Empower Decision-Making with Autodesk Forge

by Sam Nseir, BIM Premium Support Specialist on November 10, 2017

Autodesk Forge is a platform that contains an expanding group of web service components that is being used with Autodesk cloud-based products. Forge offers a collection of REST APIs that can be used to develop customized solutions and take advantage of Autodesk’s expertise in design and engineering. REST APIs utilize HTTP protocol to send requests and receive responses between client and server.  In other words, REST APIs send and receive data using fancy URLs over the web. Documentation and code samples are available on Forge Developer portal. Due to simplicity and ease of access, REST APIs make it easier, even for non-programmers, to access Autodesk Forge functionalities.

Most Autodesk customers use some form of analytics to help guide decision-making, and keep things running smoothly and efficiently. With ‘data in the center’ approach for Autodesk cloud-based products, data analytics is one of the areas that Autodesk Forge APIs can be used for. Many of Autodesk cloud products offer analytics functionalities such as the Analytics page in BIM 360 Account Administration or Project Overview page in BIM 360 Field, or Reports in Fusion Lifecycle. While in-product analytics could be helpful, many companies might need custom analytics because different teams have different use of the data. With custom analytics, teams would have the ability to drill down into details and identify correlations that would not have been possible otherwise or they can look at aggregating data from different sources.

Autodesk Forge APIs provide access to the rich data of Autodesk cloud-based products and enable us to implement business intelligence technologies such as reporting, data mining, and data analytics. While developing advanced custom analytics might require software programming and data mining skills, some custom analytics can be implemented with barely any programming skills.

Non-programmers can use web development tools such as “Postman” to execute Forge APIs requests and export the results into useful data formats. A good example of how to use “Postman” to implement data analytics using Autodesk Forge APIs, is exporting companies or projects data from BIM 360 Account Administration. This data can then be analyzed or integrated with enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) or maintenance and operations solutions. For more details on using “Postman” to implement data analytics using Autodesk Forge APIs, check the following articles:

Users with basic programming skills can use programming languages like “R” to execute Forge API requests. The “R” script can then be executed by embedding it into a business intelligence solution like “Microsoft PowerBI”. A good example of how to use R script and Power BI integration to implement data analytics using Autodesk Forge APIs is importing documents’ attributes from BIM 360 Docs projects to PowerBI. The data then can be analyzed by project teams to monitor document management. For more details on using R script and Power BI integration to implement data analytics using Autodesk Forge APIs, check the following article:

And for more information on integrating your BIM 360 data with Power BI using Autodesk Forge APIs and R programming, watch the webinar BIM 360: Custom Analytics App with Autodesk Forge.

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