How to Create Computer-based Manuals

CADSIM Plus includes a new feature that makes it possible to link HTML documentation to your CADSIM Plus simulation. This allows you to create a computer-based manual (CBM) that relates training and other types of content to technical drawings and simulation models. CADSIM Plus electronic P&ID drawings are ideally suited to this application.

cbm1bThe CBM feature is just one of a number of technologies that Aurel has been working on over the past few years, with the ultimate objective of making the CADSIM Plus drawing/model a portal to other information about the plant, the process and its operation.

You can embed links within a CADSIM Plus drawing that connect to an HTML document, and visa versa. When the user clicks on a piece of equipment that has a link, the linked page will open in a second HTML viewer window. Similarly, when the user clicks on a link on the HTML page, the associated item in the drawing will be viewed and highlighted. Other functions can also be performed by these embedded links, such as launching another application or controlling the simulation.

Here are the basic steps involved in creating a CADSIM Plus computer-based manual:

  1. Develop and test a CADSIM Plus simulation drawing/model. The drawing may be a full P&ID drawing which accurately represents equipment, streams, controls and interlocks, or it may be a simple schematic drawing.
  2. Develop the documentation that will accompany the drawing/model. This may be some form of static training or reference material for the process.
  3. Use the Add Group and Manage Group tools in CADSIM Plus to group and name drawing objects that relate to the training materials. These groups can be given CADSIM Plus HTML commands that are executed when they are clicked on by the user in simulation + training mode.
  4. Create HTML pages and add the content that was developed in Step 2. Almost any HTML authoring tool or text editor can be used to develop HTML pages and to add CADSIM Plus HTML commands. Depending on the authoring tool used, some knowledge of web page development may be required for this step.
  5. Add CADSIM Plus HTML commands to text links, buttons or embedded JavaScript in the HTML pages to control how the drawing/model is displayed or run. The purpose of this step is to link the HTML documentation to specific areas of the drawing/model, and visa versa, thereby using the drawing as a visual aid to support the documentation.
  6. Add start-up options to the CADSIM Plus model/drawing, or to the HTML pages, to load specific drawings or pages.
  7. Test each interaction as you develop your HTML content.
  8. Distribute your drawing/model along with the associated HTML pages. The user can also run the simulation model in order to display process results on the drawing while viewing the training/reference manual.

CADSIM Plus ships with an example CBM project that is located in My CADSIM\Samples\CBM.