Autodesk Forge is our set of cloud-based developer tools used by our community of customers and partners to derive more value from their design and engineering data. When you use a computer program, you do so via its User Interface (UI) by clicking on elements like menu buttons, using menu pull-downs, or entering commands. When you want to automate a task so you can get the same thing accomplished without having to use a program's UI, you have another computer program operate on your behalf using the program's Application Program Interface (API). Forge has APIs so developers can automate workflows for the benefit of stakeholders involved in workflows that include design and engineering data.
The Forge APIs can be grouped into 9 assorted collections:
Authentication for Forge is based on the industry-standard OAuth, specifically OAuth2, that provides for token-based authentication and authorization. Authentication is part of ensuring that only those stakeholders who are supposed to have access to data can access the data.
Design Automation API
The Design Automation API gives developers the ability to run scripts on design files, taking advantage of the scale of the Forge Platform to automate repetitive tasks. The API currently works with AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, and 3ds Max files.
Reality Capture API
The Reality Capture API gives developers the ability to use Autodesk's latest desktop and cloud solution built for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and drone processes, ReCap Photo. Developers can add geo-based metadata by setting Ground Control Points (GCPs), selecting specific geographic coordinate systems, and tagging images with GPS information. The integration of this geo data results in accurate textured meshes, point clouds, and orthophotos.
Data Management API
The Data Management API gives developers a unified and consistent way to access data across BIM 360 Design, Fusion Team, BIM 360 Docs, A360 Personal, and its own Object Storage Service. The Object Storage Service allows applications to download and upload raw files (such as PDF, XLS, DWG, or RVT).
BIM 360 API
In relation to the Data Management API, the BIM 360 API allows developers to integrate with the Autodesk BIM 360 platform to extend its capabilities to reach segments of the construction ecosystem that don't have direct access to BIM data.
Model Derivative API
The Model Derivative API lets developers represent and share designs in different formats, as well as to extract valuable metadata into various object hierarchies. 60 different file input formats are supported.
The Webhooks API allows an application to receive a notification when certain events occur. It is triggered by events occurring in web applications. It then sends real-time data to applications listening to it. This allows one program to take action when something happens in another program.
Token Flex Data Usage API
The Token Flex Data Usage API allows developers to generate reports on consumption, usage, and contract details. Autodesk Enterprise Token Flex is a licensing model that charges based on product usage.
Over on LinkedIn (see Autodesk Technology group), I recently got a question about the Model Derivative API. By the way, this API got its name because derived means to receive or obtain from a source or origin. In the case of these APIs, metadata can be derived from original source data or a different file format can be derived from data in its original format.
I found a handy table on the Forge site that has the answer.
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., increasing efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., less energy, fewer raw materials, shorter timeframes, less waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). Autodesk Forge is an integral part of our automation plans.