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Mac users clamoring for SolidWorks may finally have an answer in OnShape

New OnShape MCAD and product design and engineering solutions aim to rival leading SolidWorks and get this—they are created by the original SolidWorks team!

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For years and years there have been many readers at Architosh clamoring for a native OS X version of the industry leading SolidWorks, an industrial strength mechanical CAD application used worldwide by many of the leading industrial corporations. In 2008 there was a strong rumor that Mac users were going to get their wish but SolidWorks Corporation contacted Architosh directly to say the rumor wasn’t true.

MORE: SolidWorks Corporation denies existence of Mac OS X version—says hearsay wrong

In what may be a stark contrast to the present feeling in today’s platform wars, Fielder Hiss of SolidWorks said emphatically, “No. The majority of our SolidWorks customers are not interested in a Mac OS X version, only a small minority of our users are asking for that.”

Original SolidWorks Developers Team to Create New OnShape Venture

Now the original team behind the leading MCAD application (SolidWorks) have teamed up to create a new venture called OnShape—stating on their website:

“Founded by the original SolidWorks team plus elite engineers from the data center, security, and mobile industries, OnShape is applying cloud, web and mobile technologies to CAD.”

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based OnShape, has an executive team that features not one but two ex-CEOs of SolidWorks Corporation (also a Massachusetts company) and many of its other executives and key engineers are SolidWorks alums. Also on the executive team is Harvard University’s CFO Dan Shore, who will leave his post at nation’s most famous Ivy League college for the CFO post at OnShape.

01 - This screen grab shows what welcomes visitors to the OnShape website for gaining early access to the new technology.

01 – This screen grab shows what welcomes visitors to the OnShape website for gaining early access to the new technology.

At the present moment the details of the offerings of OnShape are slim. But the company has an open early access program designed around allowing a limited number of real design teams to access and use OnShape for a real design project. Early OnShape users will gain OnShape credits applied towards a production release, plus technical support and the opportunity to help steer the OnShape development.

Given that the whole company’s purpose is to reflect the way today’s engineers and industrial designers work around the world in distributed teams and that the focus is on the cloud, web and mobile, we are confident that the software solutions OnShape is producing are designed to work through modern web browsers like Chrome—on any platform. And that may be just the news Mac-loving SolidWorks users have been waiting to hear.

Architosh Analysis

What we imagine is behind OnShape is the fundamental technology known as WebGL, which makes in essence OpenGL calls from Javascript language calls. This type of technology approach has been discussed at length here on Architosh in our recent Autodesk and OTOY features. Of course this is a best guess but it is a logical one. From the information on staff and team members we also know that OnShape has an Apple iOS application or series of applications in the works. We definitely believe that in today’s market no company starting from scratch on a product aimed at delivering that product through the modern browser would utilize technologies that would limit its addressable market based on old platform paradigms. In other words, OnShape will likely run on Windows, Mac, Linux, and the leading mobile platforms.

Editors Note: We will push to learn as much as we can about OnShape’s offerings as details come available in the weeks ahead.