25 Years and Counting (Editor's Window)

31 Dec, 2007 By: Amy Stankiewicz Cadalyst

Cadalyst celebrates its 25th year of publication and thanks you, the readers, for its ongoing success.

As I was preparing my editorial for the first issue of Cadalyst's 25th year of publication, I connected with two of the magazine's early writers, Bill Fane and David Cohn. You all recognize Bill as the writer of Cadalyst's "Learning Curve" online column, which has its roots back in the beginning of the publication itself. David joined the publication as senior editor roughly two and one-half years after its inception, and he prides himself with owning every single issue of Cadalyst since it was first published.

Amy Stankiewicz, Editor-in-Chief
Amy Stankiewicz, Editor-in-Chief

Both David and Bill graciously shared their memories with me about the time when Cadalyst (then capitalized CADalyst) was a newsletter for users of AutoCAD. Yes, it was more than two decades ago (January of 1984) that founder Lionel Johnston decided to start a newsletter from his location in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, that provided tips and tricks and other news about AutoCAD to those who were part of his newly formed international user group.

The very first issue of CADalyst was printed on one sheet of 8.5" x 11" green paper. Lionel introduced the publication by saying, "We are happy to announce the forming of an AutoCAD user group for the mutual benefit of everyone involved with this computer-aided design and drafting software ... We've chose[n] CADALYST as the least preposterous of the names we came up with. I will never be a member of a group called 'AUG' nor edit a newsletter called 'AUGnews,' so you're stuck with the bad pun. It's not the last silliness you'll have to read from this keyboard."

Lionel's intent was to deliver this "little newsletter" every two months to his members. The second issue, published in April 1984, was 16 pages and not long after, Lionel left his job as part owner of an AutoCAD dealership and devoted his professional time to CADalyst.

"Hot Tip Harry," one of Cadalyst's most popular editorial offerings, also got its start during the early days of the publication. At that time, the column didn't just contain tips; each one started with a bizarre but interesting story written by Lionel. David says that even though every story was fictional in nature, all were based in fact.

I'm particularly excited to mention Harry and his long-standing history with Cadalyst because, starting with this issue, Harry is now back where he started — in the print issue of the magazine. For three years, we've published "Hot Tip Harry" and all of Harry's (and readers') submitted LISP programs and dialog box files on our Web site at Check out this issue to read about the return of Harry to print and to access a routine that will allow you to search and locate tips by keyword while in AutoCAD.

You can look forward to learning even more about Cadalyst's history — as well as the history of CAD software and hardware throughout the past 25 years — in our June 2008 issue, where we will devote our cover feature to these topics as we take readers down memory lane.

My thanks go out to David and Bill for sharing their stories with me. Thanks also to you, the readers, who have made Cadalyst what it is today — the authoritative source for information, advice, and instruction pertaining to CAD and related technologies across the AEC, MCAD, and GIS markets. Here's to another 25 years of success!

About the Author: Amy Stankiewicz

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