Léon van Berlo edited this page Oct 13, 2015 · 25 revisions
Clone this wiki locally

When you are in a hackathon, or just interested in hacking with BIM tools, open source bim tools might be right for you. On this page we'll try to explain as much as possible about our tools.

Most of our tools are listed on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/

Get an introduction/overview in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-XxpOm7bP0

If you can't find your answers, feel free to search the forum: http://support.opensourcebim.org/
There won't be many answers in a weekend, but maybe your question is already answered before...

We develop using Eclipse. Most of the tools work best in eclipse. Read the wiki page from BIMserver how to setup your workspace: https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BIMserver/wiki/Eclipse Read it till the end please... on the end of the page is also valuable information.

Introduction presentations

See the recorded presentations during the AEC Hackathon 1.1 (March 2014) here:


Database for IFC data. Our most known product. Well documented on http://wiki.bimserver.org and www.bimserver.org

What you should know about BIMserver when you start hacking:

Official documentation on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BIMserver/wiki

Tip: The easiest way to create something cool is to write an 'internal service' plugin in BIMserver. Internal services can be configured to be 'triggered' every time a new revision is checked into bimserver. They are just java code so very flexible. There are some examples under 'Tools' in our codebase. Related info about internal and remote services is available in our video about the 'Federated BIM' concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09A2oy3sxOo This concept is now called 'BIM Bots'.

BIM Surfer

WebGL viewer in javascript, based on SceneJS.
Used to be a single application, but is rewritten several times to act as a module in your own application. The API is not very well documented yet and there is only one example so far. However, if you understand javascript you can probably understand the interface. The BCF forum and bimvie.ws also use BIM Surfer, so you can use their implementation as a cheat sheet: https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BCF-Forum

  • When you run bimserver and this tool on localhost, beware of the security issues when trying to connect.

Documentation is very poor in the readme on: https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BIMsurfer/blob/master/README.markdown


IfcOpenShell uses Open CASCADE (the Open CASCADE Community Edition) internally to convert the implicit geometry in IFC files into explicit geometry that any software CAD or modelling package can understand. It is probably the best render engine out there at the moment. You can use it stand alone, or as plugin in BIMserver to render triangles (that are stored in the BIMserver database). Have a look at the python stuff as well. This is very popular. The sourcecode from IfcOpenShell is also on github: https://github.com/IfcOpenShell/IfcOpenShell
Find the .jar plugin for BIMserver on www.ifcopenshell.org. Put the jar file in the 'plugins' directory of your BIMserver system (you might want to restart BIMserver just to be sure).

Documentation is on http://ifcopenshell.org and http://ifcopenshell.org/bimserver.html

BCF forum

BCF Forum is a wordpress plugin written in PHP. Find the source on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BCF-Forum and the releases on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BCF-Forum/releases When you install wordpress you can use this plugin to turn your installation into a BCF server. Based on the BCF 2.0 standard.
BCF topics will be stored in the wordpress database. Under wp-admin you can configure the 'extensions.xsd' options. Viewing op topics and uploading zip files are supported, but complex operations are not yet implemented.
Find the documentation on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/BCF-Forum/wiki/BCF-Forum

The forum has a html/javascript application build in that connects to a BIMserver and the BCF data. You have to configure the link to your BIMserver to get it working.


GUI for BIMserver (actually for BIMSie compliant services).
Created in html5 and javascript but also available as .jar plugin to use as plugin in BIMserver. When you run bimserver and this tool on localhost, beware of the security issues when trying to connect. When you want to use it as a plugin for BIMserver, download the .jar file from https://github.com/opensourceBIM/bimvie.ws/releases and put the jar file in the bimserver 'plugins' folder (you might want to restart BIMserver just to be sure). There is almost no documentation, just this comment about installation: https://github.com/opensourceBIM/bimvie.ws/wiki/Releases

COBie plugins

Plugin for BIMserver to import/export from and to COBie. Very well documented on https://github.com/opensourceBIM/COBie-plugins/releases and the eBook http://www.lulu.com/shop/chris-bogen-and-e-william-east/cobie-plugin-for-bimserver-a-quick-start-guide/ebook/product-22300824.html


See https://github.com/opensourceBIM/ for all other projects. Some are experimental, some are deprecated. Feel free to swing them back alive again...