MCAD Tech News #164

18 Jan, 2006 By: Jeffrey Rowe

Cadalyst MCAD Tech NewsHow Open are Open 3D Data Formats?

Examining the pros and cons of each option,
Part 2: 3D XML

With all the attention surrounding so-called open data formats, I’ve wondered just how open are these formats, really? In the last issue of MCAD Tech News, I looked at UGS’ JT2Go format (click here to view the archives). This time I’ll cover Dassault Systèmes’ 3D XML. And in a third installment, I'll report the results of testing to determine which really is the most open.

In the fall of 2004, Dassault Systèmes introduced 3D XML for PLM (extensible markup language for product lifecycle management), a design data file format intended to be universal and lightweight. It attempted to become a new 3D standard that featured metadata. (Metadata is information about data. For example, in a PLM environment, data might have values describing geometry, whereas metadata might contain information that describes the meanings of the values.) The most attractive feature of 3D XML, however, is how it compresses data, with files as much as 99% smaller than the original file.As improbable as this sounds, I’ve seen it demonstrated, and the files can indeed be compressed to that level.This unique compression scheme enables rapid file transmission and shorter load times while maintaining the exact geometry of the files exchanged. Using 3D XML, users can drag and drop 3D files into other applications such as e-mail or Microsoft Office applications. The format has the potential to enhance collaboration that involves 3D information. Read more >>

CATIA V5 R15—A Lot To Learn, But A Lot to Like

by Jeffrey Rowe

Let me say this at the outset: I have not reviewed a CAD product like CATIA since the last time I reviewed CATIA a few years ago. It has a breadth and depth that I don't often encounter in other CAD products. It also has a pretty steep learning curve—not that it's overly difficult, but it does several basic things differently from what I'm used to—but more about that later. Overall, this is a whopper of a CAD application that, once mastered, has endless potential for mechanical design and engineering. It's not without some trouble spots, though, and I'll cover those, too.Read more >>

Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

North American STAR American Conferences 2006
May 22-23, 2006 (Detroit, Michigan)
May 24, 2006
(San Diego, California)
CD-adapco event offers presentations and workshops given by clients and CD-adapco employees to provide knowledge and communicate future developments to the CFD community. The latest features and developments of CD-adapco's Full Spectrum CAE Software and Solutions will be presented. Submit paper abstracts by February 1 to

Worldwide ABAQUS Users' Conference
May 23-25, 2006
The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Forum provides an opportunity for ABAQUS users to meet and share experiences, discuss current and future ABAQUS products and technology and learn about complementary partner solutions.

WelcomWorld 2006 Conference & Exhibition
May 24-26, 2006
Four Seasons Hotel, Houston, Texas 
Annual conference and exhibition for project and cost managers to share best practices and discuss new ideas, strategies and technologies for effective project and program management, including risk management, portfolio analysis and earned value management. To register, e-mail

For Cadalyst's full calendar of events, click here>>