1. MIDAS Open API (Application Program Interface) Workflow
API (Application Programming Interface) is a type of software that provides a connection between computers or between computer programs. Furthermore, API helps interface within the software. There are often misunderstandings of why an engineer wants to implement API. First of all, rather than focusing on the value of the API, it is better to think about the value of the effect it brings. APIs make sense when they provide a channel through which businesses can access the current value in new ways.
Figure 1: Midas design automation process
This process is the first step toward design automation. The user designs a model and then transfers this model information through an API file format to MIDAS CIVIL (GEN, CIM, or any other software that can receive the API data). The users can receive the structural analysis data with API format files and edit the result tables depending on the project requirements. The users can also use their preferred text editing software such as Excel, Word, etc.
These convenience features will help reduce the time and effort civil and structural engineers take to design similar structures and utilize pre-designed models built with 3D modeling software (which offers API) with MIDAS structural analysis software. Significantly, post-processing, such as calling the result tables or taking analyzed result diagrams, will reduce repeating the work process and help make a better decision.
For these reasons, worldwide clients are knocking on the MIDAS API door.
2. How to use MIDAS Open API within different software
Even now, a lot of civil and structural engineers use semi-API, that is, *.mct file formats. However, MIDAS CIVIL's *.mct file acts as a half-function API. Civil engineers make *.mct scripts based on their structures and import them into MIDAS CIVIL; then structures are created and analyzed. Now, you can guess why I said a half-function initially. If the API file wants to act as a completed function, it needs two things. The first one is the data, and the other one is the operator. The *.mct files don’t have an operator, so that’s why it’s called semi-API.
Then, how do we complete an API? The answer is to add operators! Operators will call data from the MIDAS database. APIs connect Request data to Find proper data Responses to the program.
There is a common language when using API. The most commonly used formats are JSON and XML, and MIDAS IT has chosen JSON as the main programming language. The JSON format is applied to MIDAS CIM to interoperate with MIDAS CIVIL. MIDAS CIM is a 3D modeling software for Civil Information Modeling, which will be released overseas soon. MIDAS CIM and MIDAS CIVIL transfer the information through JSON. It is possible that users can edit JSON files directly, and the software can import edited files.
Like MIDAS CIM and MIDAS CIVIL interoperability method (transferring model information through JSON files), other 3D modeling software and MIDAS CIVIL can transfer data for modeling and analysis. We will provide this interoperation for any MIDAS programs that can utilize it in the same way. The JSON format is readable for both humans and computers, and we are sure it won’t be difficult for first-time users.
The users can utilize APIs as many as users want. MIDAS engineers also expect how users will broaden a range of applications of Midas API and apply our software with others for the AI design systems.
3. The Role of User Involvement in the Success of the Design Project
MIDAS API opens the gate to transfer JSON data format for users to expand their availability. We’ll explain the user involvement part within the whole API design procedure from this part.
This chart explains users’ roles when using Open API. It looks complicated; however, traditionally, most of the processes have been conducted by structural engineers. We only added a CIVIL API process (converting data to JSON format). MIDAS CIVIL opens pre-, and post-processing data and operators to connect users’ 3D modeling and report forms. This process is just the beginning of applying design automation systems.
MIDAS Open API will soon be open to all of our users. Our team of engineers and developers is currently working hard to develop API modules for an effective work process. We would like to hear your opinion and thoughts so please feel free to write in the comment section below on anything you would like to know about the upcoming MIDAS Open API.