Chinese IntelliCAD developer takes on Autodesk

The IntelliCAD Technology Consortium members are getting more aggresive in their attempts to steal market share from Autodesk. Graebert is developing Argon, their attempt to make it easier for companies that develop AutoCAD plug-ins, such as mine, to take their existing source code, recompile it with their libraries and come up with a plug-in for their AutoCAD clone.

But it appears that they were not the first to do this. In August 2007, a Chinese ITC member called GreatStar Software released their AutoCAD clone called GStarICAD 2007 which, according to them, was the first IntelliCAD to offer ObjectARX source code compatibility. They claim to support 95% of AutoCAD’s ObjectARX functionality. They also claim to have removed “tens of thousands of bugs” in the IntelliCAD source code, hence making their IntelliCAD far more powerful and stable as compared to the other IntelliCAD’s out there.

Such tall claims made me dig a little deeper. I downloaded GStarICAD 2007 Professional but could not find a way to a load a DRX DLL, let alone an ObjectARX style DLL. The Developer Reference section of their documentation has no mention about ARX or DRX at all. In fact, the docs state that ObjectARX support is unavailable. But that may be because they are still using the old IntelliCAD documentation. There are no special libraries installed with the software and no instructions on how to create ObjectARX source compatible plug-ins. In fact, I could not find any evidence to validate any of their claims. I didn’t spend too much time on this, so it is probable that I may have missed something… or maybe everything.

Keep watching this space. Trust me, there is a lot more to come on the DRX-ARX front.

Update (1-Feb-2008)

I contacted GreatStar Software with my queries. They sent me a Word document in Chinese with some English thrown in here and there. Apparently there is a developer version of GStarICAD which comes with their ARX libraries, and hopefully instructions (in English) to build ARX plug-ins. I am now trying to get a hold of the developer version. If I manage to do that I shall post my findings.