Dassault Systemes Launches new 2D CAD free!

Dassault Systemes has announced that they are going to shake up the industry by public beta releasing a free community driven 2D CAD application called DraftSight.  Those of us who use AutoCAD or DWGEditor will find the interface familiar enough to use it without much trouble.  Future development will be driven by the community via the new DraftSight community at draftsight.com.  Dassualt Systemes plans to “leverage the community to build a better product”, according to Aaron Kelly.


As I used a private beta version last week, I did discover a number of bugs, so I will reserve my full review until I have a chance to try out the latest officially released version of DraftSight.  I will also talk about DraftSight’s place in the Dassault Systemes’ family of products and how this affects SolidWorks users.  Additionally, I will talk about how Dassualt Systemes plans to fund future development of DraftSight offered as free product.

SWW09: Tuesday General Session (Part 2: Talk about the future)

Jon Hirschtick gave a great presentation today.  As one of the five founders of SolidWorks Corp, he has a unique perspective on the software.  He also has an interesting view point.  He stated that even though SolidWorks has been around for a long time, most of the work for SolidWorks Corp still lies ahead of them.  He expressed confidence in Jeff Ray and the current management time by calling them “the best management team in the history of SolidWorks”.

Hirschtick then discussed some of the possible innovations that are yet to come for SolidWorks.  These technology trends include significant improvements to touch/motion user interface, online applications, inclusion of video gaming technology in 3D CAD applications, and 3D printing.

He mentioned that on the Partner Pavilion floor, there is already one example of Touch/Motion UI involves the use of hands as they are meant to be used.  There’s a prototype of a Microsoft Surface that has an application similar to SolidWorks operated by instruction via human touch and gestures.

Hirschtick then talked about Blueprint Now, which is an online CAD application developed by SolidWorks Labs.  This allows some 2D CAD work to be accomplished via the Internet.  If applied to 3D CAD, the advantage is that resources for CAD applications can be kept in huge server farms, suggesting that users need not require high end computers themselves.  Another advantage to this approach is that it requires no upgrades or installations.  Even another advantage was simplification of data management.  Because everything is online, data can be automatically organized in a vault-like storage system, eliminating current issues file management issues.  Though an online application for 3D CAD seems unlikely soon, Hirschtick suggested it will likely be developed.

Video gaming technology in terms of both hardware and software have exceded that of CAD in some areas.  Hirschtick talked about bringing some of that technology into use within SolidWorks.  He revealed that PhyX (physical simulation software) is already employed within SolidWorks.  He showed one example of Ambient Occlusionas a display option to give parts the look of realism within SolidWorks.

He briefly covered 3D printing before then introducing several companies using SolidWorks in the development of their products.  It turns out this was a segue of sorts.