Build multi-language AutoCAD OEM applications using the BuildTool

In my previous two posts (see Part1 and Part2) I introduced to you the BuildTool that fully automates the build process of AutoCAD and AutoCAD OEM applications.

Today I want to add one more important feature: Building an AutoCAD OEM application for different language targets. For example, our AutoSTAGE 2023 application is available in our native German language version as well as an international English language version. So we need to build the application with the German AutoCAD OEM Make Wizard as well with the English AutoCAD OEM Make Wizard.

Building an AutoCAD OEM application with different languages is not so easy as it sounds: It is not advisable to install different language version of the AutoCAD OEM Make and Installer Wizard side by side on the same machine.

From the Autodesk Developer Network (ADN):

The real side by side problem (with installing different language versions on the same machine) is the generation of the product msi file. It relies on some non-switchable global MSI locale settings to work properly.

In theory, there may be workarounds for this impediment, but these may be rather fragile. As a responsible developer, I would not go down this path.

With the BuildTool, I have chosen the different approach to spread out the build process over multiple machines. There is a build-host machine with the IP address 10.1.1.1 and a virtual machine called build-vm with the IP address 10.1.1.2. In general, all operations that can be done in the build-host machine will be done there. Everything that needs to be build language specific need to be separated out to build-vm.

In the case, on the build-host machine is the German AutoCAD OEM Make Wizard installed. On the build-vm machine is the English AutoCAD OEM Make Wizard installed.

On the build-vm machine, we need to run just the OEM Make Wizard, use this output for the OEM Installer Wizard and finally the WinRar application to create the self-extracting installer file.

As a vm host we use VMware Workstation Pro with an installation of Win 10.

Now, lets make a quick tour of the automated process.

#1 Boot vm

Starting a vm is a straightforward matter: just call the right arguments to the vmrun.exe from VMware Workstation Pro.
                /* argument */
                String strArg = "/c "
                                + “vmrun.exe”
                                + " -T"
                                + " ws";


                /* start */
                   strArg +=   " start "
                                + <build-vm>
                                + " nogui";

                /* new process */
                var proc = new Process
                {
                    StartInfo = new ProcessStartInfo
                    {
                        FileName = "cmd.exe",
                        Arguments = strArg,
                        CreateNoWindow = true,
                        UseShellExecute = false,
                        RedirectStandardOutput = true,
                        RedirectStandardError = true,
                    }
                };

                /* start process */
                proc.Start();

We wait for a predetermined time span to give the build-vm enough time to boot. Then we check with a PING to the IP address if the machine is ready for build.

20220618_11-42-59-163   Starting <build-vm>...
20220618_11-42-59-174   <build-vm> Ping OK for 10.1.1.2

#2 Copy all necessary data

We need to copy all the necessary data from build-host to build-vm that are needed in the vm and/or that should not be changed on the host machine by the vm.

20220618_11-42-59-182   Copy Data from <build-host> to <build-vm> started... PLEASE WAIT!

This copies the latest code of the BuildTool to the vm.

20220618_11-42-59-182   Copy Data from <build-host> to <build-vm> started... PLEASE WAIT!
20220618_11-43-06-639   Source Drive -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\_AuStTools\AuStTool\
20220618_11-43-06-641   Target Drive -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\_AuStTools\AuStTool\
20220618_11-43-06-649   (0) Copy -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\_AuStTools\AuStTool\ -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\_AuStTools\AuStTool\   ...PLEASE WAIT...
20220618_11-43-11-834   (0) Copy -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\_AuStTools\AuStTool\ -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\_AuStTools\AuStTool\   ...FINISHED!

Here we copy the output from the msbuild operations to the vm. In theory, we could have left them on the host machine, but the workflow is easier with copying the data to the vm.

20220618_11-43-11-835   -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_11-43-11-836   Source Drive -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\
20220618_11-43-11-836   Target Drive -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\
20220618_11-43-11-848   (0) Copy -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\ -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\   ...PLEASE WAIT...
20220618_11-43-12-335   (0) Copy -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\ -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\   ...FINISHED!
20220618_11-43-12-337   -------------------------------------------------------------------

And we need to have in the vm local copies of the make and installer wizard xml and associated files for the OEM Wizards.

