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Server side PDF Conversion of Bentley MicroStation DGN files

Posted at: 3:12 PM on 10 December 2014 by David Radford

design

The Muhimbi PDF Converter for SharePoint and Muhimbi PDF Converter Services have long had the ability to convert AutoCAD DWG and DFX files to PDFs.  This can done both using the Converters’ internal CAD conversion process or via a 3rd party product like AnyDWG. Bentley MicroStation files are not as common as AutoCAD files and due to the complexity of DGN conversions, especially between versions, finding a quality 3rd party converter has been difficult.

That being said, when our clients come to us looking for new file types to convert, we roll up our sleeves and start looking.  A long search ended when we found Tailor Made Software’s DgnXchange Converter.  This converter provides good conversion AND supports multiple versions of DGN files- a key requirement.  As with all our 3rd party converter options, using this product along with either of our conversion products is completely transparent to users and requires no changes to existing conversion processes or methods.  Just set it up and off you go!

Tailor Made is a completely separate and unrelated company to Muhimbi, however they have agreed to provide our customers with a, ah-  a tailor made, version of their Converter at a reduced price of $999USD.  This version allows their Converter to be used within our conversion environment, but limits the output format to PDF and so reduces the cost.  In order to receive this special version, please contact them at  internationalsales@tailormade.com and request the ‘Muhimbi’ license.  A license will only be required for each server actually running the conversion service- SharePoint or other servers that do NOT have the conversion service component installed do not require licenses.

The functionality described here requires version 7.3 of the Muhimbi PDF Converter (or newer).

So, how do you get this working?  The process is pretty much the same as for our other 3rd party converters.  Starting with the assumption that the Converter for SharePoint or Converter Services has already been installed, the following steps need to be carried out:

  1. If you would like to test the PDF output of DGNXchange, you can download an evaluation version here.  However in order to integrate it into the Muhimbi Converter, you will need to have a licensed version.
  2. Modify the ‘Muhimbi.DocumentConverter.Service.exe.config’ file as described here and add the following entry to the<MuhimbiDocumentConverters> section.  This tells the Converter what file types can be converted to PDF. If you installed the 3rd party software in a different path then please update the content of the parameter attribute.

 

<add key="DGNConverter"
     description="DGN to PDF Converter"
     fidelity="Full"
     supportedExtensions="dgn"
     supportedOutputFormats="pdf"
     type="Muhimbi.DocumentConverter.WebService.CommandLineConverter,
           Muhimbi.DocumentConverter.WebService, Version=1.0.1.1, Culture=neutral, 
PublicKeyTo
ken=c9db4759c9eaad12"
     parameter="C:\Program Files (x86)\Tailor Made Software\DgnXChange 2008\
                dgnxchange.exe | -i {0} -o {1} -f pdf -S A -q"/>

 

Please ensure that you remove the line break from the “parameter” attribute, it has been added for ease of viewing.

Since drawings tend to be rather precise in how they need to be formatted, not just that they look the same, but that the technical information is presented correctly, you may want to modify the command line to fit your specific needs.  Listed below is an abstract of the DGNXchange help file that deals with command line options (please note they are case sensitive):

-a

Turn off AutoTrim of raster images

-b

Bi-tonal output (Black and White Only)

-y

Greyscale output

-q

Quiet Mode (No messages output) use unless troubleshooting is required.

-w

Margin in millimeters, e.g. /PDFMargin 5

-B

Drawing Background  (0: Black   1: White)

-H

PDF quality, available values: Normal, Medium, High, Highest. e.g. /PDFQuality Highest

-O

Drawing Orientation
       0: Calculate best fit
       1: Force Portrait
       2: Force Landscape

-S

Drawing Size
       A0-A5 : DIN
       A-E   : ANSI

-U

Units (1: Inch 2: Feet  3: Yards   4: Miles )
           (5: MM   6: CM    7: Metres  0: None)

-W

Drawing Width

-X

Use Drawing Extents (Default is Use View 1)

With this Converter installed you can now convert DGN files directly to PDF all from within Muhimbi’s conversion environment and completely transparently to users.

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