidWorks Enhancements.  

       

      I  sent this list to my VAR also.

       

      ******************************************

      1. *SPR 443915 - Make Where Used tab easier to read.
      2. *Paste as Reference for an EC - On the Contains tab of the EC5295.xlsm file there are 25 drawings... and then finally EC5295.xlsm and the two drawings I actually Pasted as Ref!  If you go to any of the first 25 drawings (which are some of the children of the two I wanted) and check their Where Used then EC5295 does not show up.  Why is it separating out all those extraneous drawings (instead of showing them under the appropriate parents)? At the very least give us a Right Click>>Collapse All command (Top Level Only selection does not do this completely).
      3. *Dispatch Jump action (basically If-Then) - how about "If less-than" option, or especially "If Contains" option?  (currently has: if greater than, if equal to, if not equal to, and if equal or greater)
      4. *Dispatch Condition triggers - need "On Move" for when files/folders are moved to different folders.
      5. *Dispatch Condition triggers - should be able to have it activate on more than one state, so you don't need to duplicate the script for multiple conditions.
      6. *Update References Tool - it should work basically the same way after check-in - so it would catch external references. ... Okay it does, but only if you dirty the data card to make it recheck all references (this is knowledge that most users do not have).  Also even this trick does no't work on sub assy - those need to be individually checked-out and altered in order to get Update Ref to include their external references.  Make this more transparent, and make it affect all assembly levels (if desired).
      7. *Renaming - Crikey, if you can't handle renaming SolidWorks while parent files are checked-out (by another user) - then pop up a warning that the parent is checked-out. 
      8. *Revision stamps - should be able to have more than one option per State - depending on the transition used it will apply the appropriate Revision (e.g. one for alpha, one for numeric).
      9. *The View File tool - when viewing text documents like a Word file - needs a text search.
      10. *On Check-in-out or Change State there should be a little counter that tells you about numbers of checkboxes - how many of each files extension are checked for this operation?
      11. *SolidWorks "Show in folder" will sometimes open a regular Windows Explorer window, but inside the vault - with none of the EPDM functionality.
      12. *The version tab syntax for no local copy "-/6" should be different than for a modified version, for example: "+/6" for modified. Or even "+3/6" if it is a modified version 3 but up to v6 exists currently (check-in and it will become version 7/7 of course).
      13. *Update References Tool - it doesn't work to select which copy to use (after Find Files)!  ...If the duplicate you don't want is in the same folder as the assembly then selecting the correct file does not help.  It will still try to check in the bad copy in the check-in folder location.  The workaround - you can drag the assembly into a new folder away from the other components (and then do Update Ref Tool and Find Files), but it would be nice if the selection thing actually worked. Add Files to Vault does not include drawings (I understand why, since they don't show up on Where Used, but the tool could at least look for drawings with the same file name as the component being added).
      14. *Update References Tool - By default all sub assy should be expanded if they contain Warnings. Also ability to step thru warnings (like on Check-in) would be helpful.  Also filter by warning type.
      15. *This one would be a brilliant addition - from the Parent item should be able to select all children and do something to those files (for example to run a Dispatch action on all the children). General problem is that we can't do anything to files shown in the Contains tab, or in the BOM, or Where Used. We've got this nice Select Files feature - but what can you do once you select files!?  [SPR 529670]
      16. *(nit picking) Check-out, Change State often not available from inside SolidWorks (with EPDM Add-in). They are grayed out for unknown reason... comes back if you click the item in the Add-in pane.
      17. *Undo Check-out should not be prevented by the same Outside EPDM Warning that prevents Check-in.   I think. We had a scenario where I had a parent assy checked out and someone changed a sub assy so that it had an outside ref  -  I was stuck being unable to check-in (makes sense) and unable to undo check-out (I don't think this makes sense) until the sub assy was fixed.
      18. *Since getting EPDM Windows Explorer crashes at least once a week, up from almost never (it does restart pretty fast, but not ideal). (seems to have stabilized a bit)
      19. *Replace command for the whole vault - should be able to do this with a tool (even if it means the tool has to check out files to change them). Like the SolidWorks Explorer Replace but faster.
      20. *In Admin tool control of Settings is terribly finicky. There should be a way to lock Settings to Group, instead of having User take some kind of precedence.  It seems if you change a User from one Group to another that the Settings of that whole group become mixed, the User keeps their settings instead of getting the Group Settings.
