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Sharing your environment with coworkers and colleagues

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#1 Sharing your environment with coworkers and colleagues

Description


In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to share your SkyCAD environment with others for collaborative purposes.

Topics covered

Sharing projects, sharing symbols, sharing catalogue, collaborative work, sharing environment.

 

Main content


When you install SkyCAD, a folder C:\SkyCAD Environments is created. This is where all the data and
settings are stored, including any additions or changes you make in SkyCAD. Everything, including projects,
symbols, components, layouts and
images are all stored in this SkyCAD Environments folder.
 

This SkyCAD Environments folder can be shared on a network or shared drive (e.g. Google Drive,
Dropbox, etc.) with an
unlimited number of users, meaning that multiple users can work using the same
environment at the same time. Data is loaded
onto a user's computer on an “on-demand” basis; i.e. when
SkyCAD is opened and a project/library/component/etc. is loaded,
the data sits in the user's computer’s
RAM, so no access to the network is required afterwards while working. This type of architecture suits
most collaborative work requirements, with the following limitation: when two users open the same file (project/symbol/component/etc.), the last user to save wins, which means the other user will lose the
changes they made and
saved. So, a certain level of communication and synchronisation is required amongst
users for this to work well if they’re working
on the same file.
 

If you’re going to share your environment with other users, we highly recommend sharing the entire
SkyCAD Environments
folder, not only specific sub-folders or files.
 

Sharing your environment on a WAN, LAN or VPN connection will decrease performance. Depending on
your WAN, LAN
or VPN specifications and your performance expectations, this performance reduction
may be acceptable.

 

These are the steps to follow to share your environment on a network or shared drive:

  1. Copy the C:\SkyCAD Environments folder onto your network or shared drive.
    IMPORTANT: Place the 'SkyCAD Environments' folder where its full path will be less than 30 characters.
    For example, the following path will be too long and not allow SkyCAD to work properly:
    'C:\Users\YourName\CompanySharedDrive\SkyCAD Environments'

    If you need to have such a long path, there is a simple Windows workaround, called symbolic link, which allows you to keep the long path, while keeping SkyCAD working properly:
    Follow these steps:

    1. Click the Windows Start button.
    2. Type CMD in the Start Search box.
    3. Press and hold down [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[Enter].
    4. Type the following, then hit [Enter]:
      mklink /J "C:\SkyCAD MKLink" "Your long path\SkyCAD Environments"
    5. Follow the rest of this tutorial below. Choose 'C:\SkyCAD MKLink' in step 6. 
  2. Once your SkyCAD Environments folder is on your shared folder/network, make sure it is locally available on your computer and not online-only.
    Using Dropbox Basic, this is true by default, so you wouldn't need to worry about it. Using a paid version of Dropbox, you should right-click on the SkyCAD Environments folder, and choose Make available offline.
    Using Microsoft OneDrive, right-click on the SkyCAD Environments folder and choose Always keep on this device

  3. Start SkyCAD

  4. In the tree view, expand the properties of the root item; SkyCAD

  5. Double-click on the Current Environments Path field.
    The following dialog box should be displayed:


  6. Select the SkyCAD Environments folder you copied onto the network or shared drive.
    If you made a symbolic link (step 1A-E), choose 'C:\SkyCAD MKLink'.

  7. Close and re-open SkyCAD

At this point SkyCAD is working on the network.
Once you repeat steps 2-6 on every computer where SkyCAD is installed, your collaborative setup will be complete.

It is important to ensure that all computers that are sharing an environment are always using the same version of SkyCAD.
Not doing this will cause stability issues.

This should be kept in mind when updating to a newer version too. All computers should be updated at the same time.
The version you have installed can be seen in the top left corner of SkyCAD: