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architosh INSIDER 02 — Introduction

Our second INSIDER Report focuses on delivering the latest state of the art thinking about the present and future state of (.dwg).


WELCOME TO OUR SECOND ANNUAL architosh INSIDER Report. Last year in December we introduced our INSIDER Report series around a collection of features on GRAPHISOFT, deservingly focusing on that BIM company’s many innovations and award-winning customers doing some of the most remarkable work in the AEC industry.

With this year’s INSIDER Report, we have turned our attention to the state of the art of the (.dwg) CAD industry, with its many software companies, experts, and adherents.

What You Will Find Inside

The INSIDER brand is meant to signify our best CAD industry journalism and the reports we want our readers to focus on the most. Just as last year’s report may have awoken reader’s attention to facts, figures and technologies and solutions they had no idea existed, this year’s report reveals similar novelties and everything having to do with the main players behind (.dwg).

Table of Contents:

The Introduction listed on the report cover graphic is this article you are reading here.

01 – Isssue 02 of the new architosh INSIDER Reports series is focused on (.dwg) based CAD technologies but goes much deeper than (.dwg) alone.

In the 1980s Autodesk created a new CAD program called AutoCAD. It became a phenomenon and has dominated the CAD industry for nearly three decades. That CAD program’s native file format—and a proprietary one was known as the three letters, “DWG”— has become a de facto CAD data exchange format throughout the industry.

Naturally, Autodesk’s main rivals needed a way for their customers to access and export out to Autodesk’s very popular CAD platform. Enter the Open Design Alliance, often simply called the ODA. Constructed as a non-profit open industry consortium, the ODA quickly amassed most of the rest of the CAD industry into a powerful group. This group in the very late 1990s successfully reverse-engineered the AutoCAD file format (.dwg) and developed software development kits (SDKs) that third-party software developers could license in order to enable the reading and writing of (.dwg) format files.

The story of the ODA and its technology is better told by its present leader, Neil Petersen, president of the ODA, and we begin our second INSIDER Report with that story. The title of the article includes the word “Renaissance” in reference to (.dwg)-based CAD technology. Is the file format (and its main adherents) truly going through a type of renewal or rebirth? That’s the big question we hope to answer through this series of article features, listening to the words of the main players themselves.

We spoke to Autodesk, Bricsys, Corel, Graebert and the ODA either directly or through attendance in one of their industry or user conferences. This collection of articles constitutes the very latest knowledge and thinking about the present and future of (.dwg) technology. We hope you enjoy this INSIDER Report and we look forward to hearing from you. —- ANTHONY FRAUSTO-ROBLEDO, AIA, LEED AP, Editor-in-Chief.

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