I plan on having a series of posts that are intended for those of you that are new to programming and/or Inventor's programming interface and want to get started writing programs for Inventor. I'll also break in on the series occasionally with various other topics that are usually more advanced or that I find interesting at the moment. This post is the first in the getting started series. Here is the process I would suggest for anyone wanting to program Inventor.
- Learn how to use Inventor interactively. This is more important than you might think. Most of Inventor’s programming interface is just an alternative way of doing the same things you do interactively through the user-interface. For example, if you create an extrude feature through the user-interface you see the required input; profile, solid or surface output, operation, extent information, and taper angle. You supply all of this information through the Extrude dialog and by interacting with the model. To create an Extrude through the API you call a method that has exactly the same type of input. The same set of information is being gathered by both the command (user-interface) and the programming interface and then both interfaces end up calling the same internal function to create the actual extrusion.
Understanding how Inventor works and the requirements for the various commands is easiest to learn through the user-interface. Since these same concepts also apply when using the programming interface it will make learning the programming interface much easier.
- Choose and learn a programming language. To effectively program you need to have a basic understanding of the programming language you’re using. To effectively customize Inventor you DO NOT need to be an expert in that language. Any language has a lot of features and intricacies that you could spend more time than most of us have learning them. A basic understanding of the language should be enough. In my next posting I’ll discuss several different languages and the pros and cons of each.
- Begin learning Inventor’s programming interface. There are some basic concepts to learn to get started and then you can expand into different functional areas of Inventor. You don’t need to learn the entire API at once. Looking at different areas of the Inventor's API will be a running theme of this blog.
So, for now just keep working with Inventor and we’ll look at programming languages next time.