What’s New in the 2018 SolidWorks API

Blog 3.1.2018 No Comments

SolidWorks 2018 was released over half a year ago, but it’s never too late to talk about the new enhancements in the SolidWorks API. Aside from covering new API calls, we will look at what is undoubtedly this version’s most notable upgrade: VSTA 2015. This lets programmers create .NET macros in Visual Studio instead of the lackluster VSTA editor.

New API Calls and Interfaces

Below is a list of the most notable API calls and interfaces added in SolidWorks 2018. You can see all additions and their related API calls in the Release Notes article in the API Help. You can find it in the local API Help by searching for “Release Notes” in the category tab. Note that the local API Help Release Notes will only be as up-to-date as the service pack you have downloaded.

I have bolded those API calls that I find particularly interesting. Those with an asterisk I could not find when I looked at the release notes.

  • Access general tolerance table annotations and features.
  • Work with hidden cells, rows, and columns in tables.
  • Add a distance mate between cylindrical components of an assembly.
  • Add rebuild and save marks to multiple configurations and remove them from all configurations.
  • Add specific display dimensions by type.
  • Create a spline constrained to a surface.
  • Create a trimmed sheet body with a specified tolerance.*
  • Create advanced assembly mates and sweeps.
  • Create advanced holes in parts.
  • Create bidirectional twist and thin-walled sweep features.
  • Create internal and external threads.
  • Handle pre- and post-notify events when converting bodies.
  • Import and export Hole Wizard and Toolbox data.
  • Modify control points and interior knots in sketch splines.
  • Offload PhotoView 360 rendering to other networked machines.
  • Optionally rebuild a model after adding configurations.
  • Quickly check whether an interference exists between components.
  • Save and restore the current SolidWorks settings. (Appears to mimic Copy Settings Wizard)
  • Advanced exploded view editing.
  • Set table anchors at selected sketch points on drawing sheets.
  • Show the preview of a configuration selected in the ConfigurationManager.
  • Edit third-party native CAD components in assemblies.*
  • Get corresponding objects between drawing views and parts or assemblies.
  • Get layer items by type.
  • Get or set a custom property builder template for parts or weldments.
  • Get or set whether to automatically rebuild equations.
  • Get or set whether to automatically repair files on opening.
Accessor Diagrams

New interfaces added this year not only have the typical accessor list you have come to expect but also a PDF that visually shows an interface’s accessors and the interfaces that it gives access to. At this point I don’t see myself using these very much, but perhaps others will find them helpful.

Important Updates to VSTA

VSTA (Visual Studio Tools for Applications) is the technology that allows you to create .NET macros. Previously you had to use the VSTA editor, which looked like a rudimentary version of Visual Studio but launched from SolidWorks like the VB Editor. I really despises the VSTA editor so I am pleased that creating .NET macros can now be done in Visual Studio. This change is possible because SolidWorks 2018 upgraded from VSTA 1.0 to VSTA 3.0 (also known as VSTA 2015). In the General tab of the System Settings, you can toggle between using VSTA 1.0 and 3.0 in 2018 and eventually only VSTA 3.0 will be available, therefore it is important to upgrade one’s .NET macros sooner rather than later.

Personally, I am still going to avoid .NET macros because its unclear whether the DLL stability issue that existed with VSTA 1.0 still exists in VSTA 3.0. I also have encountered numerous people who can’t get VSTA installed properly even though it is checked in the SolidWorks Installation Manager. Altogether, the hassle involved with VSTA isn’t worth it and I’d rather simply use VBA macros for testing and .NET stand-alones and addins for production. Nevertheless, if you end up using VSTA 3.0 with Visual Studio then please share your experience with us in the comments below.

