Site Status: News about SolidWorks Legion

SolidWorks Legion logoIt’s been a long time since things have worked the way I want on SolidWorks Legion website.  This blog was started back in 2007 as a follow-on to my SolidWorks resource website.   SolidWorks Legion is now many times more popular than that original site.  When I first started this blog, I loaded it up with as many bells and whistles as I could find from WordPress.  The blog was loaded pretty heavy with plugins.  Despite using WordPress at its limits, SolidWorks Legion worked well enough for a long time, with a lot of cool features via the plugins.

This all came to a crashing halt when my article about Linux support for Draftsight went viral in March 2011.  With 10’s of thousands of hits in an extremely short period, SolidWorks Legion was literally slashdotted (a.k.a, hug of death) from Slashdot and other sites by very happy Linux fans wanting a free or cheap professional 2D CAD application.  SolidWorks Legion was up and down and up repeatedly for several days.  Up to that point, SolidWorks Legion was running about 400 unique hits a day.  Nothing has been the same since.  After the traffic settled back down, site traffic averaged 600 hits per day.

Unfortunately, that pushed the site up over the capacity allowed by my shared server.  I had to move SolidWorks Legion to what’s known as a Virtual Private Server.   Since traffic seemed to be steady, I didn’t mind paying the extra.  The problem is that SolidWorks Legion never really recovered from being slashdotted.  I had to scale back features, remove this and that elements, and tinker with settings just to get things to the point where I wasn’t constantly monitoring the site.

To add insult to injury, since that time, Google changed its search result algorithm to reduce the importance of blogs.  Over night, my unique hits dropped from an average of 600 to 200 per day.  It’s been a painful few years of website management.   On top of it all, I was hired on the Product Definition team by DS SolidWorks Corp later in 2011, so my available time for the site has been more constrained that ever.  This blog has been limping along for awhile now.  Each new release of WordPress seemed to slow things down even more, even with the use of site caching.

Well, I have some good news.  Thanks for a couple of friends (Dan Herzberg and Charles Culp) recently, I discovered new ways to get the website humming again (I hope).  First thing I was able to do it get notifications working again with  Using this site helps take pressure off my site by removing the need for various questionable social media publishing plugins.  SolidWorks Legion is now publishing automatically to Twitter (@swsuper), SolidWorks Legion page on Facebook, and several other outlets.  The one annoying hole has been Google+.   Jetpack WordPress plugin has solved this problem; and a whole lot more.  Jetpack brings a lot of functionality to self-hosted WordPress sites.  Much of this functionality was earlier only available via a myriad of poorly written plugins.  Jetpack appears to be a well constructed plugin that allows SolidWorks Legion to have all of its old bells and whistles again, plus a lot more (stuff I’ve wanted to add for a long time).  In addition, I’ve dropped caching, as that seemed to make things worse in the long run.

Let’s see how things go.  I’m hopeful that my old site is not just back to its old self, but better than ever!  Let me know what you think!  Has  SolidWorks Legion been better behaved over the past week?



Year of the Angle Dimension – Part 5 – Take a 180

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series SOLIDWORKS 2015 - Year of the Angle Dimension

What do you do when you need to create an angle dimension at 180 degrees? Maybe you need a 180 degree angle driving dimension between two sketch lines for sketch mechanisms. Maybe you just want to show the relationship between two parts of an assembly at a particularly point in their motion relative to each other, expressed as configurations. Or, maybe you just want to create a 180 degree angle, just because. Previously, you were blocked from creating such a dimension directly. In order to create a 180 degree dimension, you had to move some geometry (sketch line, components, features) slightly off 180 degrees, create your dimension, then edit whatever was necessary in order to restore the 180 degree angle.

SOLIDWORKS 2015 Smart Dimension tool now supports the creation 180 degree dimensions directly. No longer is it necessary to use the workaround. For sketches, the two lines that form the rays of the 180 degree angle must either share a vertex, or be separated where a vertex is inferred from their intersection.  Just start the Smart Dimesnion tool and select two colinear non-overlapping entities, and a 180 degree angle will be generated for you.