ODA Supports DWG 2010

Eight months after Autodesk released AutoCAD 2010 the ODA has added DWG 2010 support to DWGdirect, the main component of the ODA Platform. According to the press release issued today:

In addition to reading, writing, and editing DWG 2010 files, version 3.2 of the ODA platform includes overruling and subdivision mesh surfaces, support for ADT 2010 objects, and advancements in the technology accessed by.NET and ActiveX developers.

In an earlier post titled “ODA Cracks DWG 2010” I mentioned the ODA’s CTO, Neil Peterson, telling me that full support for DWG 2010 could be expected by the end of the year, which is precisely what has happenned. Sounds like a job well done.

In the same post I wrote:

I have always wondered why Autodesk has this self imposed three year cycle for the DWG format. Since it takes about a year for the ODA to completely reverse engineer a new DWG format, if Autodesk changed the DWG format every year, that would keep the ODA on its toes all year round. And that would give it less time and resources to do other stuff like building an alternative DWG based CAD platform, which is far more damaging to Autodesk than a reverse engineered DWG read/write SDK.

Those who know whether Autodesk is changing the DWG format in AutoCAD 2011 (which may or may not include me) are under NDA. I will be attending the Autodesk DevDays event in Bangalore on 20th November, where I hope to learn a little more about the upcoming version of AutoCAD and other Autodesk products. Again, most of what is told or shown at DevDays is only meant for Autodesk partners to prepare themselves in advance and not for public disclosure.

I have been eagerly waiting for this 2.3 release of DWGdirect. At SYCODE, we will now be able to add DWG 2010 support to all our DWG and DXF file import and export plug-ins for various CAD systems. SYCODE offers DWG and DXF file import plug-ins for Alibre Design, Pro/ENGINEER, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and SpaceClaim. We also offer DWG and DXF file export plug-ins for Acrobat, Pro/ENGINEER, Sketch Up, Solid Edge, SolidWorks and SpaceClaim. Most of these CAD systems can already read and write DWG and DXF files. But the functionality is limited to reading and writing 2D entities only or some other limitation. Our plug-ins remove these limitations and enable free flow of 3D data from/to DWG and DXF files.

Personally, I believe that it is a good thing that an organization like the ODA exists. Autodesk also provides a DWG read/write SDK called RealDWG which they internally use in their own products. However, they do not license it to any and everyone. Basically, Autodesk needs to “like” what you are going to do with the RealDWG SDK before they license it to you. Autodesk is also known to cross-license RealDWG with other CAD vendors in a “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine” kind of an arrangement.

Incidentally, the licensing fees of the RealDWG SDK and the DWGdirect SDK from the ODA are almost identical. I have always wondered why Autodesk doesn’t simply give away the RealDWG SDK for free. Doing that could drastically reduce the membership of the ODA since most members only use the DWG read/write part of the technology and not the entire ODA Platform. Moreover, that would also drastically reduce the problems that Autodesk claims their support engineers need to solve that are related to DWG files coming from “untrusted” sources. It seems like a win-win situation to me. Or maybe Autodesk has a problem with the things that just about every ODA member is doing with the DWGdirect SDK?

Further reading on this subject: “Should Autodesk keep the DWG format a secret?