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Understanding CadFaster the Tool
AFR: Part of the big magic in CadFaster is your proprietary 3D model format. How much smaller are 3D files under your format once they are exported from their native model file format? Are we talking an order of magnitude?
TH: Yes, typically files are only 5-20 percent of their original size. The compression rate depends on the complexity of the geometry. But we actually want to fade away the need to think about the file size.
AFR: What do you mean by that?
TH: Every model should run smoothly on mobile devices regardless of their file size in the native format. We are pretty close to this already. For MyCadbox we define the user quota as number of models rather than megabytes because users think in terms of models.
AFR: Is there still real opportunity to further decrease 3D model data to the point where it can easily be shared even over 3G networks with excellent results?
TH: Yes. We can do this with the combination of file compression, cloud optimizations and intelligent data transfer protocols. There remains a need to transfer model data to the mobile device. With the help of optimizations and local cache we can limit the bandwidth requirements to a minimum.
AFR: There is little to no latency between the host and guest users of CadFaster through the cloud. Can you describe to us technically what is going on between this multi-party communication? What protocol or protocols are being utilized over the Web?
TH: Our collaboration server pushes limited markup and viewing control datasets to all participants simultaneously. Basically, only information on changes is sent over the Internet to every participant. As we don’t stream visualization data during the collaboration session, the amount of data is extremely small. The protocols we use are standard Internet protocols.
AFR: When does your company plan to release a native version of CadFaster Viewer for the Mac desktop? With Apple’s growing market share and popularity with mobiles, in particular, I think many AEC professionals’ clients–and the professionals themselves–would benefit from this?
TH: We are already supporting Apple platforms with our two iPad apps, CadFaster and MyCadbox. We think the iPad is the most exciting platform for design collaboration at the moment. People need to make decisions while on the move. We think our competitive edge is in mobile collaboration. But it does not mean that Mac OS X is not in our roadmap. We do get many requests for that. But I cannot give you a timetable just yet. Hopefully within 2013.
AFR: What is the mono framework MRE for when installing the plugin for Vectorworks on the Mac?
TH: Mono framework is used to run Microsoft.NET applications cross-platform. In our case it is prerequisite for installing CadFaster | Collaborate for Vectorworks plugin on the Mac.
AFR: Can you share with me the technical relationship between CadFaster and Google OpenID system?
TH: We started using OpenID in login for security reasons. With OpenID we don’t store user passwords, Google stores the passwords and we just request user authentication from Google through OpenID. For MyCadbox we needed a more flexible sharing schema so we opted for MyCadbox’ own ID, which enables registration with any email address.
next page: Understanding CadFaster the Tool