Cloudis has developed an XML interface to enable third party applications to export data to its CMPIC cable management software. The interface is based on an XML schema which Cloudis is willing to supply to interested parties.

The XML approach is an alternative means of interfacing to CMPIC via its standard API and complements the existing interfaces between CMPIC and CAD systems.

Ian Barnes, Sales and Commercial Director for Cloudis says of the new development: “XML is fast becoming the de-facto neutral format for the exchange of data between systems and more and more applications are supporting it. Our particular solution offers real benefits to CAD users who would prefer to use best of breed applications but who at present may be obliged to use the proprietary solution offered by their current vendor because of difficulty interfacing to third party systems.”

Technical Director at Cloudis, Dr. Ian Darbyshire, explains how the interface works. “In short the XML interface allows for the input of nodal network data into CMPIC: cable trays, ladder racks, trenches etc. to create the network initially. You could also import cable and device data as well as other information such as cable types, area codes, system codes etc.

“As the network is modified, a new XML file is created containing any modifications to the nodal network such as deleted trays, new trays, new penetrations, modified tray sizes and so on. This new file then updates the nodal network held in CMPIC. In conjunction with this process we have also developed a facility, which we refer to as ‘bulk network update’.

This carries out a number of automatic functions when the network is updated via a new XML import. Amongst other things CMPIC identifies cable routes which have been affected by modifications to the network. It looks for breaks and other changes in these cable routes caused by the network update and suggests new routes using the modified network which fall within preset parameters. The software also creates a log file showing how existing routes have been affected such as being shorter, longer etc.

“It also lists any cables which, because of the network update, now no longer have routes. These functions are carried out automatically by the software and of course respect the routing rules which are an important feature of CMPIC. The engineer is then left with just the list of cables where his input is required rather than potentially hundreds. This is of course an iterative process which is repeated as the nodal network and associated cable routes mature.”

Ian Barnes adds: “This approach promises enormous benefits for customers. It allows for the design of the nodal network to continue and mature whilst at the same time enabling cables to be routed and managed. For the cable router it means that most of the work carried out before network modifications need not be repeated because CMPIC helps him minimise the rework.

“From a project management point of view cable routing need not wait until the network is complete. In addition designers can help reduce on site installation rework by waiting longer for the cable routes to become stable thereby mitigating the time pressure and subsequent errors which cabling can suffer from”.