Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Autodesk vs. ODA - it is about faking

There are lots of comments to the TrustedDWG lawsuit between Autodesk and ODA. Many "user-rights defenders" are arguing loudly against Autodesk with the assertion "who owns the data in the DWG file" and that DWG cannot be compared to Rolex, Coke or Adidas.

But it can. They are just using a wrong parable. Let's take another one. You carry your valuable paper drawings in a Samsonite case. You know it is fairly solid and reliable. Of course the drawings inside it are all yours. Of course you can choose another brand for your next briefcase. But of course Samsonite's competitors cannot form a non-profit group (a funny understatement) and produce briefcases labeled "Samsonite". And Samsonite of course can protect its brand by adding something like holograms or CEO signatures inside their cases. And it can sue the villainous competitors producing faked and less reliable cases.

ODA has simply faked a product (DWG format) of another company. I know from my own experience that DWG files created by Microstation, IntelliCAD, or Nemetschek often cause AutoCAD failures as they contain non-standard entity properties and settings. Maybe AutoCAD should pre-detect all these format errors, maybe Autodesk should improve reading of its own DWG files. But it doesn't change anything on the fact that ODA must not create TrustedDWG fakes.

I am glad that I am warned by AutoCAD when opening a less reliable DWG file. So it is a practical benefit for me. On the other hand if you want to work with such files silently, you can switch the DWGcheck off and AutoCAD let you open these "DWGs" without any hindrance. So what's all the shouting about?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Viewer-less DWF viewing - even in 3D and on PDAs

The Autodesk web service DWFit.com has some important new enhancements. DWFit (Freewheel) display the contents of a DWF file by converting it to a raster image and offers interactive functions for zooming, panning, etc.
First of all, the DWFit service now supports 3D DWF files and combined 2D/3D DWF books. So you don't need a DWF viewer nor Vista or XPS to view your models from AutoCAD, Inventor or Revit. The Ajax web controls in DWFit do a surprisingly good job in interactive 3Dorbit functionality for rotating 3D models. You can upload your own local DWF files or link an existing DWF file on the web to try out.
A hidden gem is the DWFit support for mobile devices. If you access the DWFit.com web over a PDA or a smart mobile phone, it switches automatically to a simplified interface (page mobileDwf_NS.aspx) but it offers a similar set of functions as the full-blown desktop web browser version. You can zoom, pan, switch pages (DWF sheets) or change the display size. It can even view a 3D DWF file - but I have not found a way to orbit it on a PDA and zooming of a 3D DWF file had some problems on my PDA (PocketPC).

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Inventor to speak Autocaddish

The next Inventor (2008) will work directly with DWG file format in its drawing views functionality. So you'll be able to save your Inventor drawing views either to IDW or to DWG. DWG-type drawing views will be full-featured files which even survive round trip through possible editing sessions in plain AutoCAD. Well, this will definitely make sharing of Inventor-generated drawings easier in mixed CAD teams. Autodesk calls this feature DWG TrueConnect and this "True" prefix implies that there may be problems with any round-trips of these DWG files going through non-Autodesk CAD applications.
With Inventor being more AutoCAD-like and with the high popularity of AutoCAD LT, Autodesk may consider making a cheaper LT version of Inventor, with limited "light" functions, for greenhorn 3D-cadders...

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