      21. *People spend a lot of clicks resizing the view areas on the Explorer interface. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I'm thinking that the data card view area (and other Tabs at the bottom) should remain more consistent.  So that when the overall Explorer window is resized the middle area (area that is either search results or general browsing), is what changes size first. This may be a Windows issue though.
      22. *We can't add a column that shows the database Revision (not the card Revision variable)? I had to create another variable to do this.
      23. *Offline Search - Windows search doesn't work, and EPDM search cards don't work...  Okay I found out SolidWorks Explorer and the internal SolidWorks Search will search the Cached files. But this seems to be a little know fact. 
      24. *More ways to Log Out - For example a button!
      25. *More options for auto logout settings in Admin tool. (30 minutes idle is the only option) Would like to be able to control it by Group. And change the timer.
      26. *There should be a separate permission for Move files - so that it is not treated as a Delete operation. I want some users to be able to move files without being allowed to delete them.  The write permissions on the destination folder should still apply. SPR 470009 [coming in 2015]
      27. *The workflow flowchart visual is informative - there should be a way to make the workflow visible to specified groups - groups that cannot edit it. Ideally with the ability to add visible comments (on hover?) to each part of the workflow. A static image of the workflow can easily become out of date.
      28. *Lack of feedback when deleting and destroying large numbers of files (500 to 5000)... a better progress bar would be really nice (there is one but it is only visible for some of the process).
      29. *Control Logic - it only has variables on one side of the comparison (eg Revision not equal to string). It needs variables on both sides of the comparison. Ideally database fields too (like State, filepath...).
      30. *Group (group of current user) is not a commonly available parameter. In control logic I want - Hide field if group not equal to CertainGroup. (obviously Group is available for tab visibility)
      31. *Tab Visibility - with it Controlled by Group - it only shows one tab, even if the user is a member of multiple groups. It should show all tabs that the user belongs to.
      32. *Paste as Reference - it'd be nice if we you could make them show in a different color or something - to indicate an item was manually attached instead of by "natural" SolidWorks means. [I think there was an SPR on this]
      33. *Search bar in Windows Explorer should still work! (Basically the same way, so it will quickly search filenames (unless you use search operators to pick another field?)).  It can take a few seconds more to launch an embedded EPDM search tool. Windows search has it's own problems but at least it is very accessible, people are used to it, and it works well for targeted filename searches.
      34. *Search Cards - should be able to assign a single search field (Edit Box) to search multiple variables.
      35. *Search Cards bonus feature: if you could assign an instance to a given control: eg Description editbox1 searches instance 1 and Description editbox2 searches instance 2 of Description variable --- so you can easily run an AND search by searching a single variable with two different words inside two different edit boxes (I know this can be done with the Variables search but it is cumbersome if you just want Contains AND Contains).
      36. *Search - more approaches to a NOT search would be useful. Can use the Variables search (Does not contain), or can do "!word" (but only in certain fields).  But there is no way to do NOT for system/database "variables" like filename, state, filepath, configuration.  (Unless you copy it to a datacard variable. )
      37. *Master multibody part - the master shows up on the Contains tab of an individual part (created with save bodies) - but the master part does not show any Where Used or Contains info. It should have Where Used info. Same applies for inserted parts - the EPDM Contains/Where Used info is not complete.
      38. *On file cards - box for entering applicable extensions is tiny.
      39. *On parallel transition - it would be nice if each role had the option to send a notification before the transition is fully complete - so when a user approves the transition they can notify the next person/role in the parallel approval process. 
      40. *Dispatch - should be able to run Tasks from Dispatch. eg create a PDF with a specific Convert Task and then rename the PDF (with regular Dispatch functions).
      41. *The convert to pdf task should be able to add variables to the output file name. eg create and file in folders named with ECO number.  (can be done with advanced editing, but could be easier)
      42. While viewing lots of files in details view, whole row highlight option, give an area to right click the background so that background context menu can pop up (new folder etc).  Not having this makes whole row highlight a pain. (from Terry Raymond)
      43. *Allow changing background color of data card fields.   (from Terry Raymond)
      44. *Auto Clear local cache - need the option to run this for a certain shared computer - rather than for certain users or groups or folders.
