Sunday, February 17, 2008
AutoCAD 2009 is coming
AutoCAD 2009 is the version where the long and well known pull-down menus are no longer the primary user interface. The main UI component is now the Ribbon - the new Microsoft standard introduced in Office 2007. In AutoCAD terms, the Ribbon is generally a Dashboard in horizontal layout - but much more flexible (I like the dynamic extensible tooltips) and easily customizable through CUI. Good news for conservative users - it is possible to switch to the old pull-down menu system.
There are several new functions but most of the new functionality are polished functions from the older versions. The "bubble" functionality mentioned earlier is called "Quick properties". It can be a real time saver. The status bar now uses icons (instead of short texts) which makes more place for status bar tools. Another powerful new function is the "Action recorder" - a macro recorder for simple repetitive tasks. The Layer Manager dialog is now modeless - can stay displayed. There is new functionality for navigating drawings, layouts and views. Especially the visual drawing navigation seems to be very user-friendly.
The DGN file format support now comprises DGN V7 (older DGN format). The new XPS-based DWFx format is now on the same level as the old DWF format - so you can use it for publishing, markup underlay, etc. Remember that you need no viewer for DWFx files - they are supported natively in Windows Vista and Windows XP with .NET Framwork 3.5.
All new AutoCAD applications will use common navigation tools - the SteeringWheel (2D tool for interactive zoom/pan) and ViewCube (3D tool for orbiting and view setting).
On the system level, AutoCAD 2009 is now Vista-certified and there will be localized native 64-bit versions. The IPV6 LAN protocoll is now supported. Windows 2000 is no longer supported. DWG file format remains the same (DWG2007).
More information about AutoCAD 2009 on the Between the Lines blog.