Recent Updates

Flatter Files has recently been updated with some significant new capabilities. Below is a quick summary of the updates. As always, the updates have been added based on the excellent enhancement requests submitted by existing customers. Thus, please do not hesitate to pass along your own enhancement requests by contacting us at [email protected].

Sub Libraries and Sorting

Many customers organize their content into multiple Libraries. Flatter Files now supports the creation of Sub Libraries as well as the ability to manually sort the Libraries into any desired order. Sub Libraries are fully functional Libraries and operate with regard to access completely independent of their parent Library. Please view the documentation for how to create Sub Libraries as well as how to manually sort Libraries. The image below shows an example set of Libraries that include a few Sub Libraries as well as the new right click menu for modifying the Libraries. Modification of the Libraries can only be performed by Administrators.

Libraries

IP Address Limits

To ensure only authorized access, Flatter Files now allows you to only allow access from specific IP addresses that your organization controls. This means that all other access to your account from IP addresses not listed will be blocked. It is likely that some of your users might need to access Flatter Files from outside of your companies IP address. For these specific Users, Flatter Files supports the ability to exclude those specific users from this IP address requirement.

Include Generic CAD Files for Specific Items

When a generic CAD file format is enabled, all files in the configured upload folder will have the generic CAD file type exported. Sometimes it might desired to automatically create and upload a generic CAD file type for a specific file or files. Flatter Files now supports this via the right click menu as shown in the image below. The next time the Uploader processes your files, it will add the generic CAD files types you have selected in addition to the existing generic CAD file types configured for the upload folder. In addition, this setting is retained for future revisions.

Include File Types

When users share items externally, there are a handful of options for each shared link that controls what the external users can access for the shared items. The default options for new shared items can now be set in the company settings. In addition, you can now also block viewers from being able to make any changes to the link options when they create a shared link or edit the options for an existing link. All shared links created by Viewers will always contain the default link options if you enable this option.


Manual Uploads

The ability to manually upload files from within the Web Application has been completely updated with all kinds of new features and capabilities. The new upload dialog, which is shown below now supports uploading multiple files at the same time. Simply click the Add Files button to add multiple files or drag and drop files into the table that displays the file queue. Once all of the files have been added simply click Upload to begin the upload process. Just as before, only PDFs can be uploaded when creating new items. Thus, the Uploader is still the primary method used to upload data to Flatter Files since it will automatically generate PDFs for many native drawing and document file types.

Manual Uploads

With the new file upload dialog, you can now use the Replace Files option to easily upload any file type to an existing item. The easiest way to replace an existing file or add a new file type for an item is to right click the item, navigate to Modify and then click the Replace Files option. The same dialog as shown above will appear but instead of adding new items you can add various file types that will be added as appropriate to the correct file type category for the item.

Consider the scenario where you want to include STEP files for all of your SolidWorks files. You have configured the Uploader to automatically generate the STEP files but a specific STEP file for an item contains information that you want to remove. For this scenario, simply manually create the STEP file you want to distribute for the item, then use the Replace Files option to upload the STEP file. This will replace the auto generated STEP file with your manually created STEP file. When users then access the item in Flatter Files and choose to download the STEP file they will receive the file that you manually created and uploaded.

For more details please see the documentation for Manual Uploads.


New Login

Flatter Files has been updated with a major change to the Login process. This change is both visual as well as technical. The changes have been made such that Flatter Files can now support Single Sign On access which allows users to authenticate using your existing user directory once configured. All applications used with Flatter Files have been updated. This includes the web app, iOS app, Android app, and Uploader application. The biggest visual change is to the web application. The new login screen is shown below. Note that if you load the web application and you still see the old login screen then the login process won’t work. You will need to reload the web app to get the latest version and if that doesn’t work then clear your browsers application cache.

Login

As you can see, it now includes both a Login button as well as a Login with SSO button. The Login with SSO will change the login screen to the image shown below. Single Sign On will only work once your account has been configured correctly to use Single Sign On. Single Sign On works by using the SAML 2.0 protocol that requires the use of an Identity Provider. For details on Single Sign On please see the documentation for it. In addition, you must also contact us at [email protected] to discuss your configuration before it can be enabled.

