Working with iFolders….huh?

During ProjectWise Administrator training, many students stumble over the concept of a ProjectWise Project. Users have often told me, “but we do not have projects”; they have Assets, Stations, Jobs, Work Orders, Facilities and so on. So terminology has caused some natural confusion. As I was recently explaining the concept of a ProjectWise Project and how it differs from a basic folder, it dawned on me; for training purposes, I will use the term “iFolder”; short for an intelligent folder.

When you think about it, a ProjectWise folder is really no different from a Windows folder. It is a dumb container of files, with little built-in or configurable attribution. But a Project – excuse me – iFolder can do so much more. For example, each iFolder can contain their own attributes, saved searches, documents, sub-folders, components and limit other ProjectWise resources (more on this later).

For every new iFolder that is created in ProjectWise Explorer, the user creating it has the option to classify what iFolder “type” it is. For example, perhaps you are creating a real-world iFolder for a hospital, pharmaceutical plant, transmission line, electrical substation or office building. When you select the iFolder type, you can define its properties, such as project number, project manager, location, start and finish dates, and other relevant information setup by your ProjectWise Administrator. If you are familiar with a ProjectWise environment (a database table that stores document attributes), then think of iFolder properties as configured attributes for your Asset, Station, Job, Work Order, Facility and, yes, Project.

An iFolder can exist anywhere in the datasource; you can create them at the root of the datasource, inside a folder, or inside another iFolder. You can use existing iFolders to create a new one, or you may decide to create one or more iFolders from a template. If the latter is the case, your Administrator would create and store all the template iFolders under a single folder in ProjectWise Explorer, and then in ProjectWise Administrator, set that folder as the default for all iFolder templates. This way, when users create iFolders in ProjectWise Explorer using the Creation Wizard, they are automatically offered the list of iFolder types that exist in the default iFolder template folder, from which they can select one to use as the basis for their new iFolder.

As mentioned earlier, you can also tailor resources within an iFolder. Think of an iFolder resource as a subset of your datasource resources, such as applications, departments, environments, storage areas, views, workflows, workspaces and rendition profiles. You can select these Resources when you initially create the iFolder, or modify them later from the Resources tab of the iFolder Properties dialog. An iFolder can either inherit resources from its parent iFolder, from the datasource, or it can have its own subset of resources.  So, for example, I could restrict access to all ProjectWise storage areas except the one required for a particular Asset, Station, Job, Work Order, Facility and so on.

Hopefully the term “iFolder” helps you clarify the definition of a ProjectWise “Project”. As with many other ProjectWise commands, there are several configuration notes for ProjectWise Projects that you need to be mindful of, including but not limited to:

– Limits: Each Project can contain 750 sub Projects. Conversely, a Project sub-folder structure is limited by the same datasource rules as any typical ProjectWise folder structure.

– Product Requirements: Be mindful of the Bentley components you work with. Several products, including Bentley Substation and Bentley Transmittal’s will only align themselves with a ProjectWise Project, not a folder.

– Permissions: There are separate ProjectWise settings (for each user) that allow for the creation and manipulation of a ProjectWise Project. Consult with your ProjectWise Administrator for details.

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