The OpenDesign Alliance is now giving away their DRX SDK. According to their web site:
“The DRX SDK allows users to create extensions for DWGdirect-based applications. DRX applications can access the data in a DWG/DXF drawing file, add custom commands to the global DWGdirect command stack, and create custom objects and entities. The SDK can be used to create DRX modules only, not stand-alone applications. DRX modules are Microsoft® Windows® DLLs which can be loaded at runtime by a compatible DWGdirect host application.”
“DRX modules” are actually plug-ins similar to ObjectARX plug-ins that work with AutoCAD and it’s verticals.
“DWGdirect host application” is not limited to the various new IntelliCAD’s already out there or that are being developed. It can also be an entirely different kind of a CAD application. To get the DWGdirect SDK you need to be a member of the ODA.
DWGdirect is shaping up to be a pretty good framework to build CAD applications upon. At SYCODE, we are seriously contemplating rewriting some of our standalone applications using DWGdirect. If we end up doing so, our applications will have AutoCAD DWG/DXF compatibility be default. Moreover, with the ODA giving away the DRX SDK, anyone will be able to extend our applications by writing plug-ins for them. We have been writing plug-ins for other CAD systems for a long time now. The thought that others could one day write plug-ins for our software is almost romantic.
The ODA has often been painted in bad light by some, mainly Autodesk. They have been referred to the “hacker’s group” whose sole aim is to reverse engineer the DWG format and give Autodesk all the grief possible. And the ODA does not appear to be doing much to change that image. For example, their newly designed web site says precious little about how their DWGdirect SDK can be used to create powerful CAD applications (not necessarily AutoCAD clones) and how third parties can use their free DRX SDK to extend these applications. All they talk about is reading and writing file formats, that all.
There is life beyond Autodesk and I hope one day the ODA is able to experience and appreciate it.