Working with the Standard Data Access Interface in ODA IFC SDK

Egor Vorobyov

October 08, 2020

IFC SDK supports the Standard Data Access Interface (SDAI) which provides a low-level API for manipulating data defined with the EXPRESS Schema and provides the following functionality:

  • Sessions, repositories, models, and schema instance management.
  • Manipulations with application data (entity instances, aggregates, attributes), including data validation.

SDAI is defined in the ISO 10303-22 standard.

This article describes, in general, how to work with SDAI in IFC SDK.

Prepare the environment and load a model from file

Open a file and create a model. First create a new session using sdaiOpenSession:

SdaiSession session = sdaiOpenSession();

The next step is repository initialization. In the created session, create a repository from a file. For this example, we use a sample file and open it:

_sdaiCreateRepositoryFromFile(session, sdaiPathToFileDirectory, nameRepo);

Here we use _sdaiCreateRepositoryFromFile. This function starts with the “_” symbol, which means this function is an ODA utility function that is not described in the specification.

If we pass a valid path to the file repository, it should be successfully created. Then we should open it using sdaiOpenRepository:

repoCreate = sdaiOpenRepository(session, repoCreate);

Now we can get a model from the open repository by name. The name of the file model is “default”. We should use sdaiAccessModelBN to do it:

SdaiModel model = sdaiAccessModelBN(repoCreate, modelName, accessMode);

If we don’t need the model anymore, we can close it using the function sdaiEndModelAccess. After that all read and write operations fail.

Access application instances

Our model is open in read-only mode and ready to use.

First, we should know how to access application instances. Let’s view the sample file as plain text and open it in a text editor:

FILE_DESCRIPTION(('ViewDefinition [DesignTransferView_V1.0]'),'2;1');
FILE_NAME('001-00','2019-01-14T10:55:12',(''),(''),'The EXPRESS Data Manager Version 5.02.0100.07 : 28 Aug 2013','20180806_1515(x64) - Exporter - Alternate UI','');
#1= IFCORGANIZATION($,'Autodesk Revit 2019 (ENU)',$,$,$);
#5= IFCAPPLICATION(#1,'2019','Autodesk Revit 2019 (ENU)','Revit');
#6= IFCCARTESIANPOINT((0.,0.,0.));

For simple analysis, each string in the DATA section becomes an application instance of a model. The number is a handle of this instance. The instance type in upper case is placed after the equal symbol. The data in the round brackets is a parameter of this application instance. SdaiAppInstance is an SDAI data type for working with application instances.

Let’s read application instance #5. Look at the appInstanceAccessByHandle function in the sample code.

sdaiGetEntityById reads the application model from the model by its handle ID. We use the macro TEST_ASSERT for application instance validation. Then we call sdaiErrorQuery for the check error code of the last operation. We need to make sure that all operations are completed successfully:

//#5 = IFCAPPLICATION(#1, '2019', 'Autodesk Revit 2019 (ENU)', 'Revit');
SdaiAppInstance applicationInstance = _sdaiGetEntityById(model, 5);
TEST_ASSERT(applicationInstance != NULL);
TEST_ASSERT(sdaiErrorQuery() == sdaiNO_ERR);

We can check the type of application instance using the function sdaiIsInstanceOfBN.

TEST_ASSERT(sdaiIsInstanceOfBN(applicationInstance, "IFCAPPLICATION") == sdaiTRUE);

And then get a handle of the application instance and compare it with the handle that is being used with _sdaiGetEntityById:

TEST_ASSERT(_sdaiGetEntityId(applicationInstance) == 5);
TEST_ASSERT(sdaiErrorQuery() == sdaiNO_ERR);

Finish and clean up the environment

When you finish working with the session, close the repository:


Then close the session:


Future blog articles will describe how to work with SDAI in more detail.