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PDF/E for CAD Documents

reprinted by permission of Ralph Grabowski, editor

March 2, 2004

        See Also

 ˇ Adobe website
ˇPDF articles and tutorials - by CADdigest.com
ˇAdobe Acrobat reviews - by CADdigest.com

An official committee was announced yesterday to promote PFD Engineering (PDF/E), the dialect of portable document format for engineering drawings. From the announcements by Bentley Systems, we knew Adobe was working with CAD vendors to make its PDF file format friendlier towards CAD drawings.

The job of the PDF/E Working Group is to "advance standards and best practices for the use of the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) in engineering workflows." Eventually, the group hopes to create an ISO standard by 2006.

Overseeing the project are two organizations we've never heard of before, AIIM and NPES. Their Web page <http://www.aiim.org/pdf_e> isn't working yet, but members include:

  • Adobe Systems - they own PDF
  • Agile - a PLM software company
  • Bentley Systems - a CAD vendor
  • Hewlett Packard - a plotter manufacturer
  • Océ - another plotter manufacturer
  • Intel - not sure what their role is
  • PTC - another CAD vendor
  • Layton Graphics - makes CAD-to-PDF conversion software
  • Dell - also not sure of their role
  • UGS PLM Solutions - a third CAD vendor
  • and unnamed "others"

The first planning meeting is next week, March 10 at the Javits Convention Center in New York, and is part of AIIM Standards Week 2004. Other companies are invited to take part <http://www.aiim.org/standards.asp>. Will Autodesk and SolidWorks show up? Perhaps not.

Autodesk didn't react directly, but during its conference call with financial analysts it beat its DWF (Design Web Format) drum pretty loudly: "Our viewing collaboration strategy continues to gain acceptance and momentum in the market. As the leader in digital design data, Autodesk is uniquely qualified to provide an open, secure file format to share engineering design data [DWF]."

So there you have it: Autodesk considers itself the only one ["uniquely"] qualified to do the job. Take that, Bentley. And PTC. And UGS PLM! But will DWF become an ISO standard before 2006?

Autodesk says there are 11,000 downloads daily of its free DWF Viewer, and it sees all those users as future customers of its $199 DWF Composer, when it finally becomes available.

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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