SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Data Card Types
Did you know that there are four different types of data cards used by SolidWorks Enterprise PDM? These types of cards are: File Cards, Folder Cards, Template Input Forms, and Search Forms.
The File Cards are used to manage the properties or meta data about files in the database, making these files into what is referred to as "smart files". One quick fact on the File Cards is that you can have different File Cards for different types of files. This is one of the features that makes the software highly configurable.
The Folder Cards are used to manage the properties or meta data about folders in the database, making these folders into what is referred to as "smart folders". One quick fact about the properties on the smart folders is that these properties can be inherited by subfolders in that folder and they can also be inherited by the files in a folder. This allows one to manage some file properties from the folder or project level eliminating the need to enter these onto individual files. If I assign a Project Number to my project folder it can ripple down to the sub folders and any files I add to those folders. Imagine not having to add the project number to each drawing your create.
The Template Input Forms are used to gather information from the user to be used in the creation of folders and/or files using an Enterprise Template. One quick fact about the use of templates is that it can place lots of control over how new information is created in a vault. This is a great feature since it gives subtle - but strong - control over the users and the organization of the vault and the data/files in it.
The Search Forms are used to create custom searches. One quick fact about Search Forms is that their access is permission based. This means that you can come up with a search to be used by the Manufacturing group and make it so that only users in that group see that particular search form and, possibly, no other method for searching. This is great because while it is true that many people appreciate the "powerful and fast search tools" in Enterprise PDM, there are some users that don't really care to know the many ways you can search the Enterprise PDM database - workflow states, variable values, who has files checked out, content of files, etc. - just the way that they are used to searching, i.e. Number and/or Description.
Stay tuned for the next SolidWorks Enterprise PDM Tech Tip where we will explore the wonderful world of File Data Cards more thoroughly!