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May 27, 2010

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Crying Shame

Oh, how ennoble of Spatial to drop JT support to ‘save’ its customers from doom! Their reason for not supporting JT? They claim they cannot achieve their vaunted goal of ‘producing high quality manufacturable ACIS models’ with the *closed* format that JT is or has become. Bad, bad Siemens.

But wait. This is odd. Spatial seems to have no trouble producing ‘high quality manufacturable ACIS models’ from Inventor files, the data format of which has not been published by Autodesk, or Pro/ENGINEER files, the data format of which is both encrypted and unpublished by PTC? They even have supported the undocumented, unpublished, native UG-NX format, also from bad, bad Siemens. So this self-serving, ludicrous claim can’t be the real reason for them to drop support for JT in 3DInterop, can it?

Could it be that JT simply is gaining ground in the wider PLM/PDM space as the format of choice for many enterprises for visualization and non-CAD tasks? One can see Spatial’s unenviable position of supporting a competitor’s growing (and popular) data format in the component software it sells, while the parent (Dassault) is mulling ways to kill JT’s momentum in this very important market. Make no mistake – Spatial is there to serve Dassault’s needs first, before other customers of its component software. It doesn’t help that JT-based growth is always linked to TeamCenter growth, which is the bigger problem for Dassault in the long run.

You see, Spatial has no other option but keep a straight face and peddle this party line to anyone willing to listen.

In Spatial’s (and Dassault’s defense) however, Siemens, for its part, continues to pay lip-service to JT ‘open-ness’, while continually suppressing information about the JT format and simultaneously & shamelessly touting it as an ‘open’ standard. The audacity & duplicity in all this makes today’s political skullduggery almost lame in comparison.

Josef Meier
Debankan Chattopadhyay

As an independent provider of development libraries to ISVs worldwide for many data formats including the leading CAD systems and also JT, we consistently are faced with challenging situations when it comes to supporting undocumented and unpublished formats. We are aware of the difficulties Spatial would have faced in trying to support the JT format, based on publicly available information from Siemens on this data format. With our background in interoperability, we can confirm that such information, while useful and accurate, is not completely sufficient for an independent developer to develop tools to support this data format.

However, we do not find these challenges to be insurmountable, evidenced by the fact that we have released libraries that support the JT data format through its various updates and releases.

It is fair to say, however, that the effort to support the latest versions of JT format is neither straightforward nor easy as we expect it to be for a standard often mentioned as ‘open’.

We believe it is our tools and processes and our longevity as providers of this technology (over 20 years) that we have been crucial in being able to consistently support new data formats.

Debankan Chattopadhyay
Manager - ISV Accounts
CCE

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