"CAD as we know it can be like UNIX (I like it, but few people understand it)... but its future is in its cross-functional applications. Just like UNIX, where multi-vendor systems can be interconnected, by a company using the .DWG format drawings -- the sharing of digital data is made possible.
"CorelDraw and Visio can make pretty pictures but if I've got to EPS-out (can you say DXFOUT?) every time I want to share files, then what???
"CAD has a future. The question is... do the "CAD users" know it? Or, will they be displaced by graphic artists who can draw pretty pictures?
"Or, will they champion their strength as cross-functional communicators developing data in a sharable file format?
-- Curtis V Palmer palmecp@mhs-Olympics.ATTmail.com
"With terminals that are easier to setup and maintain than light fixtures, MIS departments can be unleashed to focus on value-added tasks, such as creating and deploying new business solutions. The Java terminal may be the missing link needed for client/server computing and data warehousing to become commonplace.
"I'm not saying that Java-Internet terminals (or equivalent) will replace all existing computing devices. Indeed, it's only a part of the puzzle and needs many other parts to be useful.
"There will always be a need for workstations, mobile computers and so forth for specific business functions. So Java terminal will supplement, not replace, much of today's equipment.
"My conclusion is that the Java terminal idea neatly addresses a very real problem and should be taken seriously."
-- Jason Osgood email@example.com
Exactly correct. The independence of personal computers is still available for those who want it; the interdependence of Java terminals is a solution to the compatibility problems created by IBM's introduction of the PC.
"As far as SVF goes, you're not far from the mark. Back when browsers could only view GIF and JPG [hard to believe that was just a few months ago -- Ed.], a standard inline vector format was very important. Now that browsers can be customized to display any format, a standard isn't as important.
"However, SVF will still have its uses. It's smaller and faster than DWG or DXF (about 20% the size for a typical drawing). It effectively encrypts the drawing so you aren't giving away to the whole world your symbols, fonts, etc., yet it still contains useful layer information and hyperlinks.
"But, yes, we will have a DWG/DXF plug-in for Netscape (as well as an SVF plug-in). We will be making a simple viewer available free for educational and non- commercial use -- $50 for commercial use. It will be able to zoom and pan as well as toggle layers."
-- firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Sherman)
"Of late, I have had the opportunity to use 3D/EYE. To say the least, I am enamoured! 3D/EYE takes ease-of-use in 3D to a new level. Autodesk is in catch-up mode to provide an intuitive 3D interface anything close to 3D/EYE. What particularly leaves me in awe is the 3D, solid-shaded model that stays shaded when rotated. No more wireframe model!
"Wake up Autodesk! For high-end CAD programs (PRO-Engineer, IDEAS from SDRC) to achieve this type of 3D real time rotation on a PC would require a $3,000.00+ graphics board (4MB VRAM) with at least 64MB system memory. With 3D/EYE, I am able to achieve real-time shading with model rotation on a laptop Pentium 75 with 24MB RAM and a 'weeny' 1MB VESA video card (not even a PCI video bus).
"How does Trispectives do it? And more importantly why does AutoCAD (with a $3,500.00 price tag) not do real-time shading and rotation in 3D?!?! Oh well, the competition is good news for CAD users. So try out the CD and take a look at the latest in powerful 3D solid modelling. I am sure you will be impressed with 3D/EYE! Then take a hard look at your AutoCAD..."
--Frank Zander email@example.com
"Just a note to show some final speed tests on the shipping version of Visual CADD 2.0 for Windows 95 versus Generic CADD v6.1.5 for DOS. All of the debugger code is removed from VCADD and the speed has increased. The test was run by Carl on his P90 notebook with 24MB RAM. The test times the Zoom All and the Redraw time for the following entities:
-- firstname.lastname@example.org (John Brock)
+ "Microsoft Takes Its First Step Toward CAD" -- our cover story.
If VRML (virtual reality modeling language) is thought of as the future of CAD, then Microsoft has taken its first step with its December announcement of ActiveVRML. Read about Microsoft's proposal for the VRML v2 spec and the VRML community's reaction.
+ "VRML At The Crossroads" by Mark Pesce email@example.com
One of the main forces behind the VRML-by-consensus process, Mark Pesce suggests a plan of action to let democracy determine the VRML v2 specification. He asks: "Because of our work, and our success, everyone wants a piece of the pie. How can we effectively grow VRML into a future which is neither dominated by corporate titans nor unworkably chaotic?"
+ "The Virtual Corporation's New Franchise Fee" by Ralph Grabowski firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning 2 January, 1996, Autodesk requires all its registered third-party developers become part of a fee-based Autodesk Developer Network. We conduct an extensive, exclusive interview with Autodesk’s developer marketing manager Jim Quanci. We also have reaction from a dozen third-party developers to Autodesk's unilateral move.
+ "December's Flurry of VRML Browser Announcements"
While the "official" listing of VRML browsers is at www.sdsc.edu/SDSC/Partners/vrml/software/browsers.html, even this list is not up-to-date. We have announcements for 14 VRML-related products made during December that we managed to catch. Is VRML hot or what?!
+* "Understanding the MicroStation DGN Format" by Warren Newhauser email@example.com
Part 1 of a new series on Open File Formats begins with an examination of the structure of IGDS, the file format used by #2 PC CAD package, MicroStation 95 from Bentley Systems.
+ "Types of Businesses" by Jake Richter firstname.lastname@example.org
The Garage Entrepreneur continues his long-running column by looking at all the different ways an individual developer can formalize his business.
+ "Don't Read These Books!" by Ralph Grabowski
We spent part of our Christmas reading two books you should avoid buying. If you must, borrow Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway and The Road Ahead: Bill Gates from the library or (as we did) from a friend. In the January CAD++VRML, we tell you why these books aren't worth the paper they're printed on.
Hyperlink to the previous issue of Upfront: Upfront #16 | Upfront #17 | Upfront #18 is the next issue of Upfront.Return home to WorldCAD Access