MCAD Tech News (#243)

18 Jun, 2008

Event Report: PTC/User World 2008

New data management software — and an airplane — take flight at conference.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photoI attended the PTC/USER World Event 2008 early this month in Long Beach, California. I don't usually cover PTC extensively, so this was an opportunity for me to get to get better acquainted with the company, its products, and what's happening there.

I was invited to this user conference as a member of the press and analyst community, so much of the information that I was presented had more to do with the business side of PTC and not so much the technological side of the software. I also found many of the general sessions to be more sales oriented than user oriented — unusual for an event of this nature, but nonetheless informative. The company did announce a couple of new data management products during the event and made presentations related to its CoCreate acquisition.

Jim Heppelmann, PTC executive vice-president, software products, and chief product officer, said it is the 30,000 Pro/E maintenance customers who drive the company, so it was ironic that Pro/ENGINEER received relatively little attention. Looking ahead to the future, Heppelmann did say that Pro/ENGINNER Wildfire 6 (two releases away) would have direct modeling and editing capabilities and would be PTC's answer to the new Synchronous Technology announced recently by Siemens PLM Software and now integrated in NX and Solid Edge. I also have the feeling that Pro/E will borrow some aspects of CoCreate's explicit modeling (non-history-based, no features, geometry-only) approach, as well. Data management in and of itself is fine, but during the event there was little discussion of the creative process, and after all, the data to be managed has to come from somewhere.

Data Management Takes Center Stage
Although PTC did downplay MCAD somewhat, the company really emphasized the importance of data management and collaboration with the announcement of two products: Product View and Windchill ProductPoint.  Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


The Ribbon Man, Part 2

By Steve Johnson

Last week in part one of this series, Cadalyst contributing editor Steve Johnson spoke with Autodesk senior product designer Matt Stein about the process that led to the ribbon and other new user interface (UI) elements making their way into AutoCAD. In part two, Johnson asks some probing questions about AutoCAD's new interface and its future direction.

Steve Johnson (SJ): What does the ribbon give to AutoCAD users that they didn't already have?

Matt Stein (MS): There are two parts to this answer: Firstly, what the ribbon UI — the actual controls and form factor — give the user, and secondly what the philosophy behind the content populating the ribbon brings.

The Ribbon UI
One place to organize all of your commands and rich controls, the ribbon is meant to be the container for all of your commands and controls. The ribbon is a single unit comprising a robust hierarchy of tabs, panels, rows, and subpanels. Toolbars and menus both have a very limited, constrained approach to both the form factor of their contents as well as the overall layout. There are things we want to do in the future for the content in the ribbon that could not be done (easily) with toolbars. Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

24th Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC)
July 21-25, 2008
Charlotte-Concord, North Carolina
The CMSC is the only North American conference dedicated solely to users of portable, high-precision measurement technology used to inspect manufactured and assembled components on the factory floor. Read more »

European Manufacturing Strategies Summit
October 6-9, 2008
Dusseldorf, Germany
The European Manufacturing Strategies Summit begins with two exclusive tours, followed by a three-day summit, with keynote sessions, panel discussions, and vendor-led interactive workshops as well as pre-arranged, private one-to-one meetings. Read more »

LMS International Engineering Simulation Conference
October 8-9, 2008
Paris, France
This two-day conference will provide an opportunity for engineering executives, senior managers, and technical experts to share strategies and present application cases that illustrate how real-life simulation have helped them optimize their product development processes. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on