SolidWorks 2008 Woes

I like it when Matt Lombard is pissed. Because when he is pissed, he takes it out on his keyboard which results in a long and interesting post on his blog. His post describes the reasons why a majority of SolidWorks users are not upgrading to SolidWorks 2008.

It’s not only users who are unhappy with the revamping that has happenned in SolidWorks 2008. Developers like us have our own set of complaints as well. Up untill SolidWorks 2007, add-ins developed for earlier versions of SolidWorks (2001, when we first started writing add-ins) could be loaded and used without a problem. Every year, when a new version of SolidWorks was released, we had to do minor tweaks to our code to make it work with previous and the latest version, test it and release the add-in.

But with SolidWorks 2008, all hell broke loose. They used a new development environment from Microsoft, most probably to arrive at the whiz bang GUI among other things, and our good old add-ins started crashing. An announcement from SolidWorks read as follows:

“SolidWorks 2008 will block the loading of 3rd party SolidWorks add-ins created using the old style MFC 4.2 extension DLL architecture. Testing of SolidWorks 2008 has revealed severe instability with add-ins created using this architecture …… This will affect any Solution Partner or internally developed add-in products using MFC 4.2 extension DLL architecture when used in conjunction with SolidWorks 2008. This does not affect SolidWorks 2007 and earlier releases.”

Little wonder that SolidWorks users are still clinging on to 2007. Developers are not too keen on spending their resources to rewrite their SolidWorks add-ins from ground up to suit the 2008 architecture and users are not pestering them to do so because not many are using 2008 in the first place.

I submitted a Service Request to SolidWorks that would make it easier for developers to port their code to the new architecture, instead of rewriting everything. This was three months ago. The last time I checked, the status of my SR was “Under review (Future Release)“, inspite of them setting the “Customer Impact” to “High“. I am now beginning to get a sinking feeling that what I asked in my SR is technically impossible, thanks to Microsoft and their ways of forcing everyone to use their latest stuff.

At the moment the 3D Parametric CAD market is poised very delicately. Now would be the worst time to piss off customers.

Ironically, today SYCODE released four new AutoCAD 3D interoperability add-ins for SolidWorks and none of them work with SolidWorks 2008.