Thursday, February 21, 2008


Fetters Break at Autodesk...

It seems that in the new 2009-version products Autodesk will get rid of some limitations which were restraining users with the hope of selling higher products.

E.g. the free DWG viewer Autodesk DWG TrueView 2009 now adds the measure tool allowing to measure distances and areas in DWG drawings. This capability was previously limited to the DWF viewer (Design Review) only - so you had to convert your DWG to DWF first. The last Autodesk DWG viewer allowing to measure was Volo View (remember when Autodesk tried to sell the viewer for AutoCAD drawings?).

Another limit falls - AutoCAD LT 2009 will allow to attach raster images (!) and create dynamic text fields - just like the full AutoCAD version. There should also by a 64-bit version of AutoCAD LT.

I am sure that these are results of the pressure of us users - let's get more.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008


AutoCAD 2009 is coming

Autodesk has announced the new version of its flagship product - AutoCAD 2009. It is clear that Autodesk's main focus is on the development of its 3D applications like Inventor, Revit or Civil 3D. AutoCAD 2009 seems to be one of the minor upgrades although the visible changes are major.

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.

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