      45. Undo button in card editor & workflow editor - SPR 327259
      46. *Copy Tree should have a move function - to move a file and all references inside the vault without copying them. (Simon Gatrall) [coming in 2015]
      47. *When trying to move something, it often gives a "filename not unique" type error, but the relevant error is that the user does not have delete permissions in the source folder, or write permissions in the destination folder.  That is just misleading.
      48. *Login box for the Admin tool and the local vault should look a little different. Would make it more clear what you are logging in to. Also the windows Task Bar icon for the Admin tool should be a little different (ala Search Tool icon).
      49. *Search results - Found In Version column should show the x of y Version (eg 6/8) - so you can more easily tell if it is in latest or not (in a single column). [similar thing coming in 2015]
      50. *Settings>>Copy Tree>>Transform - only allows dumb strings in Replace and in Add Suffix/Prefix - ideally would allow use of card or database variables for writing to the copied filenames.  For example you could export an assy and each file would have a suffix based on the relevant version or Revision value for that file.
      51. *At Check-In it would be nice if you could sort by column. For example to group together the Results that have a warning... Or perhaps filter to show only warnings (can already export the list which is nice).      
      52. *Would be nice to combine Change State and Check-in steps - so if you try to change the state on something checked-out it assumes you want to check-in, gives you a warning message, and then proceeds to do both (or just one thing, per checkboxes) on the selected files. This should probably only happen at one level, so it would allow this shortcut for a model and drawing, but not for all the sub components, too easy to make a mistake.
      53. (nit picking) *Printing the workflow image is unreliable - seems like after too much stuff is added at some point it can no longer print (just prints a blank sheet). 
      54. *Contains tab - Right Click>>Select Files should store the last filter used (e.g. *.sldprt) (this only matters if there is some function we can do after selecting files).
      55. *While in SolidWorks would like to be able to know when the file I'm working on was last checked-in (without going out to History)... Or make it easier to open History from the EPDM SW Add-in.
      56. An EPDM version compare tool that works without SolidWorks. (Dharmesh Desai)
      57. BOM stuff - Promote and Hide should work for EPDM computed BOM - to deal with how the user wants to handle sub assembly components.  See more in post by John Travis. 
      58. EPDM File Version Upgrade Tool needs the ability to run with the SolidWorks add-in turned on.  So that it can update drawing data cards (when values are mapped from model to drawing). 
      59. EPDM File Version Upgrade Tool - it can run on sldprt, slddrw, or sldasm, or on all SolidWorks files. But if you want to run it one 2 out of 3 you are out of luck, you have to run it twice. Also you can't select multiple folders (not counting subfolders).  (8/20/14)
      60. When automatic vault login is on need a way to switch users. (8/18/14)
      61. I would like to be able to open old versions in a temporary state - while keeping the latest version open (without the extra work of manually saving out the old one).   It would need to modify the old version filename, with -version number or something.  Bonus if this can be done for assembly (it references all the appropriate component versions).  In the case of slddrw maybe it could be treated like a detached drawing, so it doesn't pull from references. And this needs to work with any level of SolidWorks
      62. The user called "Admin" has special permissions, but they should not be exclusive - should be able to give these permissions to other users who are full admins. (Admin: Is the only user that can search and view files that are currently in another user's private state (i.e. added files that have never been checked in); Can delete a file that is checked out by another user or in another vault view; and Can check in (or undo check out) a file that is checked out by another user.)
      63. In the Workflow editor I would like to be able to copy and paste Transition Actions. Or have a drop down menu of existing Actions - so you can create the Action just once, and then add it to any transition.
      64. If model and drawing have the same filename then should be able to change both in one step.
      65. Undo Engineering Change work.... We moved a file out of Released state and created some versions, then the EC is cancelled and we need a good way to undo the changes, ideally without Admin involvement, and without losing the history. Rollback is overkilll. There should be an easy way to set this up so that EPDM gets the newest Released Revision and checks it back in as the newest Version. And a bonus if it then moves it back to the Released state - but we can create a workflow for this part. If Dispatch had a Get Revision action then you could create this, but ideally we should not need Dispatch. Basically I just want EPDM to take over promoting the Revision to the newest Version - one action for multiple files.

