Running IntelliCAD on the Web
Getting Started With IntelliCAD as a Web-based Application Not Exactly 1-2-3
reprinted by permission of Ralph Grabowski
After writing up last week's news item about IntelliCAD 2000 being available as an ASP product, I thought I'd try it out. According to the www.web4engineers.com Web site, "Web4 has developed a proprietary process that translates any Windows-based desktop software application for use as-is over the Internet. The user-interface of the application looks and functions exactly the same as the desktop version, thereby eliminating any learning curve." (Curiously, the Web site displays a blank page with the Opera Web browser I normally use, so I had to switch to another brand.)
First, I registered, after which Web4 emailed me the password. After logging in, I was told to click on "My Web4engineers." I found there are three licenses of IntelliCAD available:
- A free version that lasts three days -- precisely, to the nearest minute -- after I click the "Buy" button. (Don't sign up for your free trial on a Thursday or Friday, because it'll be gone by Monday morning!) I also got 10MB free of online storage in which to store drawings.
- A 1-month not-free version, which costs US$30 per month.
- And a 24-hour version that costs US$8. The fees are described as introductory offers, which means I expect the price to increase.
After "buying" the free version, it was hard to find where on the page to access IntelliCAD; I discovered finally I needed to click the rather small ICAD logo. I still wasn't able to run ICAD because the Web browser displayed a mysterious "ICA link launched" message.
I emailed tech support, and the next day received the reply that there might be a problem with the Citrix client software on my computer. Tech support and I tried a few things, but nothing helped. (Note that Web4 uses the same client-server technology that Autodesk used for its test ASP version of Actrix.)
I switched to my notebook computer, downloaded the Citrix client, and had ICAD running. As promised by Web4, the online version of IntelliCAD 2000 looks just like the desktop version. Accessing menus and entering commands felt fast over my DSL connection. The online version of ICAD defaults to opening and saving files on H: drive, which is Web4's online storage space.
So, running IntelliCAD online works, but will it be popular? It's one thing to review drawings online; it's another to create and edit drawings online. One I can see a need for; the other is kinda dubious in my mind. Web4 says they have over 200 people using the ICAD app.