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Old 13 March 2020, 12:31   #1
sneckburger
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Need Help with an automation task win XP

My place of work has bought an old CAD machine and company IP that went into administration late 2014.
The computer is an old Dell Precision 380 with windows XP SP3 on it and the CAD software on it is Pro Engineer Wildfire 4.0 with a utility program (DDM) for data management of the CAD data.
The problem we have is our company uses Autodesk Inventor so when we copy the files across to it from Pro-Eng the 3d CAD Models convert fine to Inventor but the drawings don’t come though.
This isn’t much of an issue as we want to preserve the original copies of the drawing anyway as we’ll create new ones if we need to develop or change parts. So we save each drawing as a PDF and transfer it via USB stick to our server folder from my new(er) machine.

The work-flow at the minute is to PDF drawings as and when. I have to load each drawing up and save as PDF. It’s fine for a few at a time but there’s probably 50000 drawings on the machine and saving all of them isn’t going to be a fun time.
What we would like to do is junk the old Dell machine and run some kind of automation sequence to open every drawing one at a time and save it as a pdf.

Is this something that can be done using Windows XP? I looked into recording my own macro in ProEng but it’s very limited on what it can do.

Any advice on how to tackle this?
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Old 13 March 2020, 16:45   #2
demolition
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I have used AutoIt in the past to do automation tasks and GUI testing with good success:
https://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit/downloads/

It is also supported on XP and it can be used to interact with any kind of GUI software. It can even interact with hidden GUI elements which are not reachable with kb or mouse.

It does require you to write some macro code, but if you're familiar with coding in other languages already, it is relatively quick to learn the basics of the syntax which is BASIC-like. It has an inspector tool which will show you the names, handles etc. of all GUI elements so you can hook onto the correct ones and not having to rely on only simulating the mouse by clicking on specific x/y coordinates which is not a very reliable method.
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Old 16 March 2020, 10:37   #3
sneckburger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demolition View Post
I have used AutoIt in the past to do automation tasks and GUI testing with good success:
https://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit/downloads/

It is also supported on XP and it can be used to interact with any kind of GUI software. It can even interact with hidden GUI elements which are not reachable with kb or mouse.

It does require you to write some macro code, but if you're familiar with coding in other languages already, it is relatively quick to learn the basics of the syntax which is BASIC-like. It has an inspector tool which will show you the names, handles etc. of all GUI elements so you can hook onto the correct ones and not having to rely on only simulating the mouse by clicking on specific x/y coordinates which is not a very reliable method.
Thanks. I'll take a look.

I've done some coding mainly VBA in Excel and Autodesk iLogic (Similar to VB.Net, I think).
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Old 16 March 2020, 13:48   #4
Anubis
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Most automation I done on XP (still in use to this day) was with CMD, PowerShell & VBA scripts.

I am sure that your package has VB add on that will allow scripting opening of document and printing, just like SW Document Manager allows me to do the same with our package. Check if there is document manager, might be add on, might be another product that you have to install from installation media manually.
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Old 16 March 2020, 15:00   #5
sneckburger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anubis View Post
Most automation I done on XP (still in use to this day) was with CMD, PowerShell & VBA scripts.

I am sure that your package has VB add on that will allow scripting opening of document and printing, just like SW Document Manager allows me to do the same with our package. Check if there is document manager, might be add on, might be another product that you have to install from installation media manually.
There's a macro tool with ProEng 4.0 but its very basic.
I've got it to generate the PDF from a single key press but that's it
The AutoIt tool is quite good. Just getting the hang of it now.
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Old 16 March 2020, 17:42   #6
sneckburger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demolition View Post
I have used AutoIt in the past to do automation tasks and GUI testing with good success:
https://www.autoitscript.com/site/autoit/downloads/

That worked a treat.
It took me a morning and a few hours in the afternoon, but its now cycling through the 23009 drawings one by one.
Turns out many of the CAD models don't have drawings, i.e bought out items etc..

Last edited by sneckburger; 16 March 2020 at 17:54.
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