Thanks to those who commented to my earlier post, “Look Who’s Bending“. I have a few comments myself.
Rob: “Why would anyone let one user upgrade and leave everyone else behind?”
One very good reason would be to determine whether it is worth upgrading in the first place. I believe users are entitled to do cost-benefit analysis to see whether the new whiz-bang features can and will find a place in their workflow. By the way, I still sell add-ins to SolidWorks 2001 users who are perfectly happy with their software.
Anonymous: “Perhaps they assumed a 3rd party would naturally fill the void with a back-converter. This could be a FeatureWorks on steroids. I’m amazed that no one has stepped in to fill this very real need.”
I would be the first to write a back converter, but this would require SolidWorks to publish their file formats or provide me with an SDK. Now, if you have been reading this blog, believe me, you don’t want to get me started on this topic.
Anonymous: “I am not sure why you used SolidWorks as an example. No other parametric tool can do the backwardly compatible trick either that I am aware of.”
Yes, it seems that I am targeting SolidWorks. Actually this applies to all parametric solid modelers.
Anonymous: “I don’t think your example of AutoCAD 2007 solids into wire frame for older versions of AutoCAD is an apples to apples example.”
Yes, I agree that this is not an apples to apples example. The problem is that I could not find another apple to compare this apple with.
Anonymous: “Since all features are related, why would you want to insert one dumb feature? If you had the ability to modify an imported part parametrically from a future version, with one or two dump features, I can’t see anything but disaster on the horizon. The logical process would be that this modified part would wind up back in the hands of the user using the future version after modification. How would parametric parameters be reapplied to the dumb feature?”
If you study the “new features” you will see that most of them are actually “new methods” or “easier methods” of doing old things such as extrude, cut, revolve, sweep, loft, fillet, chamfer, draft, etc. Basic solid modeling techniques have largely remained the same. Surely there will be instances when you simply cannot break down new features into older ones. Only in such cases, a dumb solid will be required. It’s better having a dumb solid than not having anything at all. At least there will be a one-way conversation if not a two-way, as opposed to silence.
My point is, why force users to exchange dumb solids (by Parasolid, ACIS, etc.) when, in probably most cases, you can offer them an option of exchanging featured solids. But, I guess, we all know the answer to that.
Hey, I am not saying it is easy. But I wasn’t the one talking about bending.