How to Save SolidWorks from Dassault?

The question mark in the title was necessary because I’m not proposing an answer but trying to start a brainstorming session.

I guess the question makes some assumptions that you have to be on board with before you try to answer it. First, it assumes that Dassault Systemes has done serious damage to SolidWorks as a company, as a product, and as a brand. And second, I think you have to assume that the situation can be repaired. It is becoming more fashionable among the real CAD press to acknowledge that SolidWorks and Dassault are engaged in some sort of internal struggle, and that Dassault has at least mis-communicated, maybe even miscalculated.

There are a couple of ways that Dassault might deal with the situation.

Controversy? What Controversy?

This is the typical corporate head-in-the-sand technique they must teach as a staple in MBA programs. If you don’t listen to criticism, then it doesn’t exist. This would essentially mean that they keep doing what they are doing. Lying to themselves and their customers. Hoping no one reads the signs like that CEO whose firing we disguised as a promotion, all the Europeans running the company, the lack of development of real CAD tools, all this talk of Catia, the fact that we got caught on tape saying “We’re dropping Parasolid”, and the injection of all this unrelated nonsense. Changes? What changes? Change is good. Not that we’re changing, cuz we’re not…

And then get some hapless social media puppet who doesn’t understand the topic to be your main mouthpiece. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Full Steam Ahead

If Dassault is going to continue to move forward with replacing SolidWorks as the Dassault mid-range offering with Catia-based software, and try to avoid a customer revolt, I think the only course for them is to come clean, and say that’s what they’re trying to do. Right now, people like me are able to characterize the change as a bad thing. DS is not explicitly denying that they are looking to supplant SolidWorks with something else, or that it would be a bad thing if they did exactly that. So they just turn out looking like they are being underhanded. They have made a lot of half-hearted attempts at addressing the situation that still leave open the possibility, nay, the probability that yes, they are really trying to replace SolidWorks with Catia-based software.

Of course talking about detailed specifics is not really possible at this point, because they don’t have anything to show. Plus, it’s just not the way that Dassault seems to do things. If nothing else, Dassault has learned a hard lesson about talking about stuff that isn’t anywhere close to reality.

Plus, if they want to go “full steam ahead”, it’s going to mean that they’ve got to deal with the reality that they are dead last in the race to offer a tool that starts to move away from history-based modeling as the sole paradigm. In the “market your weakness” method, this will mean they sell their idea as the most evolved, not as the first with technology, which was the original selling point.

Reverse Course

No matter how this winds up, I think the message from Dassault is going to be that “other people”, details left unstated, have been trying to confuse mid-range customers. Using this tactic, Dassault could effectively reverse course on the whole Killing SolidWorks deal without making it seem like they’ve changed their mind even a little. I’m not sure they could do this and save any face at all. They might hang on to revenue for a few extra years, but I think SolidWorks is at the top of its bell curve – it’s all down hill from here.

Killing off SolidWorks was a brilliant thing to do, provided they don’t say it like that to the customer base that loved the product, and possibly provided that they wait a few more years to announce it. With the benefit of even more hindsight there are SO many things about Jeff “Death” Ray’s announcement that should have been recognized up front. By all accounts, there were disagreements about whether Ray should go ahead with that presentation. It couldn’t have been a last minute decision, based on the preparation it would take to demo that software remotely.

Even if they could reverse course, they would be left with a Parasolid Kernel, and without the whole insane V6 vision. This method would require too much crow being eaten in Paris to be feasible.

Spin Off

There is a way of thinking where there is really no way to resolve the inner conflict between the Boston Blueblood loyalists and the Gallic usurpers. France has made their profits from the $360 million investment, and now SolidWorks is becoming more of a distraction from the insane V6 vision of immersive 3D Experience for everyone everywhere. While this would be the best of all possible outcomes from my point of view, if this were going to happen, and be a good thing, it would have happened already. Jon Hirschtick has already left the building. He would have been the obvious choice to revive the brand, and what it means. But the fact is that he has chosen to part ways, and to start something new, which could be good news in the end,  but alas, not for SolidWorks. I don’t see another spiritual successor to SolidWorks or Hirschtick on the horizon.

Just Let it Die

Strange as it may seem, this might be the current tactic. SolidWorks is based on the idea that Microsoft is king, which it clearly isn’t any more. It is truly time for it to die. How long will professional computing continue to depend on Microsoft? Especially after the decidedly consumer bent of Windows 8?

