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AutoDesSys Inc. and Engineered Software Joining Forces on Next-Gen PowerCADD

PowerCADD gets a future with new partner AutoDesSys the developer of 3D software stalwart and innovator formZ.

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Recently, Architosh learned that US-based Engineered Software, the developers of PowerCADD, were shutting down the development of the much-beloved Mac-only performance and graphics-oriented 2D CAD software. Now Todd Stanley of Engineered Software has sent a message to PowerCADD users worldwide that PowerCADD’s future has turned an exciting direction. Instead of not having a future, PowerCADD will live on with the help of formZ developer AutoDesSys, Inc.

Joining Forces

Alfred P. Scott—who recently penned an article on Architosh about the passing of influential Boston-area architect, educator, mentor, and longtime PowerCADD user, Phil Loheed, AIA, NCARB—wrote in to share the news of AutoDesSys joining forces with Engineered Software. He has shared the entire email, which we will quote below:

PowerCADD and formZ join forces.

Todd Stanley of Engineered Software writes:

In June I delivered sad news that development was ending with PowerCADD. Today, I have some exciting news about PowerCADD’s future. Engineered Software and AutoDesSys, Inc, (the maker of the form•Z 3D design modeler) are joining forces to develop the next generation of PowerCADD. 

This partnership brings additional development, technical support resources and expertise, and a 3D connection to the PowerCADD product line and will add powerful 2D drawing capabilities to the form•Z product line. We share a vision of a drawing tool with classic PowerCADD capabilities using a modern approach that will take it well into the future. 

In this partnership I will be focusing on development, returning to a role I have cherished since the early days of PowerCADD. Work on this exciting new PowerCADD is already underway. Please bear with us through this process. We look forward to sharing details along the way and we  hope to launch the new PowerCADD by the end of next summer.

We will be announcing more details on the partnership in the coming weeks and operational details regarding sales and technical support. 

An interesting note above is the comment that “work on this exciting development is underway.”  This will certainly be a welcome sigh of relief for countless PowerCADD users who heard this news not too long ago.

It is with heavy hearts and much sadness that Engineered Software’s announcement of PowerCADD’s future must be made.

Those were Todd Stanley’s opening words back in June on the PowerCADD forums at Engineered Software. It appeared that Apple’s operating system changes had gotten the best of them and the required efforts to catch up were simply no longer feasible.

With AutoDesSys Inc. now coming to the rescue this latest announcement reverses the course for the future of PowerCADD.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

We have been tardy in announcing the original storyline about PowerCADD but it is turning out that we can get a chance to write a happy story. That story still needs a deeper journalistic look-see to get at the what-about and goings-on of what is really involved. Certainly, PowerCADD and AutoDesSys will likely make a more detailed announcement in the near future as Todd Stanley notes in his message above. 

Given what we know from what everyone could read here, AutoDesSys must be taking some stake in ownership in Engineered Software. It is just a guess at this moment. If the total rewrite of PowerCADD and the challenges that come with that were the big issues, AutoDesSys will surely be the source of technical knowledge, know-how, and maybe manpower to get PowerCADD’s source code to where it needs to be. And where is that? 

Apple wants its Mac developers on its development IDE, Xcode working in Swift, and SwiftUI. But that is only part of the challenge in creating a modern platform for PowerCADD. Going off of OpenGL and moving to Apple Metal is also a critical affair. And as far as formZ is concerned, it too is making its migration—as most Mac 3D/CAD applications are—over to Apple’s modern code requirements. Such a process is big work and it can come with critical dependencies. 

Back to a more positive light, the idea of future PowerCADD and future formZ applications having connectivity and integrations sounds interesting. PowerCADD is famous for several reasons, including being quite popular over the years despite being only developed for the Mac platform. Back in the days of Barry Isakson’s “Day in the Life of an Architect” seminar series at Apple locations around the United States, Isakson gave high praise to PowerCADD’s overall capabilities, citing its graphics orientation and in particular its speed. 

Over at FormZ’s forums, they enthusiastically offer a warm hand to PowerCADD users. The implications are fairly clear. FormZ technology will benefit from PowerCADD’s robust 2D CAD drawing code base, and PowerCADD users will gain a bigger and true 3D sibling. The moderator at FormZ says, “Work has already begun on a new modern PowerCADD. We look forward to sharing details along the way and expect to introduce these exciting new 2D capabilities by the end of next summer.” 

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