Grabert of Germany (aka: Graebert GmbH) has released the latest version of ARES Commander Edition 2014, a competitive 2D and 3D CAD product that is meant to compete directly with Autodesk’s dominant global standard AutoCAD. Grabert’s technology is used in Dassault’s DraftSight 2D CAD product which has become the second most popular 2D CAD product used worldwide with over 4.5 million downloads and registrations.
Grabert provides industry leading technology to other software technologies (e.g.: Dassault) as an OEM CAD provider, yet its own product, ARES Commander contains the complete technology stack in a multi-platform and cross-compatible 2D and 3D CAD tool that is based on the popular Autodesk DWG file standard.
New in ARES Commander Edition 2014
In this version ARES gets a new and modern look and feel with its user interface and on the Windows version it also gains the Microsoft-inspired Ribbon Interface option (for those who like it, as not all users do). There are three different user-interface options. For the Mac OS X platform the Ribbon interface is not an option because Mac users prefer Apple’s user interface standards, including the common “floating user interface elements” Mac users are familiar with on famous Apple and Adobe products.
ARES Commander Edition 2014 is available in 14 languages which can be activated at any time by restarting the application (this includes the help files). The solid modeling technology behind ARES is based on the latest Spatial ACIS modeling kernel.
A big new feature is the new Design Resources palette from which you can browse your computer or network for additional resources like layers, blocks, title blocks, sheets, etc, to drop drag into your current file. The new RichLine Editing features enable more powerful “smart” multi-line drawing and editing methods and include items such as new open, close, merged Tee or Cross and Corner Joint options to break or weld multi-line elements.
A powerful new feature in ARES Commander Edition 2014 is the Drawing Standards (.dws files) which are separate files that auto-associate with a CAD file. Standards can be defined for all elements in a CAD document and the tool can check a particular file against a standard and find all violations (e.g.: incorrect line weight). This is particularly useful for large companies with required standards compliance.
New is the ability to import PDF files and convert them to CAD files. This supplements the existing abilities to go out in PDF format. Also new are new Layer and Entity transparency, which can really aid organizational workflow when working with dozens or hundreds of layers by isolating particular groups and converting them to semi-transparent level. Entity transparency is useful in design presentation (e.g.; trees or people over an elevation). There is also new Layer Grouping and Filtering. It is possible to organize layers into groups and sub-groups and manage their visibility. And finally there is new Quick Grouping and Ungrouping via a right-click menu option when two or more entities are selected.
Mac Specific and Competition with AutoCAD
The folks at Grabert are well aware of the global demand for more Mac-native CAD applications and are versed in detail of what Autodesk has offered Mac-based professionals with its latest versions of AutoCAD for Mac. Taking direct aim at Autodesk’s shortcomings, Grabert offers in the new ARES Commander Edition 2014 a detailed list of features missing from AutoCAD for Mac. They include:
- Smart Select (aka: Quick Select in AutoCAD)
- Design Resources palette (aka: Design Center in AutoCAD)
- DWF underlays
- DGN underlays
- Drawing Standards (aka: CAD Standards Tools in AutoCAD)
- Hatch Creation Preview
- Table Styles
- Tool Matrix (aka: Tools Palettes in AutoCAD)
Grabert told Architosh that their commitment to the Mac platform is particularly strong with global interest and demand from particular sectors and customers rising. Cedric Desbordes of Grabert, a sales and marketing executive based in France, stated, “The Mac market is a long-term and strong priority for us. We have a dedicated [Mac] team and a policy to maintain the Mac version at the same level as the Windows version.” He continues, “one evidence of that is that the new features are all in the Mac version, excepting the PDF import.” The Microsoft Ribbon is not considered a feature for Mac users and hence is not included as a feature from the Windows version that Mac users would want.
Cost and Additional Notes
Grabert is well aware that its OEM based version DraftSight, which is put out by Dassault Systemes, is more renown in the United States in particular. But the company told Architosh in a conference call that Grabert wants to promote more strongly the ARES Commander Edition trademark and Grabert brand directly to end-users.
ARES Commander Edition 2014 is a complete professional alternative to Autodesk’s market dominant AutoCAD and utilizes the same DWG and DXF file format. The company develops ARES as both a technology show-case to vertical CAD developers–and the company has many in addition to Dassault–and as a complete 2D/3D CAD package for end users worldwide. By offering a tool that offers the functionalities of AutoCAD on Linux–something that Autodesk does not do–the product has unique market advantages. In this release, as we noted above, the company is being more aggressive and noting that features that Autodesk has not brought over from its Windows AutoCAD version to the their Mac version, can be found in ARES Commander Edition 2014.
ARES Commander Edition 2014 is 795 euro (795.USD for USA) for a perpetual license plus 199 euro (199.USD for USA) per year for maintenance. For 250 euro per year users can gain use and maintenance together but their license is not perpetual. The company notes that this is ten times less expensive than AutoCAD and yet ARES offers its users advanced 2D and 3D CAD, solids modeling, multiple language support, support for programming languages and service.
To learn more and see a video of the latest version in action visit here: http://www.graebert.com
Grabert contacted Architosh a few weeks ago to discuss with us this latest release. They are very proud of how this product is developing and proud of the ability to deliver nearly all new features across all their supporting platforms–something that many companies cannot do seem to do consistently. It should be noted in Autodesk’s defense that the reason the company is now releasing the Mac version of AutoCAD several months after the new releases on Windows is because they want to be more in sync with Apple’s development schedule. That is a valid reason to support “out-of-sync” platform offerings, however as a practice it can adversely affect large customers who have deployment across both Windows and Mac platforms.
Dassault’s DraftSight is considered the fastest growing CAD community in existence and is second only to AutoCAD (with more than 4.5 million downloads and growing) and Grabert made a special mention of this in our discussions. Part of the success there is the fact that DraftSight is essentially free but there is an Enterprise Pack that is sold for, we believe, 250.USD per year. As Grabert’s most successful OEM version of the ARES technologies, DraftSight is clearly a successful formula. However, Cedric Desbordes of Grabert in France noted that DraftSight is only 2D and for those companies that are in need of both 2D and 3D this is where ARES Commander Edition 2014 fits in well. We shall see how well the US market in particular responds to this latest version over the next 12 months.