Editor's Window31 Dec, 2004 By: Sara Ferris
New year, new look. Frequent fine-tuning keeps Cadalyst on target. on target.
As we head into our 21st year of covering all things CAD, we're kicking off the new year with a few changes. Though some may seem drastic—the cover, for example, is the first thing that greets you each month—they simply continue the course adjustments we started last year.
Our plan is to focus the print edition of Cadalyst on topics that appeal to managers, owners and others who must figure out how CAD technology can more effectively support the larger business goals of the organization. That means product evaluations, discussions of new and current technology and insights into what other companies are doing to gain an edge. This month we add a section called CAD Currents for analysis of industry news, trends that affect you and reports from conferences and trade shows. Also new is a regular column, PLM Strategies, that will examine product lifecycle management software and the promises and pitfalls encountered when implementing it.
To make our CAD software reviews more relevant and useful, we've scrapped the five-star rating system in favor of letter grades on a number of factors such as ease of use, installation, feature set and so forth. The product will also receive an overall letter grade; those who get an A earn the Highly Recommended honor. As CAD software becomes more and more capable, we found ourselves handing out more and more high ratings, so our hope is that this new system will end the grade inflation and more clearly pinpoint strengths and shortcomings.
The Web site is the home for material aimed at the end user of CAD software—tutorials, how-tos, tips and tricks. As you can tell from our listing of Web exclusives, found on p. 6, we've assembled a stellar lineup of experts on such programs as SolidWorks, Solid Edge, ArchiCAD, Alibre Design, Inventor and more. And longtime AutoCAD pros Lynn Allen, Bill Fane and Tony Hotchkiss are on board, with Hot Tip Harry scheduled to make the move next month.
The benefit to this arrangement is that we can provide more coverage of more topics and products, which means you're more likely to find articles relevant to your areas of interest. The articles in this printed issue make up less than a third of the material we process each month—the rest is posted to the Web site or sent out in e-mail form.
A side note: to make it easy to find specific material, we now have an online table of contents that matches what you see here in print: www.cadalyst.com/currentissue. We've also removed the registration requirement to download the monthly code files.
To those of you who don't like to read off the computer screen, I draw your attention to the printer-friendly button that appears on all Web articles. Our Web development folks assure me that all printing problems have been fixed.
If you do run into any problems with the print feature, or anything else, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your feedback and suggestions help keep us on track to serve you better.