CAD Tech News (#75)

1 Nov, 2017 By: Cadalyst Staff

▶ Bricsys: We're Not Holding Back on DWG, Part 1

At its user conference in Paris, the company boldly commits to continued innovation and support of the file format — and the customers that rely on it — and shares the latest BricsCAD developments to prove it.

By Nancy Spurling Johnson

Several years ago at an event where Autodesk was announcing software updates, I asked then-CEO Carl Bass if he could anticipate a day when we'd see robust manufacturing- and AEC-specific design tools within one 3D CAD solution. His answer was a flat No. "The necessary capabilities are too complex and discipline specific to exist side by side," was the gist of his explanation.

Fast-forward to today, and a company by the name of Bricsys is proving otherwise — and the functionality is built entirely on the DWG file format. At the Bricsys 2017 conference in Paris last week, where the company hosted myself and several other members of the CAD media, it demonstrated inside its BricsCAD v18 Platinum 3D modeling solution the ability to modify a parametric elevator model within a building information model (BIM).

Development is in its early stages but shows that robust, application-agnostic 3D modeling is indeed possible in a single CAD solution — something that might not be on the radar of every design and engineering group now, but will be, once organizations realize that a tool is evolving to support multi-disciplinary design and all its possible process, timeline, and bottom-line benefits. Surely just the tip of the iceberg, the development exemplifies a revolutionary concept. Don Strimbu, vice-president of communications for Bricsys and former Autodesk staffer, said, "I've been [involved with CAD software development] for 30 years, and this is truly innovative; there's nothing else like it."

The development also demonstrates Bricsys's commitment to DWG, and not just as a marketing slogan. Company strategy is built on continuing innovation around the file format, and all software development centers on it. While software developers in general seem to be scaling back on product announcements at user conferences, Bricsys 2017 offered a full day of updates about BricsCAD v18, including new building information modeling (BIM), mechanical, and sheet metal design features; the newly dubbed Bricsys 24/7 (formerly Chapoo) for cloud-based construction project collaboration; the — drumroll, please — brand-new BricsCAD Shape, a fast and simple-to-use 2D/3D conceptual modeling tool that's DWG-based and free for commercial use; and more.

In Part 1 of this conference report, I'll share general announcements by Bricsys regarding its commitment to developing DWG-based technologies and details about the brand-new BricsCAD Shape. Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon, where I'll share details about the extensive software upgrades coming to BricsCAD v18. Read more »

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Nancy Spurling Johnson is the content director for Longitude Media, publisher of Cadalyst.

▶ Fully Armed with Trinity of CAD, Graebert Ramps Up Battle for DWG Users

With its multi-platform CAD solution completed, the ARES developer is more determined than ever to challenge AutoCAD.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Graebert, a small, family-run software developer, was founded with a David-and-Goliath goal in mind: taking on Autodesk with its own answer to AutoCAD. (Graebert has never been shy about broadcasting its intentions. Its flagship CAD software application was named after Ares, the Greek god of war; CEO Wilfried Graebert decorates his office with paintings of historic battles.)

The world of DWG-compatible software is crowded with a variety of suppliers. Graebert believes the answer lies in distinguishing itself from the competition with a unique solution, instead of simply a lower price. "If you compare [AutoCAD] LT vs. the alternatives, the [price] gap is not so much — so we need to differentiate," explained Cedric Desbordes, sales and marketing executive, at Graebert's Annual Meeting earlier this month. A subscription to AutoCAD LT costs $380/year; ARES Trinity costs $250/year. (Graebert also sells perpetual licenses — an option Autodesk no longer offers.)

The core of that differentiation lies in the word Trinity: a single license covers three products. ARES Commander for desktop computers, ARES Touch for mobile devices, and ARES Kudo for the browser are all included. "These are not three independent products," Desbordes emphasized. "They work together as an ecosystem."

ARES software

Kudo Completed, but Still Evolving

ARES Kudo was the last piece of Trinity to be realized. Graebert began a phased rollout of Kudo a year ago, and the cloud solution is now included with all Commander subscriptions (as is Touch). In addition, Ares Touch is now fully integrated with Kudo, "The Trinity concept … is now reaching maturity with the release of ARES Kudo," said Wilfried Graebert. This means that Graebert can be a "strong contender with our competition," he continued.

Although it provides that functionality, Kudo is not intended to be a primarily a viewer, but a full-featured editor. "We're not really optimizing for viewing," commented CTO Robert Graebert, who noted that the company could do things differently to make a faster viewer — such as not work directly from DWG — if that was their goal. "For us, we thought the viewer is valuable, but it's just a subset of the editor," he continued. Read more »

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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is the editor in chief of Cadalyst.


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