Friday, May 28, 2010

Sending Remote Commands to Ecotect using VB.NET

A large pitfall in any design process is the disconnect between design and analysis. Software, like Ecotect, gives the designer the ability to perform detailed environmental analysis on a design. However, it is sometimes difficult to create a useful feedback of the analysis information to inform the design.

As a strategy, it is possible to use inter-process communication to bridge the gap between design and analysis environments. A fantastic example of this are the brilliant GH to Ecotect components developed by [uto]

When Ecotect is launched, it automatically creates a Dynamic Data Exchange server which allows the program to be accessed by remote applications. By accessing the DDE server, you can send commands to Ecotect as well as request information. Ecotect must always be running in the background for this to work. While DDE is older technology (in dotNet, it was replaced by "remoting"), it works quite well in this context.

Thanks to Thomas from [uto] for cluing me in on Ecotect's use of DDE!