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3rd PARTS

 

Connectivity to KeyCreator


For basic data sharing with almost any engineering software available today, KeyCreator includes functions to import and export dozens of popular MCAD file formats. For more sophisticated exchange, Kubotek provides Solution Partner software developers several different methods to access KeyCreator data from within their application.

Neutral File Exchange (One Button Integration)

The simplest method for automated passing of design data out of a KeyCreator session to Solution Partner software is a custom built KeyCreator add-in that quietly exports the data to a neutral file format such as DXF, SAT, STEP, etc. and calls the partner software with the appropriate parameters and file location.

The recommended method for creating a KeyCreator add-in is for the Solution Partner software developers to build a special C/C++ based dynamic extension file called a CDE using code libraries supplied by Kubotek (SDK) and the appropriate Microsoft compiler. Developers can link their own dialog, image, and icon resources into their CDE. Sample code for this type of add-in is provide in the SDK. Users can add CDE function icons to custom toolbars and shortcut keys like any other KeyCreator function.

Solution Partner installation software can automate the registration of their CDE files with an existing install of KeyCreator so that partner functions can be easily accessed by users from the menus. A CDE will generally need to be re-built for compatibility with each major release of KeyCreator.

A second, simpler type of add-in called KXL is another option for neutral file exchange. A KXL program is similar to a macro. The KXL format is simple ASCII text which will often work without changes in later releases of KeyCreator. It is possible to create a custom icon for each KXL which allows users to add KXL programs to custom toolbars and shortcut keys like any other KeyCreator function.

Not all neutral formats support all KeyCreator data types and entity attributes so data like color and level can be discarded in this type of exchange, depending on the format used. ACIS SAT is the format KeyCreator reads and writes best, maintaning the most attribute data, etc. This nuetral file method can be slow since the data is converted once in KeyCreator to the neutral format and then converted again in the Solution Partner program from the neutral format.

Direct Read of CKD Files

Kubotek provides a special Design File Toolkit C++ code library to Solution Partner software developers to aid in the decoding and reading of the KeyCreator CKD file format. By linking these Kubotek libraries into their software, CKD support can be added to the file open and import functions in the Solution Partner software. This method allows the partner program full access to stored KeyCreator data files without requiring KeyCreator to be installed on the same PC. For full access to solids data in the file the Solution Partner software needs to include ACIS support (sold separately). Lightweight 3D models for visualization can also be extracted from CKD files (7.0 and higher) if the partner application supports HOOPS (sold separately). The Design File Toolkit is updated with each major KeyCreator release.

Live Communication

KeyCreator architecture includes an extensive API which allows Solution Partner software developers to build CDE add-ins which directly communicate out of KeyCreator to the partner program for the tightest possible integration. The API also provides complete access to the KeyCreator database and Kubotek has added custom API calls for partners as need have arisen. This approach allows live associativity between models in both programs. Alternatively, an entire product can be developed as integrated KeyCreator CDEs using this API. A CDE will generally need to be re-built for compatibility with each major release of KeyCreator.