       

      ******************************************  First posted 7/24/14. ******************************************

       

      ...That's all for now (as of February 25, 2015),  thanks!

      -Brian

        • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
          Dharmesh Desai

          another big one i see missing is...

          have a compare preview window (2d & 3d) during approval process, so someone can visually see what changes were made vs previous rev (especially usefull if the approving manager doesn't have CAD software in their machine)

            • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
              Brian McEwen

              Thanks for the idea Dharmesh.  Some better EPDM comparison tools would be nice.

               

              I know they do have comparison tools in SolidWorks Premium and Professional.  Does anyone know if those can handle EPDM versions? If they are not designed for EPDM then I imagine needing to save the older versions out with different file names so you can compare to current version? 

               

              For EPDM a comparison that ran in eDrawings would be nice.

            • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
              John Travis

              Hi Brian,

               

              Great List here. I'd like to add two more!

               

              EPDM Computed BOMs are in serious need of two fixes. the ability to "promote" components in a subassembly, or "hide" components in an assembly (as in tagging an assy to make it inseperable and treated as a single component), is very usefull in creating a BOM that shows exactly what you want it to show. Currently, an EPDM computed bom fails to account for either correctly. The "Parts Only" view of the computed BOM does not show inseperable assemblies (they are simply ignored because they are not sldprt's), and the "Indented BOM" view does not exclude subassemblies that are set to promote its components (sub assemblies that you would not want as part of the BOM still show up). (SPR's 649406 and 662553). This issue also disallows the combination of like hardware that may be in different subassemblies... instead of getting a running quatity total of your hardware, it is split up in the bom as different items because the subassemblies were not ignored.

               

              Computed BOMs (and subsequently Named BOMs) that you could influence with these two options (just like a Solidworks Drawing BOM can currently do) would offer so much functionality, especially with the advent of version free variables. Utilizing version free variable columns in a Computed BOM provides a two way street of entering/changing data in the BOM and the files in one step (either from the file data card itself, or right from Computed BOM columns) without having to check out the files. This is perfect for a Project Manager, Supply Chain, or any other epdm groups who you wouldn't neccearily want to give check out access to. More importantly, no more excel sheet BOMs!

               

              Thanks!

               

              John

              • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                Tom Smith

                Here's the ones that really annoy me, or force us to work a certain way, with SPR#s so everyone can vote:

                 

                713265 User defined references (Paste as reference ) be configuration specific

                800894 User setting "Do not mark referenced files when changing state" should be set "per transition"

                767606 Need to hide a transition from the change state menu.

                541094 Admin selection: Must Enter state change comments: This should be set per transition.

                671348 BOM qty for sub assembly part is different when using 'reference count' and 'reference count (bom qyt disregard)' when bom qty not used

                686135 EPDM managed toolbox set to ‘create parts’ fails to check in ‘master’ when description or part number info is changed causing version to increase. (plus nobody remembers to check in the master!)

                • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                  Paul Wyndham

                  One thing I would really like to see is the ability to rename a part on the check in dialog screen. As it is now you have to export the list and then figure out how to rename all the files and get SolidWorks to recognize the name change to a file not checked in yet, so that all the assemblies get updated.

                   

                  It would be much easier if you could just go down the check in list and change the name of files right then and there and have EPDM properly update the assemblies.

                  I should probably submit an SPR for this.

                  • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                    Rob D

                    Looks good.

                     

                    One thing I noticed is the terrible application of error messages. Plenty of "Operation not possible" messages without any reason as to why the operation failed or is not possible. For example, when reaching the end of a list of revisions (Rev all the way up to YY) and try to go past. When the user selects the transition which will increase the rev, the only thing that happens is an error message saying the transition cannot be completed. No explanation as to it being the revision counter at the end, etc. Most error messages are like this, telling there was an error but giving absolutely no details into what the error even is, let alone where the error exists. This is getting very annoying during development and testing.

