On Design and Startups, Doug Powell, Distinguished Designer at IBM, & Albert Lee, New Enterprise Associates
Would You Be Fed Up With 19 CAD Crashes in a Day? by John McEleney
Onshape’s latest update features Advanced Search, a new function that lets users search not only Onshape Documents but any tab or property within a document. “Until now this level of search has only been available to CAD users through expensive PDM systems,” notes marketing vice president Darren Henry. In our view, this is a major directional advance that points to Onshape’s long-term vision and strategy to, over time, take more and more functionality that heretofore required an external PDM system, and embed those functions in the core Onshape environment.
Already, the ways in which Onshape lets multiple users work simultaneously on the same design eliminate many problems that established PDM and PLM providers have spent years “solving”—and, of course, at the same time perpetuating. As chairman Jon Hirschtick observed to us a year ago, “For starters we eliminate 50-60% of all the functions of traditional PDM—they simply have no role (copying files, managing directory structures, etc.) in our world.”
With those capabilities, and now with Advanced Search, says Hirschtick, “So many of our customers love getting the purported benefits of PDM—but in a way that does not slow them down either in implementing or using or being creative.”
For an in-depth look at how Onshape’s revolutionary new technology architecture makes all this possible, see our Cloud-native CAD will disrupt the PLM platform paradigm.
Full-cloud CAD pioneer Onshape’s most recent update introduces a new capability to edit parts within the context of assemblies. “This update is extremely significant,” remarked marketing director Darren Henry. “Yes, Onshape speeds up the design process by being full-cloud, but we’re also continuing to redefine how CAD is done.”
Designers want the ability to edit parts within the context of an assembly (top-down design) to ensure fit and function by defining relationships between components, Henry explains. “We believe that traditional approaches to top-down design have demoed well, but have not largely been successful when used in real-world design scenarios.” Continue reading
Celebrating Aussie Ingenuity in the American Heartland by John McEleney
Full-cloud CAD pioneer Onshape amped up the power and utility of its software with FeatureScript, a new programming language that lets users create new parametric features that look, feel and behave just like Onshape’s built-in features.
This is the same language used by Onshape itself to develop all of its software’s current features—Extrude, Fillet, Shell, Loft and the like. Now available as an open language, FeatureScript lets users create their own built-in parametric features in Onshape.
Under the open-source MIT License, Onshape is also sharing the FeatureScript source code for all of its own features, allowing customers to copy, modify or adapt them as they see fit. New features can be created, and existing features edited, in Onshape’s new Feature Studio, a user-friendly development environment with an editor, in-line help and documentation. Continue reading
An illuminating blog post by Onshape engineering team member Ilya Baran reveals some fundamentals of how the new cloud-native CAD system works: “We are careful to distinguish several types of data: the User Interface (UI) state—e.g., selection, camera view, current tab; the Part Studio definition—e.g., feature list, part names and colors, import data; [and] Regeneration results—the ‘b-rep’ (bodies, faces, edges, etc.), triangles for display, regen errors.”
How do these data types differ? “The UI state generally doesn’t persist (except for things like named views),” Baran writes. “The regeneration results are cached, but they can always be rebuilt from the definition. The Part Studio definition is what we store in the database and that is where collaborative editing happens.”
Then Baran explains something that begins to suggest why we believe Onshape is not only a breakthrough in CAD, but also poised to disrupt the established paradigm for PLM platforms. Continue reading
SIMSOLID Corporation launched SIMSOLID, a new structural analysis software product developed specifically for design engineers that works directly on fully featured CAD assemblies and complex part geometry and does not use a mesh. Founded by industry veterans Ken Welch, CEO, and Victor Apanovitch, President and CTO, SIMSOLID’s novel approach is intended to eliminate the two most time-consuming and expertise-intensive tasks of traditional FEA—geometry simplification and meshing. The company says SIMSOLID can analyze complex parts and large assemblies not practical with traditional FEA and do it efficiently on a desktop-class computer. Solution accuracy is controlled using what the company describes as a unique multi-pass adaptive analysis; adaptivity can be defined on a global or part-local basis and is always active. SIMSOLID contains a direct data integration with Onshape CAD documents and is available in the new Onshape App Store as well as directly from SIMSOLID.
Onshape completed beta testing of its full-cloud CAD system, launched its commercial release, and launched the private beta version of an Onshape App Store where selected customers can browse, try and purchase new applications that work directly with their Onshape data and expand on Onshape capabilities. Any Onshape user can request an invitation to the Onshape App Store Private Beta program at www.onshape.com/app-store-beta. The API used by Onshape partners is also in private beta; developers can request access to the API at www.onshape.com/api-access. For our take, see Onshape technology and pricing demolish CAD accessibility barriers and Onshape: Future of CAD—or future of PLM?