Freeing the DWG
Dassault’s DraftSight app offers no-cost 2D CAD reading, writing.
To attract designers who regularly deal with DWG files— and potentially erode Autodesk’s command of the 2D CAD market—Dassault Systèmes released yesterday DraftSight, an openly available, “professional grade” 2D viewing and authoring application.
While similar in functionality to other AutoCAD clones and the company’s own Solidworks 2D Editor application, DraftSight is built on Germany-based Graebert GmbH’s ARES platform and isn’t confined to DS customers use only. The application features the standard 2D drawing tools, layer management, line style and other tool sets, but also includes command line input as well as more sophisticated right-click context and mouse-gesture inputs (listing of program capabilities).
According to the application’s support documentation, DraftSight leverages the Open Design Alliance’s (ODA) DWGdirect SDK to open DWG files back to version 2.5 and save to DWG versions R12 to R2007 – 2010. The application can also read and save .dxf (binary and ASCII) files, template files (.dwt) and menu files (.cui, .mnu, .mns). DraftSight also outputs .wmf, .jpeg, .pdf, .png, .tif, .sat and .stl files.
Currently, the beta version works on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, but Dassault says Apple OSX and Linux support be coming later this year. While in beta, users are encouraged to participate in its development through the draftsight.com website. According to DS, the final release will support LISP, C++, COM and .NET APIs for a fee. Free to use, the application does require an initial e-mail activation process when users first try to print or save and will require re-registration annually.