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2011: What to expect: CAD Platforms

TRANSLATION NOTES: Please read some comments at the end of this post.

Hello my friends, holidays have left like firecrackers, nacatamales (*) and New Year hugs. It’s good to be back to this side of life in a year good for news. clip_image001

AutoCAD comes from 3 years of having given back to interface and is said that this could be a milestone year as they were also 2000, 20004, 2007 or 2010.

On other hand Bentley arrives to its second year of having gotten the ‘i’ (plus 3 Select) to version 8 that walks almost for ten years. So logically we assume that both are going on something in a year that can not appear unnoticed and the logical series says it’s time for big changes and it can no longer be four years and three years have already … become long.


It is likely that in the middle of May we will be witnessing the launch of AutoCAD 2012coined this year as Ironman-, based on the last two trends we have seen since 2008. For now we do not discern much, because the request lists go with more speed than usability and although you can already download AutoCAD 2012 free of charge for testing, it has been talked very little about that.

The first option is to insist on migrating software legacy based on command line and force us to use buttons anyway. This is good at drawing’s board side, because for this it must be compelled to apply usability labs, where every day it is looked for clip_image002a more intuitive operation, thinking in workflows and objects more than in planes linear drawing. Many of the latest novelties AutoDesk has done in 2010 and 2011 versions go in this direction although they still do not think on BIM modeling at simple vectors level. Beware that if they want to do it could suggest that 2013 will require another dwg version, not because it deals but because it is a fun practice tricking and getting advantage (**) to potential competitors.

We liked things as transparencies, forced constants (constraints), and options to hide objects without using express tools, however it would not be bad exists on it features that competitors do like independent dynamic views to get most out of working with multiple monitors. AutoCAD 2011 already showed you can streamline more speed; we hope AutoCAD 2012 will continue doing so, although it has been left for long rendering improvements (which in itself is obsolete for now).

The other trend we’ll see every day is exploiting Mac users’ niche. It must not be difficult nor do I believe they’ll thinking on leaving out of the market ArchiCAD once again which already had enough possession in Architects’ will. AutoDesk goes on a long-term trend, as they view what many have suggested, that white line company is the promise for the next 5 years before imminent fall of PC term as such. In my opinion AutoDesk will insist on working over iPad and avail of the arsenal which means Maya, Revit, Inventor and other specialized contexts as Civil3D that for this year we believe will come in apple version.

If they do, I swear I’ll buy an Air. -Ha, I would already like to

However, software with that positioning level, public presence in the stock market, fights more to lessen competition than for innovation (the investors’ obvious mood). Getting the most out of cows before it reaches a decline point. I have no doubt that a hairy team is locked in a basement thinking unimaginable things, and will surprise us with something more than the same commands on a more geek table with a known risk of being taken by gentiles in a business meeting.


It is a great year for Bentley, which can no longer continue its Select Series as more than 4 would be end of absent creativity (in name). What happens is that this company smokes; not being public but a family legacy gives them more freedom to redesign almost at will. So we might expect a name that exceeds V8 credibility, which emphasizes using it, even doing the same thing but with a vision beyond the vector.


In my opinion trends which Bentley will explode will be I-model. This means popularize Navigator and dgn, undoubtedly with great credibility, but the challenge is not easy if we consider that Bentley wants to stop being known by Microstation and introduce Project Wise and Asset Wise over its captive market. A good strategy would be to consolidate more interaction between the lines of plants, architecture, engineering and networks around standardization with a wonderful format that seems brought from another planet – but unknown by nearly all this planet-.

The incredible thing is that it will always be on the same v8 dgn.

I’ll be waiting to be surprised, because the difficulty of being an emporium that grew out of nowhere and the risk that grandchildren get little interested on their legacy can lead the idea of quote on the stock market or find a big buyer (if it exists with the same motivation). What is profitable is to develop applications on xfm for gadgets in niches where Microstation is positioning, because there are guarantees that will be compatible in long term. Even forgetting VBA, that like AutoCAD 2011 abandoned it, Bentley will end up leaving everything in .Net hands.

The others CAD

In other contexts there are other great brands; here, clip_image004there are the ones that stick out with more presence. Unlike the GIS and modeling, the Open Source has short positioning so as to have serious competition in at least read and edit dwg or dgn latest version. I think the two have a pact among themselves not to open space, a pity for the OS, but leaves us advantage of a more closely interoperability between them. So I don’t know if we could wait news from QCad, BRL-CAD and others that are so unknown out there that I can even remember other ones.

The one which has gone closest is IntelliCAD, although being paid software, has sought to gain ground to AutoCAD’s existing popularity. With the disadvantage that it takes more than being cheaper to make an impact, with only AutoDesk Ribbon since 2009 left them on the pavement, a strategy based on the same criteria battle popularity, autocracy, and with no doubt some simple malice.


We won’t hope warm water to be invented in a topic that is so linear (CAD, not applications). But it is worth to go back to talent of doing same things as if they were new, like when demountable graphite rods came, draft powder or electric draft, inventions which were not radical but changed our life because they facilitated what give us troubles (***).

The magic of having layers to avoid tracing each plane long ago ceased to captivate us, just stopped when xml gave life to lines. Certainly we have seen many changes in CAD that have made us mutated more than the position and Cad artist’s name.

For my side I hope that these friends will insist on facilitating things we do, not see Steve Jobs wants to take us making planes with the nails. His insistence on not wanting to make a pen for Ipad worries me.


(*) Nacatamales: It is a traditional Central American dish which accompanies breakfast or lunch. Like the Tamales is made with corn.

(**) Darle la vuelta: This jargon means: tricking and getting advantage of something so that you won the competitors’ initiative.


(***) Lo que daba lata: Something that gives us troubles.

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