20220618_11-43-14-441   Source Drive -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\AuStOem\
20220618_11-43-14-443   Target Drive -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\AuStOem\
20220618_11-43-14-451   (0) Copy -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\AuStOem\ -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\AuStOem\   ...PLEASE WAIT...
20220618_11-43-34-375   (0) Copy -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEV\AuStOem\ -> \\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\DEV\AuStOem\   ...FINISHED!

20220618_11-43-38-608   Copy Data from <build-host> to <build-vm> FINISHED!

#3 Run OEM Make Wizard with BuildTool in the vm

To run the BuildTool on the vm from the host machine, we use the Microsoft tool

PsExec
which lets you execute processes on other systems and without having to manually install client software.

20220618_13-40-47-802             Call PsExec -->
20220618_13-40-47-803               -i
20220618_13-40-47-804               \\<build-vm>
20220618_13-40-47-804               -u
20220618_13-40-47-805               <build-vm>\<user-account>
20220618_13-40-47-806               -p
20220618_13-40-47-807               <user-password>
20220618_13-40-47-807               -h
20220618_13-40-47-808               -realtime
20220618_13-40-47-811               -accepteula
20220618_13-40-47-812               D:\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\AuStTool.exe
20220618_13-40-47-813               AuStBuild,R,O23,OM,SILENT

As arguments, we need to log into the vm with the user name and password, as well as the local executable we want to run, in this case the AuStTool.exe, with the required parameters. With this, the build action starts in the vm.

The doubled time stamps in the logfile is as signal that the action runs on the vm.

20220618_13-40-56-478             20220618_13-40-56-469 
20220618_13-40-56-479             20220618_13-40-56-469 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_13-40-56-480             20220618_13-40-56-469 BUILD OEM EN MAKE WIZARD started...
20220618_13-40-56-481             20220618_13-40-56-469 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_13-40-56-482             20220618_13-40-56-469 
20220618_13-40-56-483             20220618_13-40-56-469           
20220618_13-40-56-483             20220618_13-40-56-469           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_13-40-59-019             20220618_13-40-59-009           
20220618_13-40-59-020             20220618_13-40-59-009           Edit ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM Make Wizard xml file...
20220618_13-41-00-080             20220618_13-41-00-063           Edit ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM Make Wizard xml file...DONE!
20220618_13-41-00-081             20220618_13-41-00-063           
20220618_13-41-00-083             20220618_13-41-00-079           
20220618_13-41-00-084             20220618_13-41-00-079           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt...
20220618_13-41-00-089             20220618_13-41-00-079           
20220618_13-41-00-089             20220618_13-41-00-079           Run Batch Build_Oem.bat... Param -> ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt 06<serial>18   
20220618_13-42-47-635             20220618_13-42-47-631           Run Batch Build_Oem.bat... Param -> ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt 06<serial>18   DONE!
20220618_13-42-47-635             20220618_13-42-47-631           
20220618_13-42-47-638             20220618_13-42-47-631           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt...DONE!
20220618_13-42-57-975             20220618_13-42-57-961           
20220618_13-42-57-976             20220618_13-42-57-961           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_13-42-57-977             20220618_13-42-57-961           
20220618_13-42-57-978             20220618_13-42-57-961 
20220618_13-42-57-979             20220618_13-42-57-961 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_13-42-57-979             20220618_13-42-57-961 BUILD OEM EN MAKE WIZARD ended...
20220618_13-42-57-980             20220618_13-42-57-961 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_13-42-57-981             20220618_13-42-57-961 

#4 Sign the build files

We want to sign the build files done with the OEM Make Wizard. This could be done on the vm, but it is easier to do it on the host machine, depending on the type and method of signing certificate that is used. For this, we copy the OEM output folder, the files from the OEM Make Wizard, from the vm to the host machine and do the signing on the host machine.
20220618_13-42-58-050             Copy (\\10.1.1.2\<build-vm>\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\\) to (D:\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\)
20220618_13-44-58-149             Copy OK!
20220618_13-44-58-150             
20220618_13-45-02-194                                 SIGNED -> D:\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\aust.exe
20220618_13-45-06-113                                 SIGNED -> D:\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\AuSt10.dll
20220618_13-45-10-093                                 SIGNED -> D:\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\AuSt10Mgd.dll
20220618_13-45-14-053                                 SIGNED -> D:\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\AuSt10Wrapper.dll
20220618_13-47-25-350                                 SIGNED -> D:\REL\RELEASE\AUST2023EN\AuSt\AuSt10Object.dbx