                     

                    Other examples:

                    • When trying to export a card and a variable has been renamed or re-mapped, an error saying "The Card Variable cannot be found"
                      • Does not map to which card is involved
                      • Does not show which variable is problematic
                    • When a category is renamed and a workflow uses it for conditions. Now the workflow cannot be exported and gives a similar error "Category cannot be found"
                      • Does not name which category
                      • Does not show which workflow is the issue (when exporting a vault. With only 2 or 3 workflows, easy to narrow down to which one is the issue, but with 50 workflows...suddenly it's a massive issue).

                     

                    Please, please enhance the error messages.

                     

                    ---

                     

                    22. Revision in columns, YES. We're working on middle-manning it to a variable right now as well, but storing the same data in two places is a recipe for disaster. If you wouldn't mind, actually, I would love to see how you're making it work. We're pretty solid on it, but never hurts to have a second opinion. Also have you found a way to query files where revision_system != revision_variable?

                     

                    33. Windows search bar. Eh, maybe. I was a little surprised it had zero functionality, but the point of the EPDM software is to avoid using that search feature and to work on the information in the metadata.

                     

                    45. I have mixed feelings. On one hand, whoever built a program anytime after 1980 without an "Undo" button should go back to school. On the other hand, the workflows, transitions, etc are placed into the database tables when created (we poked around in them yesterday and found the nuances behind the scenes). So, when you "Undo" that's, in reality, deleting the visual representation but the database row has already been consumed and used. So, an "undo" function gets a little dicey.

                      • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                        Matthew Phaneuf

                        Rob;

                        "Please, please enhance the error messages."

                        what an understatement. ePDM is customizable and configurable, that's why we purchased it. The error messages are terrible. Going through implementation, you test-test-test. I can't tell you how many VAR calls I've made in the past few months, ironically, the larger majority were based on a screen capture of a generic description of the error. Come to find out, the error message is the start of a tedious drill-down by a high level AE.

                         

                        That new functionality where when you search Solidworks CAD and you can go to the icon directly; an ePDM error function where when you type that error in, it's taking you, at the very least. to the general direction or source. This is tricky I know, but geesh; look at this beauty

                        8-8-2014 (4).PNG

                        programmers created this and said "ahhhh we'll get back to this later".........in 2007

                      • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                        Einar Gulbrandsen

                        34. *Search Cards - should be able to assign a single search field (Edit Box) to search multiple variables.

                        This should be a standard function.

                         

                        However:

                        You can search for multiple files at the same time when you use the variable (file)name.

                        But you cannot do the same for all other variables.

                        • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                          Rob D

                          Brian,

                           

                          This is one I just ran into a couple minutes ago actually. If you are transitioning to a workflow link, IE: Transition from "Pending Approval" to "Released", but "Released" is part of original workflow, where as "Pending Approval" is part of a review workflow. The transition from "Pending Approval" to the link to "Released" does not allow the user to increase the revision number. Because one of the states is the workflow link, it will not allow the user to select the revision to work with, thus I cannot set it to be increased.

                           

                          I've set it to increase in the previous transition (from a manager approval to department approval), but think it should be able to increase into that workflow link.

                           

                          -Rob

                          • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                            Rob D

                            Quick one I came across (I think quick....)

                             

                            Change the serial number generator list of numbers from 000...001 to 003, 0004, 00005, etc so the user can see the number of places used easier. I modified this one up to the 4 digit for an example.

                             

                            EPDM_SerialStringValues.png

                            • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                              Victor Frauenfeld

                              One more that I thing is a major shortcoming
                              of EPDM… Have ability to use configurations within part files and have the
                              configured parts be at different revision levels from each other. This is
                              necessary because making a change to one part might not affect all parts that
                              are configured within the .sldprt file. One of the major benefits of SolidWorks
                              is the ability of configurations of files. I can have a part file that has a
                              hole in it for example. That file could have two configurations that have that
                              same hole in different locations. They are two different part numbers. Those two
                              part numbers could have different revision letters. EPDM does not allow this to
                              happen. So either, the parts need to be individual files, or they must be the
                              same revision letter for both parts. This means that even if there is no change
                              on one of the parts, they both advance revision letter. And that makes more
                              work for engineering, purchasing, etc.

                              • Re: Big List of EPDM Enhancements
                                Brian McEwen

                                I just created a similar list for SolidWorks.

                                Big List Of SolidWorks Enhancements

                                Please have a look.