Is it mandatory that Connectors are always installed as Plugins in their specific Apps?

Looks absolutely great !

My problem is now, same for some other file formats,
I do not have Navisworks - but I often get access to Navisworks files only.

So far, I only have a single compatible connector for one of my Apps.
Blender in this case. I only can test with Speckle because it has a direct
IFC upload ! But this means stressing your Server !

So my question is,
would this what Speckle Connector plugin is doing inside Navisworks,
(translating and uploading)
not also possible on my local machine,
without Navisworks Software - just from a Navisworks File,
e.g. by Speckle Manger, with kind of an "extended"autonomous
NW Connector ?

Is it mandatory that Connectors are always installed as Plugins
in their specific Apps ?

Hey @zoomer ,

I moved your reply here since this is a more general question on how Speckle connectors work. Short answer, yes. Currently, you need to use our connectors to send data from those platforms or you can use the File Import service to upload supported files into a Speckle server.


Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to process Navisworks or Revit files with Speckle because they are closed file formats. In order to support these file types, we would need access to proprietary software and information that is not available to us. Even if we do somehow, we can’t publish the code since this conflicts with their/our licensing. As Speckle is an open-source platform, we are currently limited to processing only file formats such as IFC, STL, and OBJ where we can publish the code to parse these formats. While this may be limiting at present, we are always working to support as many file formats as possible and will continue to look for ways to expand our capabilities in the future.

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If I may jump into this convo… we’d love to know what your current workflow looks like. What do you do with those Navis files if you don’t have a Navis license?


Hey, @zoomer other software is similar, as @gokermu states, but specifically, the code we use for Navisworks is tightly coupled to the free-to-use inner API but is tied to its licence checker. This is also why any Navisworks plugin doesn’t run in the Freedom version of the software.

A Navisworks writer can exist stand-alone from having a Navis license, but that is beyond the scope of the current Speckle plugin.

There is a very expensive non-Autodesk SDK for Navisworks from ODA, but it would also be out of scope for Speckle to use.


Thanks for all the information.
I was expecting that there are reasons for all Connector “PlugIns” only.

Now I understand better.

And especially for Navisworks Files, as I have never seen any Translator so far.
While we are used to even have Revit imports in our Apps.
But that is all ODA work.

So there will also unlikely be any Archicad, Vectorworks, Bricscad, …
stand alone “Connector” …

So if I got that right, open or accessible file formats,
like direct upload of IFC files to server,
the translation to Speckle format could theoretically also happen
on our local (non resource limited) machine (?)

I do architectural visualization,
for architectural offices.
They may do the architectural part of industrial buildings while
the main part is done by all kind of engineers.

When my clients asks what kind of file formats I will prefer,
please give me an FBX and IFC,
I may get a RVT instead :slight_smile:

Revit seems like a standard in this business.
Likely each engineer will bring its own work in form of 200+ MB IFC files
for BIM coordination, the whole model will be soon too crowded to
realistically being able to handle.

That is when they start switching to Navisworks …
(As I understand more a Mesh based App, so capable to handle large
complex geometries by ignoring all that CAD overhead)

At that point, potential access to IFC or RVT files is useless for me and
my resources anyway. I might get access to Navisworks files.

A proper FBX Export from NW would be suitable for me,
but unlikely someone would do (or is capable of doing) a FBX Export
for me. And even more unlikely that someone would be willing
(or allowed ?) to install a Speckle Connector …

Nothing ?
I see the files from my project server access.
Once downloaded some and tried to find a way to convert them in any way.
Gave up.

even more unlikely that someone would be willing
(or allowed ?) to install a Speckle Connector …

Do you think it is VERY unlikely?

From personal experience, stopping sending files around may be preferable. It may be interesting to ask.

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Yes :slight_smile:

I think at a certain scale of firms and employees it does no more work
as familiar as on this forum. Where everybody is enthusiastic about
the topic, collaboration or working together.
They may be more driven by other interests.

On smaller scale projects, may have a need for collaboration and direct
exchange with Revit, Archicad, DWG, IFC, Vectorworks, …
And there is a realistic chance to propose Speckle.

But I have not yet experience how far and lossless the exchange really
is with Speckle, before I bother them :slight_smile:
So far I load IFCs up and stream into Blender.
(With varying success)

(My CAD and BIM modeling and data organization is just my preferred workflow,
because of my architectural background - not a must)
Final Renderings came out of 3DCC Apps like Modo, Cinema4D and maybe
Blender, Twinmotion, … soon.
Many other Visualizers do everything in their 3DCC App only and even refuse to
accept any existing 3D CAD Models.

So I personally see already a great Feature in a local file converter, beside the actual
collaboration and cloud base of Speckle.

My experience is that that larger scale business is very conservative.
They are totally fine with their closed BIM. They often demand using special
(proprietary) Apps if you want to work for them, no file conversion allowed and so on.
As for Software, from my Microstation experience, they are usually 5+ years behind,
until IT tested projects in newer versions and give a compatibility/reliability OK.

So on the other side I see OSS on the progressive avant garde side.
That does not really fit together for several reasons.

So while not having unlimited access (Speckle Connectors) to intrude
into such protective business, I still think Speckle could help connecting
to that and allow more collaboration, even if it is only from around outside,
for the coworkers collaboration - in a Speckle sense.
But maybe not only by local Connector installations need, but also by some
external workarounds.

I hope I made some point for my arguments in this thread …
Was this enough information ?

If I produce relatively correct IFC Exports (like from Bricscad),
Speckle loads them up like a charm !
And shows them online in a very useful way.
(Only that Speckle Connecter in Blender is not able to stream them down !?
and quits with a (cryptical) warning, about objects numbers or something
missing, which are availabe online - but I have to test a bit more)