Day 1 of the Bricsys International Conference is devoted to third-party developers. We began with Bricsys staff telling us about what to expect in APIs, and now 11 third-party developers are spending the rest of the day describing the add-on software they wrote to work with Bricsys. Here's the line-up. (I'll be adding comments to each throughout the day, so press F5 for updates.)
PIT (software solutions for buildings and facility management). They asked their users if they would prefer the ribbon interface (as found in Word and AutoCAD), and not one of them wanted the ribbon. So, it is good that BricsCAD sticks with toolbars and menus.
"Who here likes *VARIABLE*? I hate *VARIABLE*," the presenter asks. When you select more than one objects, the Properties palette reports 'variable' for properties that are different. PIT solved the problem with a tooltip that reports the minimum and maximum values, the average, and the summation -- useful for things like room areas.
Redway (rendering technology used by BricsCAD). The company is announcing for the first time to anyone their plans for cloud rendering, allowing renderings from "any" device "any" where. [First mention of the cloud; hopefully the last.]
Redway showed something impressive: a turbine sliced with a quarter-view slice. The slice is transparent, the other three-quarters opaque -- with all the turbine parts moving.
Ceo of Redway at #bic13
Fian Systems (for sales, design and machining CNC stairs). A developer who first wrote for AutoCAD, and now uses BricsCAD as of 2011: they recommend BricsCAD for all customers due to (1) quality of geometric computions, (2) quality support from Bricsys, and (3) better price.
While stair design sounds mundane, this company's software is remarkably complete in handling any kind of stair design, even ones with -- say -- marble curved balusters. If the customer does not have CAM, then Fian has an up-to-5-axis CAM module.
They have 300 customers (150 using CAM), who produce some pretty unique looking stairs!
Fian Systems designing stairwell parametrically, multi-lingually
Open Design Alliance (APIs for reading, editing, and writing DWG files independently of Autodesk). ODA enjoyed 6% growth this year, with 60% of revenue spent on R&D. Neil Peterson is giving the talk, as Arnold van der Weide is transitioning him to take over as president next year -- subject to board approval.
ODA has launched SIGs (special interest groups), like support for civil special objects. Teigha for the cloud processes data, and then sends the results to a browser. He showed a Java-based applet running in Chrome that displays DWG files.
JetCAM (2D computer-aided manufacturing software). Tomorrow we will see the new sheet metal add-on from Bricsys but today we get to see the CAM possibilities. Design the part in BricsCAD, flatten to 2D, and then export to JetCAM for applying cutting information, nesting, and generating the NC code to drive the machine.
[I wonder how long until CAM is integrated into Bricsys? Even Solid Edge only got it this year.]
Getting the JetCAM presentation ready
And we're back...
DVS System Software (packaging software). The add-on software we are seeing this year is much more mature. This company, for instance, uses BricsCAD for designing cardboard and other boxes for packaging. Naturally, it does other functions, like calculating the weight of the box, viewing the box in 3D with labelling, export to 3D PDF, and generating price sheets.
"With a good box, you can sell anything. To do this, you need a special box, a pretty box. For this, we use a CAD system; now, we use BricsCAD." In 1981, they designed their own CAD system on Apple, but in 1985 they switched to PCs but decided to apply their packaging knowhow to AutoCAD by programming in AutoLISP. But the price of AutoCAD was a problem (too high), and so eventually looked at BricsCAD -- most importantly, on which their existing LISP functions could be resued.
Geo-Plus (geomatic software). From the country of Quebec, they deliver DWG and DGN files to customers generated from a database using SQL or Access, because drawing files are too limiting. They have ported three of their Vision apps (out of eight) from AutoCAD to BricsCAD, and only support the latest release, such as V14 as of next January.
CAD Systems (structural steel design software). These guys are finding that Autodesk is buying up their competitors, such as Robot and Graitec. For the last four months they have been porting their structural steel design from AutoCAD to BricsCAD. They told me during the lunch break that the work has gone surprisingly fast, except for waiting for Bricsys to add more API calls that they need. (Yup, Bricsys writes code as developers need it.) Plus, they have no competitors in the BricsCAD market.
There are hundreds of variations on how steel can be documented, and the usual solution (provides hundreds of options) is undesireable, because they tend to be hidden. So CAD Systems is developing a "learn by example" machine learning system, where the software tracks what the user does and turns it into a standard.
The designs are parametric, so move a grid line to move an entire row of columns. Clash detection shows problems in yellow. Generate arrangement drawings from the 3D model. They hope to ship next year, depending how how fast Bricsys can get them new API calls. They hope to expand their machine learning to other sectors, like AEC, and expand to other countries beyond BeNeLux.
Transoft Solutions (vehicle turning radius software). They are also porting their AutoCAD-based software to BricsCAD. The software is neededis because trucks (especially with trailors) damage signs and buidings by turning too tightly. The company has 20,000 users, including Ikea. (Their competitor was bought by Autodesk a few weeks ago.)
Determining if an articulated bus can manoeuver through city streets