Is the Direct Modeling Honeymoon Over?
In a comment, Matt Lombard remined me what Dan Staples, Director of Solid Edge at Siemens PLM, said to him last October:
“Ten years from now history based modeling will not exist”
Today, Dora Smith, Director – Global Social Media at Siemens PLM told me something which appears to quite the opposite:
“We have no plans to deliver NX or Solid Edge without a history-based option.”
I believe 10 years is a very long time in the world of technology and would prefer to go with Dan Staples. I also feel that Dora is merely addressing the immediate concerns of her customers.
I simply cannot bring myself to believe that the best way to create and modify a solid model is by cooking it up in a sequential manner all the time. Features are here to stay, at least for the length of my lifetime. Whether they need to be created and maintained in an orderly manner is something that I am not comfortable with.
But there is another solution, something which just about everyone I have spoken to, including myself, feels is next to impossible. That is, to have a history tree containing features and allow the user to make direct edits to the features, but not add these direct edits as new features at the bottom of the history tree. Rather directly edit the existing features in the history tree. If such a solution exists then probably I could live with the history tree because I would not need to figure it out before I make any change to the model. Current history based modelers do only a fraction of this. I say fraction, because you can push/pull only those faces which have a clear relation to an underlying feature. Case in point, Instant3D by SolidWorks.
However, Autodesk claims that Inventor Fusion will do exactly what I said above was next to impossible. If that is indeed the case, then this year’s Nobel Prize (doesn’t matter which category) should go to the person at Autodesk who figured this out. I can think of few cases when this solution may be made possible, but there would be severe limitations to how much you can mess with the solid model. But then maybe I am not Nobel Prize material.
So to answer the question, “Is the Direct Modeling Honeymoon Over?“, I say “No“. I would say that probably the marriage between History Based Modeling and Direct Modeling has only just begun and they are now fighting over which one of them is wearing the pants.