Login

The new Flatter Files login is designed such that once you login you do not have to re-authenticate for a specified amount of time on that device. Thus, once you login to Flatter Files you can navigate away from the page and return without having to login again until your authentication expires. You have full control on the time until expiration via two variables. The first option is the number of hours of inactivity until expiration. The second variable will expire the authentication after a specific number of days regardless of the activity. Once either variable is met the login will automatically expire and you will need to login again. For more details please view the documentation.


Recent Updates

As mentioned before, Flatter Files is regularly updated with feature additions that improve the product. Unfortunately we haven’t had a post to share updates in way too long. Primarily this is because we have been hard at work on some longer term projects that we can’t wait to share but aren’t quite complete. Recently though, a few relatively small new additions have been added. This post will highlight these new additions. As always, these types of improvements are implemented and prioritized based on customer feedback. Thus, when using Flatter Files if you have any feedback regarding the capabilities please do not hesitate to let us know at [email protected]. Below is a quick summary of the recent updates.

Flatter Files now supports multi property name links. For example, if you have two custom properties in a file called NAME1 and NAME2 but would like to link a single Flatter Files property to both then simply create a user defined property with a value of “NAME1 NAME2.” If you would instead like the value to be NAME1 but if it doesn’t exist then the value should be NAME2 then create a user defined property with a value of “NAME1 OR NAME2.” The first property is the primary and will always be checked first but if the value doesn’t exist then the second properties value will be used.

eDrawings Export

Flatter Files is used by many companies to make it super easy to open SolidWorks files in eDrawings on their mobile devices. And often times the only reason the SolidWorks native files are included in the upload is for the eDrawings access. Unfortunately, large SolidWorks models can be extremely slow to interact with in eDrawings. Thus, the Flatter Files Uploader application can now create eDrawings files for each SolidWorks model and upload the eDrawings file as the native file such that it can be easily accessed on your mobile device. This will slow down the automatic upload process since the eDrawings files can sometimes take significant time to generate but the payoff is an improved user experience for your viewers. For more details on how to enable eDrawings export please see the documentation.

File Revision Upload Type

Flatter Files is always striving to support whatever method companies use to create content. Our mission is to significantly improve your distribution of your drawings to your viewers and thus it is important to work with all types of content creation systems. One system that many companies use today is the creation of revisions by simply changing the filename to include the revision number. For example, if you have three revisions named NAME, NAME-rev1, and NAME-rev2 then all three are the same drawing and the drawing has three revisions. The initial revision and two modifications. To add a new revision for this scenario, you would simply add the file NAME-rev3. There are many variations to this type of naming structure but the general idea remains the same.

Flatter Files now supports this type of content creation management and can be configured to upload the different named files as revisions instead of as separate drawings. Generally speaking the naming convention must follow the NAME then either a dash ( - ) or an underscore ( _ ), then either “rev” or “r” and then the revision number. The source file can include a revision number of 0 if desired. Letter case of the “rev” or “r” does not matter.

The setting to enable the ability for the Uploader to detect revisions based on a naming structure is shown enabled in the image below.

File Upload Type

DraftSight Integration

Flatter Files now supports DWG processing using DraftSight. DraftSight is 2D CAD solution from Dassault Systems that is particularly popular with SolidWorks customers that also need to create and edit DWG files. Flatter Files continues to support processing DWG files using AutoCAD as well.

Flatter Files processes drawings for the purpose of automatically creating a PDF and obtaining all of the associated property data. The processing of files occurs locally via the Flatter Files Uploader, which now includes support for using the DraftSight programming interface to automatically create the PDF and associated property data for DWG files. DraftSight only enables the programming interface in the Professional and Enterprise editions of the software. Thus, the version of DraftSight used by the Flatter Files Uploader to process the drawings locally must be the Professional or Enterprise edition.

For details on how to setup the Flatter Files Uploader, please see the Uploading Content documentation. The table below shows all of the current applications that can be used for processing files:

CAD Document
SolidWorks Word
Autodesk Inventor Excel
AutoCAD PowerPoint
Visio PDF
DraftSight Tiff


If your particular CAD or document application is not listed then please feel free to contact us regarding potentially adding it. In the meantime, you can always upload PDF or Tiff files directly. If you have any questions please contact [email protected].

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