I have been researching blocks, groups, xrefs, and symbols and trying to come to terms with how each components is best used.
So (and this is definitely open for discussion) here are advantages and disadvantages of the above components (plus a few questions...)
* Blocks are treated as a single objects for purposes of selecting and editing.
* Blocks increases file size very little because blocks are stored as references.
* A user can update a single instance of the block and changes are propagated throughout the file.
* Blocks are used to create Xrefs.
* Blocks have a mechanism that supports re-usability within a file (Blocks Palette)
* Blocks cannot be stored in library which allows for hierarchical organization.
* Block organization is accomplished by a flat naming scheme.
* Groups are treated as a single objects for purposes of selecting and editing.
* Groups are used to create symbols.
* How does one find groups used with a file? Is there a list somewhere? (i.e. Groups Palette??)
* Each group contains its own drawing data. This means that making a copy of a group increases the
size of your model.
* I cannot see how groups can be effectively managed for re-usability within a file.
* Symbol libraries can be accessed while in any drawing. (e.g are global once loaded)
* Symbols seem to be essentially group objects that are global.
* There are two ways to save an individual symbol - saving the entire file or dragging selected
objects directly into the Library.
* Symbols have a supported mechanism for global re-usability within TC. (Library)
* Symbols are easier to find because of a file folder-like facility found in the library.
* If symbols are groups, does this mean drawing data is stored with each instance of the symbol? If so, this has the potential to increase file size.
* Xrefs can be taken from files any formats readable by TurboCAD.
* Xrefs are blocks and are not stored in the file itself, they are loaded upon inserting and are only referenced to. This means they increase file size very little.
* One cannot edit an xref in the Blocks Palette - one must change the original file. Does this mean an Xref is updated once a file that uses the xref is loaded? If so, then this may be an advantage and a disadvantage.
* Xrefs are more difficult to find and manage because of a lack of a library-like tool.
So, for now, I am using blocks. Of course, as listed above, blocks can be difficult to manage without a library to organize them. To address that issue, I created a naming methodology. If anyone is interested, I have included below my naming methodology that will help (hopefully) organize the many blocks I have developed.
BLOCK NAMING METHODOLOGY
Does this methodology potentially produce long file names?? You betcha. Is it overkill? Probably. But they can be read in list view in the blocks palette.
CARP_Beam6X8_P --> 6X8 timber beam section
CARP_Beam4X4_P --> 4X4 timber beam section
CARP_CABTVUCD2721_F --> Thomasville under counter desk cabinet
METL_SimpsonFB24_F --> Simpson metal 2X4 fence bracket
METL_SimpsonFB26_F --> Simpson metal 2X6 fence bracket
Syntax: Item Type_
Identifier Product Type
Manufacturer Manufacturer's Product Identifier
Size (W X H X D)_
1) Item Type: Some based on Masterformat 2004http://www.mc2-ice.com/services/estref/popular_conversion_files/construct_code/mf2004/mf2004.html
CONC - Concrete
MASN - Masonry
METL - Metal
CARP - Carpentry
DOOR, WNW - Doors and Windows
SPEC - Specialities
EQPT - Equipment
FURN - Furniture
CONV - Conveying
PLUM - Plumbing
AUTO - Automation
ELEC - Electrical
COMM - Communication and Telecommunication
SURV - Surveillance
2) Product Type and/or Manufacturer. Manufacturer is optional. I use this if I download CAD files from the manufacturer.
SIMP - Simpson
TV - Thomasville
3) Manufacturer's Product Identifier (if available, and if necessary)
4) Size (W X H X D), in units typical for the item (if needed to uniquely identify from other items)
5) View Type