Siemens Holds on to History

In an earlier post titled “PTC Joins the Direct Modeling Bandwagon” referring to PTC’s announcements and demos at PTC/USER 09, I wondered:

“So does that mean that like Siemens, PTC is abandoning the history based feature modeling approach that they pioneered years ago?”

As it turns out there was something fundamentally wrong with the question. I have access to Solid Edge only and assumed that Synchronous Technology was implemented in NX in the same way, which apparently, it is not. An anonymous commenter pointed out:

“In NX, you can CHOOSE to have Synchronous features seamlessly integrated with the ‘old’ history-based modeling approach, OR, to go with a completely history-free approach. It is UP TO THE USER TO DECIDE. In Solid Edge, it seems you have to choose one or the other.

… [snip] …

It is very unfortunate that the differences in implementation of ST between NX and Solid Edge are being confused (by everyone, from Siemens to the blog media etc).”

This is precisely the reason why I allow anonymous comments on my blog. So after I was enlightened I decided to get it straight from the horse’s mouse. So I asked Dora Smith, Director – Global Social Media at Siemens PLM Software, two specific questions:

(1) Will Siemens continue to develop new technologies that are based on the “history based” parametric modeling?
(2) In the future will Siemens ship a version of Solid Edge and/or NX that will not have the “history based” parametric modeling option.

Her reply to question 1 was:

“We have definitely NOT ‘abandoned’ history-based modeling. We continue to invest in history-based modeling AND synchronous technology. The feedback from our customers so far is they want the best of both worlds: history-based and history-free modeling.”

In response to question 2, Dora said:

“We have no plans to deliver NX or Solid Edge without a history-based option.”

So there you have it. As far as Siemens is concerned, history is not going to be history. I was pretty alarmed by something that Al Dean said in a comment to the same post:

“I’ve heard of users reevaluating their Solid Edge licenses, some even dropping it and moving to another direct editing system that’s more mature. Why? because of this notion that history is being dumped.”

If Al is right, then maybe Siemens is not doing a very good job getting the message across to its customers. Either way, I am still trying to figure out the reason for implementing Synchronous Technology differently in Solid Edge and NX. It is quite obvious to me that giving a user the option to integrate Synchronous features in the history based modeling method is far better than not giving the option. So why is Solid Edge being left out of the party? Is Siemens facing the same problem that Dassault is facing with smaller brother SolidWorks stepping on the toes of bigger brother CATIA? Or is there something that I am not seeing here?

If any of you know the reason why Synchronous Technology was implemented differently in Solid Edge and NX, I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me a bit further.