The Rules™ design environment doesn’t require you to save your designs in any particular place. One of the internally tracked items in the Document Data Manager is the FilePath. The FilePath attribute of a particular design will be the path to the file as you saved it. It is a good idea to have a structured way of saving and categorizing your files for your own sanity, but it is not necessary for Rules to work properly. Although there is no requirement for where to save your files, it is important that once you create a file and add sub assemblies or revisions, that the file not be moved while the project is “active.” Revisions and sub assemblies are automatically placed in the same directory as the originating file and that’s where Rules expects to find them if you use the Document Data Manager to open or reopen them. If you use data tracking to report your design information to a database, the FilePath attribute is sent out as part of that data and the database is likely to use that path to retrieve the file or retrieve a picture of the file.
Rules is intended to report pertinent data to systems that need to make use of the data such as an estimating system or a database system. Each time you click the “Export Data” button from the Document Data Manager, the design info will be updated to the database file. Data Snapshots can be saved to the same or a different folder from the data file. If you save snapshots to a folder that is different from the data file, it will be up to you or your network administrator to understand where they are.
The text items that appear in the Document Data Manager can be entirely chosen by you and displayed in any order desired. Any attribute item set up to be tracked in this manner can be linked into the various output templates. Your factory specs, samples, mylars, die parts or any other place you want to have identifying marks can be linked to these attributes and filled in automatically.
Data Tracking Setup
If you don’t need or don’t want to keep track of your work in a database environment just set up the Document Data Manager to help you fill out specification information and skip the section on database interaction.
Internally Tracked Items
Rules tracks a number of different design attributes. Whether you want to use them or not is up to you. Below is a list of design attributes that are tracked internally and automatically updated while you design. The attributes that are calculated, such as the sizes, rules used, etc. are only calculated if the “Use Default Data Tracking” is turned on in the Utilities → Rules Preferences.
FilePath — as described above, the path the file.
FileID — a unique number generated by the computer’s internal timer.
ModDate — an internal number that updates each time you use the design file.
Date — the current calendar date.
RuleIn — the total rule used in a design. This is further broken into:
If you use SteelRules™ it also includes:
- Wood Square Footage
- Jig Usage
BlankSqFt — the area of the design’s boundaries in square feet.
Die Size X and Y — the overall knife-to-knife size.
The Grain Direction — vertical or horizontal as show in the design.
The View — the inside or outside view of the design as shown.
The Material’s Basis Weight — bursting strength or edge crush values.
Fluting Sizes — point or flute thickness by any name.
Material Finish — the various material finish combinations used.
Manufacturer’s Joint Info — type and/or existence of a manufacturer’s joint.
User Data Items
User data items can be used to track any other fields. The stock setup that comes with Rules has the following user data items:
- Job Number
- Number Out
- Laser Cut
- D. Factor
- # Cut-Outs
- # Slots
- # Punches
- # Emboss and Notes
Add or delete any of these stock user attributes by following the instructions in “Setting up the Document Data Manger.”
Data Tracking Process
Since Rules can be used different ways by different designers, choose a method that is comfortable to you. If you are a packaging designer, you may want to track your design data once you have nearly completed your design. If you are a die maker, you will need to have data tracking on at all times. SteelRules needs various calculations throughout the process of making the die parts.