#5 Run OEM Installer Wizard with BuildTool in the vm

The Installer Wizard needs to be run in the vm, similar to the Make Wizard. As data source we can take the OEM output folder with the signed files from the host machine. This folder does not have to be on the vm. Again, we are using PsExec to call the BuildTool, this time with slightly different parameters:
20220618_14-05-43-090             Call PsExec -->
20220618_14-05-43-091               -i
20220618_14-05-43-092               \\<build-vm>
20220618_14-05-43-092               -u
20220618_14-05-43-093               <build-vm>\<user-account>
20220618_14-05-43-093               -p
20220618_14-05-43-094               <user-password>
20220618_14-05-43-095               -h
20220618_14-05-43-096               -realtime
20220618_14-05-43-096               -accepteula
20220618_14-05-43-097               D:\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\AuStTool.exe
20220618_14-05-43-098               AuStBuild,R,O23,OI,SILENT

This sets of the OEM Installer Wizard. The resulting files get written directly to the host machine.

20220618_14-05-43-750             20220618_14-05-43-734 
20220618_14-05-43-751             20220618_14-05-43-734 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-05-43-752             20220618_14-05-43-734 BUILD OEM EN INSTALLER WIZARD started...
20220618_14-05-43-753             20220618_14-05-43-750 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-05-43-754             20220618_14-05-43-750 
20220618_14-05-43-755             20220618_14-05-43-750           
20220618_14-05-43-756             20220618_14-05-43-750           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-05-43-756             20220618_14-05-43-750           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-05-43-762             20220618_14-05-43-750           
20220618_14-05-43-762             20220618_14-05-43-750           Edit ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM Installer Wizard xml file...
20220618_14-05-44-790             20220618_14-05-44-775           Edit ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM Installer Wizard xml file...DONE!
20220618_14-05-44-791             20220618_14-05-44-775           
20220618_14-05-44-792             20220618_14-05-44-775           
20220618_14-05-44-793             20220618_14-05-44-775           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM INSTALLER WIZARD started...
20220618_14-05-44-795             20220618_14-05-44-790           
20220618_14-05-44-796             20220618_14-05-44-790           Run Batch Build_OemInstaller.bat... Param -> ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt --10.1.1.1-<build-host>-DEPLOY-getAuSt2023EN-AutoSTAGE_2023EN__Installer_2.3.29-   
20220618_14-10-29-929             20220618_14-10-29-916           Run Batch Build_OemInstaller.bat... Param -> ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt --10.1.1.1-<build-host>-DEPLOY-getAuSt2023EN-AutoSTAGE_2023EN__Installer_2.3.29-   DONE!
20220618_14-10-29-930             20220618_14-10-29-916           
20220618_14-10-29-932             20220618_14-10-29-916           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM INSTALLER WIZARD started...DONE!
20220618_14-10-29-933             20220618_14-10-29-916           
20220618_14-10-49-945             20220618_14-10-49-942           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-10-49-945             20220618_14-10-49-942           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-10-49-947             20220618_14-10-49-942           
20220618_14-10-49-948             20220618_14-10-49-942 
20220618_14-10-49-949             20220618_14-10-49-942 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-10-49-950             20220618_14-10-49-942 BUILD OEM EN INSTALLER WIZARD ended...
20220618_14-10-49-950             20220618_14-10-49-942 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-10-49-951             20220618_14-10-49-942 

#6 Create self-extracting installer file

Finally, we want to create a self-extracting archive for the installation of our AutoCAD OEM based application. Again, we use PsExec to run the English language version WinRar on the vm.
20220618_14-20-19-601             Call PsExec -->
20220618_14-20-19-606               -i
20220618_14-20-19-607               \\<build-vm>
20220618_14-20-19-607               -u
20220618_14-20-19-608               <build-vm>\<user-account>
20220618_14-20-19-609               -p
20220618_14-20-19-610               <user-password>
20220618_14-20-19-610               -h
20220618_14-20-19-611               -realtime
20220618_14-20-19-611               -accepteula
20220618_14-20-19-612               D:\DEV\_AuStTools\RELEASE\AuStTool.exe
20220618_14-20-19-613               AuStBuild,R,O23,OZ,OS,SILENT

In theory, we could do this also on the host machine, but then the self-extracting archive would show German language strings while the compressed application is in English language. Does not look good, so we stay in line and do it language specific in the vm.

