New Clone on the Block

Looks like Bricsys, the developer of Bricscad (an AutoCAD clone), is all set to take off. Along with a complete redesign of their web site, they have also revamped their software. Not only does the new Bricscad support DRX, the ODA’s alternative to Autodesk’s ObjectARX, but Bricsys has its own SDK (aptly called BRX) which is source compatible with ObjectARX. In short, third party developers will theoretically be able to take their ObjectARX code (which is used to create AutoCAD plug-ins) and recompile it with BRX SDK to get a Bricscad plug-in. And this opens a whole new range of possibilities for Bricsys. Basically, they are making it a lot easier for AutoCAD users to dump AutoCAD for Bricscad, especially those who find themselves tied to AutoCAD due to to third party ObjectARX plug-ins. It will be interesting to see how Bricsys is going to woo third party developers to use their BRX SDK to develop Bricscad versions of their AutoCAD plug-ins.

According to their web site Bricsys builds “long lasting win-win relationships with application developers”. I wonder if Autodesk should be concerned that such win-win relationships could result in them losing some of their customers in the bargain. Like I mentioned in my earlier article (“The Future of AutoCAD Clones“), 2D AutoCAD customers who are looking to make the move to 3D may need to maintain 2D capability for some time, or maybe forever. In such cases, a low cost AutoCAD alternative will definately help making the switch, especially if it runs their plug-ins as well. I doubt many companies will be able to afford AutoCAD as well as their new 3D CAD system. AutoCAD LT may not be an option since it does not load plug-ins. With Bricscad Professional priced at $445, some may find it worthwhile to add it to their workflow. The Classic version is priced at $100 lower, but then you lose ACIS modeling and the ability to load BRX plug-ins. Surprisingly, the Classic version can load DRX plug-ins.

No other company understands this dynamic better than SolidWorks, which offers DWGeditor, an IntelliCAD variant developed for them by Cadopia, whose webmaster is still sleeping. I will not be surprised if, in the near future, we find SolidWorks aligning themselves with a more powerful IntelliCAD variant such as Bricscad.

And by the way, at least one CAD vendor believes that I am a CAD Guru. The new Bricsys web site has a section called “The Blogs of the Gurus“, where this blog is listed alongside “WorldCAD Access“, the blog by the reverend Ralph Grabowski. I feel as if I have been canonized.

Disclosure: My company, SYCODE, has partnerships with Autodesk, SolidWorks and Bricsys, along with a host of other CAD vendors. As a company and personal policy I make it a point not to take sides. And I like it that way. I get to sleep with everyone and yet live alone in my own home. I am beginning to understand the merits of western culture.