To learn more about how to use VSTA 3.0, watch Daniel Seaman (SolidWorks API Tech Support Manager) deliver a presentation on the topic from SolidWorks World 2018. Steps to do this:

1. Visit the SolidWorks World 2018 agenda
2. Search the Sessions tab for the name “Seaman”
3. The result for “Upgrading SOLIDWORKS Macros to Visual Studio Tools for Applications 2015” should appear and you can click Watch Video on the right (requires a free account)

Context-Sensitive Help Viewer

According to the release notes: When you install SOLIDWORKS 2018, SOLIDWORKS and SOLIDWORKS enumerator context-sensitive helps are registered and integrated with the Help Viewer of the Visual Studio installed on your machine. After installing SOLIDWORKS 2018, configure Visual Studio to launch Help Viewer F1 help by selecting Help –> Help Preference –> Launch in Help Viewer.

To be honest, I haven’t figured out how to use this with Visual Studio Community 2017. If anyone has gotten it to work, let me know in the comments below. At this point its unclear to me if this saves that much time beyond simply creating a shortcut to apihelp.chm.

Workgroup PDM API No Longer Supported

As the title says, SolidWorks Corp is no longer offering technical support for the Workgroup PDM API since Workgroup PDM is no longer shipped with SolidWorks as of this version. Obviously the intent is to push all PDM users, even the small and mid-sized companies that Workgroup PDM was created for, toward SolidWorks PDM Standard or Professional (formerly Enterprise PDM).

Does anything we’ve covered stand out to you as particularly useful or exciting? If so then let us know in the comments!

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Visually Create PropertyManager Pages

Blog 2.1.2018 No Comments

Overview

CADSharp is pleased to present its second product offering: the SOLIDWORKS PropertyManager Page Sandbox. The PMP Sandbox lets you easily generate the code needed for PropertyManager Pages (PMPs) using an intuitive WYSIWYG editor, much like you would use in the VB Editor or Visual Studio. Available for VBA, VB.NET, and C# and compatible with SOLIDWORKS 2014 and later, the PMP Sandbox will massively cut down on the time it takes you to create a PMP for your macro or addin.

Download

Download the SOLIDWORKS PMP Sandbox

Have any feedback for us? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email!

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Join Us At SolidWorks World 2018

Blog 12.14.2017 No Comments

We are excited to announce that we will presenting and exhibiting at SolidWorks World 2018 in Los Angeles, CA on Feb 4-7. If you’ve never been, I highly encourage you to attend this high-energy event that I like to describe as “one-third learning, one-third networking, and one-third party”. If you are a CADSharp customer or simply have an interest in the SolidWorks API, here’s some ways you can join us:

Beginner and Advanced API Presentations

Getting Serious with the SolidWorks API – Tuesday, Feb 6, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Have you hit a ceiling in your API skills? Is your code a patchwork of recorded macros and other peoples’ code? Can you barely make sense of most API code? Using live examples, this session will take you take control of your code by demystifying the SOLIDWORKS API Object Model and the API Help.

Write a SolidWorks Addin From Scratch – Monday, Feb 5, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Curious how professional developers create add-ins from the ground up? This hands-on session, which assumes attendees have at least a basic knowledge of object-oriented programming, will walk through DLL registration, hooking into SOLIDWORKS, menu creation, and debugging in Visual Studio.

Visit Our Exhibit Booth for Macro Mania!

Please visit us at Partner Pavilion booth 533, which is located in directly in the back of the hall near Model Mania. Our exhibit will feature customer case studies, upcoming product demos, and our own “Macro Mania”! The latter gives you opportunity to test your skills at writing a macro from scratch using only the SolidWorks API Help for reference. Top three finishers will receive an Amazon gift card.

Even if competition isn’t for you, please stop by to have a chat and learn about our upcoming products and events. For example, we will be unveiling “PMP Sandbox”, which is a tool that allows you to quickly generate PropertyManagerPages code (VBA, VB.NET, or C#) using a GUI.

Meet With Our Technical Director

If you have any interest in meeting with our Technical Director, Keith Rice, to talk about your automation needs, please email him and he’ll make sure he’s at the CADSharp booth at that time. Thanks and see you in LA!

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