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Cloud-Based Blocks and Hatches

If you haven't used our software in a while, you might notice that the following block libraries behave a little differently:

  • Elevation Graphics
  • Detail Blocks
  • Discipline Graphics
  • Plan Graphics

 

You may have also seen the description "blocks migrated to cloud" for each of these block types.

 

We've also migrated our hatches to the cloud.

 

So what exactly has been migrated to the cloud? What does this mean? And what is this "cloud," anyway?

Our Blocks and Hatches

Our Blocks

An installation of our software includes an entire folder of DWG files, each of which contains the linework and other components of one of our blocks. If you've ever placed a plant symbol or site object in one of your drawings, you've actually placed one of these blocks. For more information on AutoCAD blocks in general, our blocks, and our built-in folder library to store them, visit our documentation sections on:

 

In previous versions of our software, these block folders, subfolders, and .dwg files would download to your computer automatically when you installed our software. Unfortunately, the inclusion of those block files made the installer a huge file. Having an installer this gigantic meant that it that took excessively long to download, install, uninstall, search for used files, you name it. 

 

Our Hatches

Similarly, we offer a system of default hatches for items ranging from ground covers to shrub areas, mulches, and other site and hardscape areas. All of these hatches used to download automatically as .pat files to your LandFX > Hatch folder along with your installation.  For more information on AutoCAD hatches, see our Default Hatches documentation section.

Blocks Migrated to Cloud

How Our Block and Hatch System Used to Work

As mentioned above, past installations included literally thousands of block drawings organized into the Blocks folder and subfolders in your LandFX folder, as well as hatch .pat files in the Hatch folder. When you installed our software on your computer (or office server), you also installed this entire network of block and hatch files. When you went to place a block (such as a plant symbol or site object) or a hatch (such as a ground cover or a mulch), the software would pull it from its file in this folder system. Whether you used them or not, you were storing all of these blocks and hatches in your LandFX folder on your computer, or on your office server.

 

How It Works Now

Rather than forcing you to download a whole system of files you may or may not use, we've migrated all block and hatch files to the cloud. What does that mean? Our blocks and hatches are now stored online at LandFX.com until you need them. As soon as you select a block, or place a hatch, the system will download it and place it in the appropriate subfolder within your LandFX folder instantly.

 

When you open any of the dialog boxes that allow you to select a symbol or hatch (examples include Planting, Plan Graphics, Elevation Graphics, etc.), you'll still see the thumbnail slides that allow you to select a block or hatch to place. 

You'll still be able to see thumbnail slides of all available blocks in dialog boxes such as Planting.

 

The Blocks and Hatch folders and their respective subfolder structures will still be there as before – the folders just won't contain each file until you've selected a specific block or placed a specific hatch. After that point, the file will be stored locally, in the appropriate folder, for future use. 

 

Even better, as we add new blocks and hatches, you'll get them right away with new updates! For example, look for the Land F/X Tesla (VEHc-201-009) among the Plan Graphics vehicles.

Blocks and hatches will behave a little differently from each other in the new setup. Blocks will download as you select them, while hatches will not download until you place them in a drawing.

 

But What About My Custom Blocks and Hatches?

You might be concerned about this new feature's effect on your custom blocks and hatches. For example, will your existing custom files and folders be deleted? Will your custom blocks and hatches (which are rightfully your property) suddenly be available for use by our software, or other users?

 

The answer is a resounding – and, we hope, comforting – no!

 

With cloud-based content, our blocks and hatches – not your personal files – will be stored on the cloud. The default blocks and hatch patterns will download on demand, instead of only being distributed at the time of initial installation. In fact, all newer details that we have been creating recently are already cloud-based but still available within the F/X detail library.

 

Conversely, your custom blocks, hatches, and details are saved locally. That means our software cannot absorb or share them. They'll still be available on your computer for you – and not anyone else – to use.

Precautionary Measures

Back Up, Back Up, Back Up

We've always stressed the importance of backing up your data. With cloud-based storage, backing up is just as important as ever. While this new feature won't inherently cause the loss of your project data, it's always a good idea to back up often. For detailed information on backing up your data, including why it's important as well as how to do it, visit our Back Up Your Data page. 

 

Save Edited Blocks Under a New Name

If you've edited one of our default blocks or hatches to make it your own, make sure you have it saved under a different name from that of the original file within its folder. That way, you won't risk overwriting your file by re-downloading the original.

 

Changing the name of a custom block or hatch based on one of our default files can be as simple as adding -New to the end of the original filename, as shown below. Just make sure you change the names of all three files associated with your new block: the AutoCAD drawing (.dwg file), AutoCAD slide (.sld file), and the XML document. 

 

What to Do With Duplicate Subfolders

You may see duplicate subfolders as you begin to place blocks and hatches from the cloud. For example, to our technical writer's sheer elation, we've corrected the spelling of the word "barbecues" in our folder structure and renamed that folder as such. Because the edited folder name is different from the original, you'll see two similar folder names once you place a barbecue under the new updates.

 

Always feel free to delete any folders in the LandFX/Blocks folders (after backing up your custom blocks, of course). The system will download the latest (and correctly spelled) blocks as you place them. In this case, you could safely delete the folder Bar-B-Ques. Our existing barbecue blocks – and any new barbecues we add in the future – will download into the newer barbecues folder. 

A Few Examples of Our New Blocks and Hatches

Housing our blocks and hatches on the cloud allows us to add to our libraries dynamically as we create new content. Here are a few examples of blocks and hatches we've created recently. You'll have instant access to these items, as well as future content, as you update your installation.

New bike racks in the Elevation Graphics library

 

New boulders in the Elevation Graphics library

 

 

 

Ashlar Eldostone and Flagstone hatches

 

We're constantly adding new blocks and hatches to the software. Stay tuned for more new content.

 

Do you have a block in mind that you'd like us to add to our library? If so, let us know by emailing us at support@landfx.com. We're always open to suggestions.

 
Last modified on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 15:14
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