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Our NX Launcher

Landon Ritchie here from Design Visionaries. Just wanted to let the NX community know that I have released the first build of my own custom launcher for NX. 

As many of you have seen instead of getting a *gasp* NX 13, we ended up receiving NX with this new continuous build model and new versioning schema. I suppose it’s fine in the instance where the company uses one specific version of NX and everyone must stay on that version. However if you are a contractor, or a trainer or even like me you do software plugins for NX, you may need to use many different versions at the same time.

Since all new Versions just say NX with no version attached it seems to replace your start menu entry, which becomes confusing because you no longer know what version you are opening until you check the about info on it. 

Trying to open previous versions of NX is a bit of a headache. Siemens did however release their own launcher, but it requires manually editing XML files and placing them in specific directories. 

Why should we have to do that? I just wanna open the NX i wanna open without fiddling around with XML or some settings text file. 

The Solution

In my experience pretty much everyone I’ve ever seen or met that uses NX does so on a windows system.  That being said why not create a launcher for windows in .net? The current NX launcher forces you to install java runtime and well oracle can be a bit weird to navigate to find the download. Rather than force people to go download java if they don’t need it on their system i can utilize .net which should already exist if they are on windows but also provide the runtime with the launcher.

Also personally even though i’m a programmer, i really don’t want to have to mess around with XML, Bat files and all that stuff just so i can launch a program that is already installed on my PC… it’s 2022.. we should have flying cars already! haha!

So what my goal is was to take the headache out of all of this. Simply install the Launcher, then run it. It then quickly checks your PC for all the various installations of NX and gives you a nice happy list to choose from. 

Out of the box you just simply click the version you want and hit Launch.

 

What about Customizations?

Ah hah! Again this is something i frequently have to do for people and even companies is set up the environments for NX. 

I wanted to make this fairly easy for anyone to set up environments for NX so I added configuration profiles for each version of NX that is detected.

This is my answer to the other cumbersome NX Custom collection of utilities bat files that gets used to set up environments. Granted I think this is a wonderful step in the right direction and it certainly helps alleviate the burden of setting up and even switching environments. But again we are messing with bat files and config text files still so the main issue at hand is still the issue.

 

How does it work?

It’s fairly straight forward. I give the option to use an already generated ugii_env file which in most cases is used to set up NX environment variables and point to templates, user directories and such. 

However if you choose generated, what this program does is allow you to pick out the environment variables and add them to a list. 

This way when you launch NX using this profile it generates the environment on the fly much the same way NX custom does but without the need to go edit a bunch of text files.

There’s also a dropdown to choose the application to launch for this profile in case you need a profile for CAM or Mechatronics etc etc.

 

When all is said and done you can hit the big launch button on the left to launch NX with the profile or use the default setup.

Ok so How do i get it?

Our NX Launcher is completely free and open source. You can find the source for it here on github;

Designviz/NXLauncher: Better Launcher for NX (github.com)

This way the community can get involved and help make it better, or why not even fork it and rebrand it for your own company. Might look pretty snazzy to have a custom company launcher, you could even add links and more tools to it as well. 

You can also download prebuilt binaries here on the software page for it;

 

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