Friday, September 24, 2010


DraftSight and other DWG incompatible clones

It is an interesting phenomenon this autumn. Even respectable software vendors jumps to be the first ones who release an AutoCAD clone for Mac, and better AutoCAD clone for Windows.

There is the Dassault's DraftSight, CAD Schroer's STHENO/LX, Graebert's ARES, ProgeCAD is said to be in the works, and maybe others.

The first strange thing in these feverish activities is the Mac platform. I don't know if the US market is so different but there are simply no Mac users in the technical/engineering industry in Europe. Someone should divulge that to these vendors.

The second thing is the lack of innovation. Are all these software vendors so short-sighted and non-creative that they are able only to copy (steal if you wish) an existing software - AutoCAD - and bring no own idea into their development?

And the third thing - the most important for us, users. When they happen to copy AutoCAD, they should do it right. I had a chance to try DraftSight which is said to read/write DWG files "almost like AutoCAD" and I can say that this is simply not true. DraftSight reads most of the DWG contents but not all! Some drawing objects are missing, some objects are interpreted differently that in the genuine AutoCAD. So you definitely cannot trust the DWG drawings you open or even modify in DraftSight. It does not support DWG, it does support only a clone of the DWG format (a subtle but important difference).

Maybe your business does not depend on the precision and fidelity of the technical drawings but our business does.

So if there happens to be some Mac users longing to process DWG files on their apple-boxes, they will need to use the official "AutoCAD for Mac" by Autodesk.

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Monday, September 20, 2010


AutoCAD NOP commands

Do you know the "no operation" commands in AutoCAD? What AutoCAD commands do you know that do nothing?

The usual command used for NOP function is ID. But there are more, maybe better examples of these idle commands - e.g.:

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AutoCAD WS - a good thing in the Mac story

I can see a single positive thing on the whole AutoCAD for Mac story, which still makes little sense for me - AutoCAD WS. My reservations about putting effort in developing "another AutoCAD" instead of polishing the right one can be found in my previous posts.

But there is one offspring of the Autodesk-Apple story that is very interesting and very promising for Autodesk's future. AutoCAD WS (I understand that this will be the resulting name of the whole Butterfly Project) is a web cloud application running on Autodesk servers in the internet. Through the lightweight client of AutoCAD WS you can work on DWG drawings on virtually any device - a Flash-enabled internet browser on a PC, on a Smartphone, on an iPad or even on an iPhone and iPod. AutoCAD WS now supports only a limited subset of DWG objects (2D only) but still - this sounds promising.


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