2D Drafting / General-Purpose CAD

Graebert Seeks to Conquer the Device Divide

3 Nov, 2015 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

The newly updated ARES Touch is just one facet of Graebert’s mission to make full-featured CAD available on every type of platform.

You may not have heard of Graebert, a small, family-run software developer headquartered in Berlin, Germany. You’re almost certainly familiar, however, with one or more of the solutions built on Graebert technology. Pop the hood on Dassault Systèmes DraftSight, Onshape Drawings, or CorelCAD, for example, and you’ll find that Graebert’s ARES software is the engine inside.

Although most of its revenue comes from licensing its technology to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners, Graebert sells its ARES 2D/3D CAD solutions to end users as well, both directly and through its resellers. The foundation of this portfolio is ARES Commander, developed for desktop use.

CTO Robert Graebert demonstrated some of the features of the forthcoming ARES Commander 2016 at Graebert’s Annual Meeting, held last month in Berlin. Performance has been improved in this version thanks to a migration of software calculations to hardware: with more of that burden shifted to video cards, “we see significant improvement to [the speed of] zoom in model (69%) and pan in model (35%),” he explained.

ARES Commander 2016 incorporates a number of new commands, features, and enhancements to the user interface, including the following:

  • DrawingTabs display across the top of the drawing window (similar to browser tabs). “It’s a nice, more direct way of working with multiple files,” said Robert Graebert.
  • Command entry prompt positioned at the cursor enables users to quickly access tooltips, input boxes, and construction lines without moving to a static menu.
  • Tab completion allows users to type a few letters, then press Tab to cycle through command names beginning with those letters.
  • 36 LISP-based XtraTools commands, including PatternHatch using a selected image, block, references, or mask entity. ArcText shapes a Note entity to follow a selected arc; the text will retain that shape even if the arc is later deleted.
  • Users can collapse and expand groups in the Properties palette to make it easier to find the desired property.
  • Multiline BlockAttributes are supported by the MakeBlockAttribute, EditBlockAttribute, and EditAnnotation commands; a popup formatting toolbar assists with editing and formatting multiline BlockAttributes.
  • The LayerState Manager saves, restores, and manages various configurations of layer properties and states.
  • SelectMatching command enables the user to select only objects of the same type and properties.
  • Picture Notes from ARES Touch, which are created with photos taken by a mobile device’s camera, can now be displayed and edited in Commander.
  • Three new commands enable users to hide, isolate, or unisolate specified entities.
  • Support for import of DGN 7 and 8 files, and for saving the current view to a WMF file.

Commander 2016 is due to be released next week, on November 15. Annual and perpetual license options are available; “We like to leave this choice to the users and not force them one way or the other,” said Cédric Desbordes, sales and marketing executive. A free trial of ARES Commander is available from the Graebert website. 

The ARES family doesn’t end at the desktop, however. “Offering a low-cost alternative to a DWG-based platform is no longer enough,” said Desbordes. Graebert’s goal now, he explained, is to “help end users break down the walls of CAD” by supporting every type of device and operating system.

The Right Touch for Mobile

Graebert especially wants to tear down the walls of your office (figuratively, of course). The company is dedicated to the cause of delivering full CAD functionality on mobile devices, whose small size, light weight, and ever-present convenience support working outside the cubicle — at job sites, at home, or waiting in line at the post office. External factors support this effort: Internet connection speeds are on the rise and mobile devices are evolving into a more suitable platform for professional tasks, with larger screens and more powerful hardware and operating systems. And each year, there are simply more mobiles in circulation than ever before; market intelligence firm IDC predicts 6.5 billion by 2020, said Desbordes.

Despite the declining sales of desktop and laptop computers, “desktop and mobile will coexist; mobile will not kill desktop,” Desbordes assured the audience. “PCs won’t be replaced anytime soon [because] they still have very strong advantages,” he said, citing reliability, better performance for the price, and an established ecosystem of professional applications.

Designed for tablets and smartphones, ARES Touch is full-featured CAD software with native DWG support.

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