Alright, here we are at the annual Bricsys developer network. I'll be live blogging here for the next two days.We're starting off here in Amsterdam with the keynote of the head of Bricsys, Erik de Keyser. He is talking in general terms about where the company was for the last ten years, and some of the future plans.
Also new is the logo. It is a stylized lowercase b.
[Credit to Deelip Menezes for capturing the image from the slide show.]
He says, The binding factor is .dwg, and we connect through a famiiar GUI. But we see different ways to reach those goals and see different opportunities.
- 2D for everyday
- 3D for specialization
- Expansion to mechanical, AEC, GIS, and others
What's New APIs
Now we're getting an overview of what is new in the APIs [application programming interfaces], especially BRX and LISP. BRX now needs Visual Studio 2010, so your old apps will have to be recompiled for Bricscad V13. They have begun to add multi-threading, first for loading files and drawing regenerations. A 64-bit version of Bricscad is forthcoming.
As for LISP, the engine now runs OpenLISP, a LISP Optimizer speeds up code by 20-200percent, and reduces memory use. A LISP Profiler has been added for finding bugs. The aim is to continue supporting LISP for at least 20 years, maintaining compatibility with AutoLISP yet adding much more functionality.
Future plans for BRX include custom entities and commands, more multi-threading, complete work on B-reps, improve Boolean operations, and create a unified SDK for all platforms, as well as 32- and 64-bit versions.
Bricsys is boasting 700 third-party apps, of which only 200 are published in their online catalog. The other 500 are private ones, used internally.
We're now getting a series of presentations of some third-party apps that work with Bricscad, such as AutoTrack for checking the turn radii of trucks, street cars, jet aircraft, and hospital trollies. Their software must be used for projects in England that involve vehicles.
Rosberg Prodok's services design for process and instrumentation, and they use Bricscad as their CAD kernel to connect information from the database to the drawing. They admit their drawings are simple line diagrams, but contain a lot of data. The important point is that they maintain a bi-directional link between Bricsys and the database. More so, they find they can scale Bricscad from local computers, to networks, to worldwide servers.
The speaker from Rosberg notes that a limitation of AutoCAD is that the 32-bit version can only be installed on 32-bit Windows, so they switched to Bricscad, because it runs on 32- and 64-bit Windows. Also, they found it easy to speak with Bricscad about getting special licensing. Prodok V10 will work only with Bricscad, no more AutoCAD version.
Time for coffee break. Or, as Roopinder Tara pointed out, Kafe break, because Coffee in Amsterdam means mary-jane.
During the break, I met Guy Vanollie, the new CMO -- chief marketing managerr -- for Bricsys. He's been with the company a couple of months, but has already made his impact by rebranding the company -- new logo, new shade of blue as the company color, and new narrow sans serif font as the company typeface.
Yes, we are in Amsterdam now. Most bikes are cheap, old, one-speed models, which owners don't bother locking up. If it is stolen, no big deal. Here is the view outside of Amsterdam's main train station, Amsterdam Centraal.
After the kafe break, we hear from two more third-party developers: LEDAS from Russia and their outsourced programming services; and ARD advanced road design from Australia. ARD likes Bricscad because it is fast, has a low cost, and has a good implementation of the .Net API. He finds that civil engineers are very conservative, and tend to keep the software they've always used.
Bricscad Changes Skin
Mr de Keyser is back to talk about... not a new UI for Bricscad V13, but about the new corporate look of his company. He repeat that they began with TriForma in 1996 for Microstation, since bought by Bentley. This is to emphasize their roots in 3D BIM.
He notes that the boundaries among mechanical, architectural, and civil engineering become defuse as buildings require all these design disciplines. This is an introduction that Bricscad offers powerful 3D and powerful 2D for detailing -- albeit he admits his CAD program could use more automation when it comes to 2D detailing. Also, the importance of data extraction.
Although mention of Autodesk/AutoCAD was banned from last year's conference, the ban is lifted this year.
Lunch is Over
Back to third-party developers talking about their experiences. Vidcad of USA started with Generic CADD, then moved to AutoCAD, and then AutoCAD OEM. Their software designs video systems for the broadcast engineers. But when Autodesk doubled to cost of OEM, they looked for an alternative, and the head of the company picked Bricscad. They allowed 4-6 months for the port, but it took just 90 days. Half of the time was spent working on a workaround to AutoCAD's sheetsets, the other half to fix workarounds their programmers had added to fix bugs in AutoCAD's implementation of dot.Net.
The rollout of the Bricscad-based version occurred during the worldwide recession, and so the lower package price helped sales along. By later this year, they plan to eliminate AutoCAD OEM altogether.
Up next is Lightworks from England. Last year, they talked about their plans to create a version of their Artisan rendering software for Bricscad. They spent the last six months writing a version for Bricscad, and now they can show it off.
This is the first tme they wrote a third-party app for a CAD program; there is no need to transfer or export the drawing file, just click a button on the toolbar. By reading layers, Artisan tries to make a first guess at what things are. It comes with 700 materials.
The New Vondle
The afternoon break is over; the conference facilities staff found a source for hotter water, and so I am pleased to report the tea was drinkable, finally.
Erik de Keyser is back on stage, talking about PLM from the Big Four, Dassault, Siemens PLM, PTC, and Autodesk.
He thinks that every design firm will eventually need to implement some sort of cloud-based product design system. Flexible, user friendly, integrated into mobile, and affordable. It was called Vondle, now called Chapoo+ -- same announcement as a year ago, but this year the logo has been updated to match the new corporate look. Randall Newton looked up Chapoo and found it was the name off a battle between British and Chinese forces in Chapoo, China. Here at the conference it is pronounced 'shapoo-plus'.
Chapoo is split off as a separate company, which allows them to address products other than Bricscad, such as Revit. And not limited to CAD, but the emphasis today is on CAD.
Now we are getting a demo of Chapoo for project management. One of the new features is automatic calculated fields, where data is calculated, such as for the proportions of steel, plastic, and rubber in a car part -- which are updated automatically.
Large parts of Chapoo have been rewritten to be more responsive, as it runs in modern Web browsers. Also, more parts work wtih drag and drop.
Up soon... Me! Talking about "running CAD on small screens," a topic my wife thinks sounds funny to her. During breaks, some people have come up to me, saying they want to get a photo of me holding an iPhone 5. heh! Devil spawn.
The last speaker of the day provides Bricsys training. He starts off saying that in 22 years, his company will be 25 years old.
And 1,131 words later, that's all for today, folks. We'll be back tomorrow morning, with the highlight being the unveiling of Bricscad V13, which is already in beta.
[Disclosure: Bricsys provided me with hotel accomodation, some meals, and some travel assistance.]