Q&A: JT & DWF - Five Minutes with Autodesk
reprinted by permission of Ralph Grabowski, editor
February 23, 2005
Interviewed by upFront.eZine, Autodesk's Carl Bass and Buzz
Kross explain that they've been working with UGS for months on
the JT/DWF cross-pollination.
Autodesk has some limited forms of PLM software, while UGS has
full-blown heavy-duty PLM (product lifecycle management). It
sounds to us like Autodesk approached UGS to find a way for its
customers to access UGS' PLM software. Autodesk thinks its
customers want to exchange more than just drawing data: the
future lies in massaging product data.
Working with JT is a part of Autodesk's big push into data
management and PLM. From Autodesk's viewpoint, XML-based formats
like DWF are ideal for that. Mr. Kross admits that DWF is less
rich than DWG when it comes to design data, but insists DWF is
superior for holding product data.
We ask, "Does this mean that JT and DWF will be the preferred
method of data exchange between Autodesk and UGS software?" Not
at all. Customers can use third-party products for direct
translation, or intermediate formats like IGES and STEP. JT and
DWF are "a better way," says Mr. Bass, because they have better
performance, are more compatible, and more open.
"So, what happens to the software and their file formats?" we
wonder. The next releases of the software, like Inventor, NX,
and Solid Edge, will import and export JT and DWF.
In addition, JT will absorb DWF, and DWF will absorb JT. Both
are compound packaged formats that can hold each other. Perhaps,
over time, they will merge into one, is our speculation.
Will there be a clash between Solid Edge and Inventor? Mr. Kross
thinks not. Mr. Bass chimes in that Inventor's primary
competitor is SolidWorks and to a lesser extent, Pro/Engineer.
We, however, remain unconvinced; perhaps one day there'll be a
technology transfer that results in Inventor/SE -- a
Why didn't Autodesk approach Dassault Systemes? Mr. Bass feels
his answer would be too rude to answer, so Mr. Kross offers to
reply: Because they're not open to openness. Autodesk, he says,
would approach Dassault if Dassault wanted to be approached.
They can't even exchange designs between SolidWorks and CATIA,
he scoffs. What about Dassault's 3DXML? The two are not
impressed, calling it "open proprietary."
"Look beyond CAD to see the value in this," were their closing
About the Author
Ralph Grabowski is
an editor at upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd. (previously known as
XYZ Publishing, Ltd.). Ralph is the author of 60 books and
several hundred articles for dozens magazines and newsletters
about CAD, graphics, and the Internet.