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Autodesk Feature

Q&A: JT & DWF - Five Minutes with Autodesk

reprinted by permission of Ralph Grabowski, editor

February 23, 2005

         See Also

   JT Open Merging with DWF - Ralph Grabowski, upFront.eZine, February 15, 2005
   Autodesk feature articles - at CADdigest.com
   Autodesk Reading Room - at CADdigest.com
   Autodesk website
   TopTen AutoCAD 2004 Sites - at TenLinks

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 speculation.

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 remarks.

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.

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