The WinRar takes the data from the host machine, creates the self-extracting archive and writes the results to the host machine. No data is used from the vm for this operation.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-20-20-219             20220618_14-20-20-211 BUILD OEM EN INSTALLER RAR started...
20220618_14-20-20-220             20220618_14-20-20-211 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-20-20-221             20220618_14-20-20-211 
20220618_14-20-20-221             20220618_14-20-20-211           
20220618_14-20-20-222             20220618_14-20-20-211           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-20-20-225             20220618_14-20-20-211           
20220618_14-20-20-226             20220618_14-20-20-211           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM SFX INSTALLER started...
20220618_14-20-20-236             20220618_14-20-20-226               Compile to -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEPLOY\_getAuSt2023EN\AutoSTAGE_2023EN__Installer.exe
20220618_14-27-08-136             20220618_14-27-07-824           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM SFX INSTALLER started...DONE!
20220618_14-27-08-137             20220618_14-27-07-824           
20220618_14-27-08-138             20220618_14-27-07-824           
20220618_14-27-08-141             20220618_14-27-07-824           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM SFX INSTALLER started...
20220618_14-27-08-141             20220618_14-27-07-824               Compile to -> \\10.1.1.1\<build-host>\DEPLOY\_getAuSt2023EN\AutoSTAGE_2023EN__Installer_SILENT.exe
20220618_14-33-05-295             20220618_14-33-04-862           BUILD ACAD2023OEM_EN AuSt OEM SFX INSTALLER started...DONE!
20220618_14-33-05-296             20220618_14-33-04-862           
20220618_14-33-05-297             20220618_14-33-04-862           -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-33-05-298             20220618_14-33-04-862           
20220618_14-33-05-300             20220618_14-33-04-862 
20220618_14-33-05-302             20220618_14-33-04-862 -------------------------------------------------------------------
20220618_14-33-05-302             20220618_14-33-04-862 BUILD OEM EN INSTALLER RAR ended...
20220618_14-33-05-303             20220618_14-33-04-862 -------------------------------------------------------------------

#7 Summary

With this workflow from the BuildTool, it is very easy to build multilingual AutoCAD OEM based application, provided the host and the vm is correctly set up. We us this with just two languages (German and English), but you could extend this to much more, i.e., all available AutoCAD OEM languages.

The only downside is a much longer build time, because we copy and transfer a lot of data over an IP connection between the host and the virtual machine, and that takes a heavy timing toll. So you would have to factor in more wait time until the application(s) are done. But again, everything is automated, you just have to start the process and get some cups of coffee (or a night’s break) until all is well and done.

3 Likes

Thank you for the detailed info. It’s an interesting setup. Will have to think a bit more about it.

In any case, automating the whole process is a very worthwhile endeavor as it increases reproducibility and reduces errors/mistakes.

Next step would be to automate the build trigger by integrating it into a CI/CD system which delegates the OEM jobs to the pre-configured machines. Delegating to the right build agent can usually be done with a set of tags or filters (depends on the CI/CD system) so you could set version/language/etc.

To give a few numbers: On normal days our CI/CD system generates between 10 and 20 OEM setups per day (across multiple products and multiple languages). It has been a large time saver, especially if releases branches and multiple parallel releases are involved and the number of builds go up.

I’m surprised the network overhead is that large. Is it a 1 Gbps connection?

How long do regular OEM builds take for you?
We are down to 20 minutes but now we seem to have hit a wall. Perhaps we can exchange a few tricks.

Hi Stephan, thanks for sharing your experiences.

I just checked: Just building the German language version (no code, just Make Wizard, Installer Wizard, self-extracting archive and signing of all files) takes about 12,5 minutes. Adding the time to build the code we will probably hit a mark around 20 minutes.

Doing the same with build configuration for the German and English language versions, we are up to 39 minutes, more than three times than the original build time for just one language target.

I attribute the higher time costs to a slower virtual machine (compared to the host machine) and the massive transfer of data between host and vm (for example with the installer wizard). There maybe some inefficiencies, but I do not think that removing this will result in a massive decrease in build time.

But remember, this timing figures are not objective facts, because each OEM application is different with a different amount of additional files and supporting infrastructure.

Our self-extracting installer archive for AutoSTAGE 2023 is almost 2GB in size, plus there is an extra installer for a block library, which is also around 2GB in size.