Automating Pro/Engineer Using Trail Files and External Programs

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Keyboard macros provide shortcuts to many repetitive command sequences in Pro/Engineer. They map any number of frequently used command sequences to user-selected keyboard keys. They may be nested within each other and may also include user keyboard entry within the macro. Another powerful feature of Pro/Engineer is adding menu options. Menu options may be added to any Pro/Engineer menu and is an effective way to graphically display keyboard macros to make them more accessible. Command sequences are mapped to a single user-defined menu option added to the bottom of any Pro/Engineer window. The '{at}setbutton' command added to the 'menu{_}def.pro' file ... continued below

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Chow, K. May 21, 1996.

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Keyboard macros provide shortcuts to many repetitive command sequences in Pro/Engineer. They map any number of frequently used command sequences to user-selected keyboard keys. They may be nested within each other and may also include user keyboard entry within the macro. Another powerful feature of Pro/Engineer is adding menu options. Menu options may be added to any Pro/Engineer menu and is an effective way to graphically display keyboard macros to make them more accessible. Command sequences are mapped to a single user-defined menu option added to the bottom of any Pro/Engineer window. The '{at}setbutton' command added to the 'menu{_}def.pro' file specifies the commands to associate with added menu options. Menu options may also be used to execute non-Pro/Engineer commands. The associated command is linked to a menu option within Pro/Engineer's Utilities menu (in the Misc menu) and is issued whenever the menu option is selected. Such a feature is useful for adding menu options to start the Pro/Engineer User Guide utility, start a text editor from within Pro/Engineer, or perform system level actions. The '{at}setbutton{_}exec' command is used in the 'menu{_}def.pro' file for non-Pro/Engineer commands. A more detailed description of adding menu options can be found in the Pro/Engineer Fundamentals Guide. Another useful component of Pro/Engineer is the trail file functionality. Trail files are automatically created every time a new working Pro/Engineer session begins. Although they are typically used to reconstruct a previous working session, they can also be used to automate a series of commands. By specifying all the commands in a trail file, a user can issue the commands quickly and repetitively using the command sequence 'Misc-Trail' and specifying the trail file name. All actions, including keyboard entries and mouse click locations, may be included in a trail file. Although adding menu options and using trial files provide powerful functionality in Pro/Engineer, neither the menu options functionality nor trail files allow interaction between the model and the commands to perform. The commands performed by the menu options are static and cannot depend on model features and parameters. Commands cannot query the model and perfonn different actions or calculations based on the query results; the menu options commands cannot interact with Pro/Engineer. As an example, suppose we wish to generate a feature listing for all parts and subassemblies in a model. We can add a menu option or a keyboard macro to make the feature listing command easier to execute, but we would still need to select each part and subassembly individually (either through screen selection, selection by menu, or entering the component name). The task becomes quite tedious if we have an assembly with a large number of subassembly and part components. A versatile and powerful method for automating many Pro/Engineer tasks is to combine the menu options functionality with Trail files and the infonnation files which Pro/Engineer creates during infonnation listings. The combination provides communication between Pro/Engineer and other programs and enables automation of a large variety of commands. The automation scheme is comprised of three components: (1) the infonnation files (usually with extensions 'inf' or '1st'); (2) a menu option to issue a program or command external to Pro/Engineer; and (3) a menu option to run both the external program and its associated trail file.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-38870
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/1004220 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1004220
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc845898

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Creation Date

  • May 21, 1996

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • June 15, 2016, 10:04 p.m.

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Chow, K. Automating Pro/Engineer Using Trail Files and External Programs, report, May 21, 1996; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc845898/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.