If you just let SolidWorks die, then you have to be prepared to do something else. One option would be to do the V6 thing, the current plan.

People see that the desktop is no longer king. While this is true for casual consumer computing, which becomes less and less powerful all the time, it is NOT true for professional computing, which constantly needs more and more power. Too many people in the CAD industry get caught up in the success of a guy like Steve Jobs, and come to the conclusion that all success stems from controlling the consumer. Business/Professional needs are different from consumer needs. You can’t just treat them interchangeably. I think more than anything else, we are at a crossroads where professional and casual computing must once again diverge. Laptops can handle most professional computing needs, but tablets can’t.

Moving back to centralized servers for CAD is not the answer. This is where following the consumer rabbit hole will take professional computers. Compute power is cheap to own. As consumers abandon the desktop, though, it is going to get more expensive. But so will centralized servers. So I don’t think cloud servers are  going to gain much of a real edge over local power for professional computing. I just don’t see it. A couple of niche areas maybe.

The real king these days is Linux, and not the cloud at all. Linux runs on the desktop and servers. You might argue about iOS or Android, but the truth is that these are all related to Linux. It might be most feasible to write next gen platforms for Linux, and then offer virtualization modules for flavors. This avoids the whole cloud issue without dismissing it, and it allows for local installation.Everywhere we’re headed is some Linux variant. Is platform independence really that big of a deal?


Emotionally, it would be most satisfying to see Hirschtick buy back SolidWorks and restore it to its former glory, but I know that isn’t going to happen, and even if it did, the reality wouldn’t be as good as my imagination.

I really think Dassault is going to first employ the Controversy? What Controversy? method, and then follow through with the Just Let It Die with the V6 option. This combination is the Mechanical Desktop option.

What do you think?

Posted in wtf

41 Replies to “How to Save SolidWorks from Dassault?”

  1. @Rick McWilliams
    I think by a conic surface, you mean a surface that has a conic section, either on U or V, then yes, Creo can produce conic surfaces.
    Creo has a sweep feature capable of completely controlling the conic section of a surface ,rho and tangents on the two ends on every point of the swept the path, this means that you can explicitly control the start point and end point tangent angles and rho either using graphs or relations (x axis of the the graph would be the length of the sweep path parametrized from 0 to 1, y axis would be the control parameter like rho or any dimensions), you can also tell the software to keep tangency on endpoints to specified surfaces. its very powerful in that regard. and the section could be anything, you can do the same with spline control polygons where you can dimension the control polygon and control them in the same manner.
    ProE has had this since i remember, perhaps more for more than 10 years!
    Regarding to ruled surfaces, yes, the sweep feature is very versatile, can do that as well. you can sweep a line as a profile and keep its angel constant to a curved surface or a direction, which produces a ruled surface.
    Basically, I dont think there’s anything you can do with GW3D that you can’t do with Creo. Creo base package surfacing capabilities=Solidworks+GW3D+Power Surfacing, perhaps more 😀

  2. @Andrew
    Doed creo have a conic surface, where the shape is a conic everywhere? Does the equivalent of boundary surface produce butt cracks and hogbacks when mirrored?

    The curvature combs display sounds good. SW makes it at two step process creating surface curves. Does the surface tool evaluate two joined surfaces exposing butt cracks?

  3. In creo you can display surface curvature combs when outside of a feature, not just when editing as in SW. This is actually useful as opposed to what SW does. It has zebra/env reflections as well, but are of limited usefulness like all packages (rely on the mesh level of your model). There are other surface eval tools as well, reflection lines based on a plane, decent surface curvature analysis etc. All of which are savable so you dont need to redefine section planes for combs.

  4. What are the high spots of surfacing with Creo? Are ruled surfaces actually ruled surfaces? Is there a conic surface? Does the screen display have enviromental reflections so I can see the shape? How do splines work? Is thicken surface more reliable? What is the price?

  5. Solidworks is going away and I think the Solidworks community as a whole is putting their head in the sand about the issue. There are so many tools out there that can do 10 folds what Solidworks can do and it’s around the same price. Creo can do surfacing, rendering and now has a floating license PDM system and the price is reasonable not $20,000 a seat.

  6. Actually you might have phrased the question, “How to Save CATIA from Dassault?” If DS is playing the SW chip to save CATIA one might ask why not play the CATIA chip to save SW? A while back I heard Jeff Ray say that they had locked a bunch of their brightest up in a room to figure out what the next big threat was to SW. They said it was the cloud. I wonder if they would still have jobs if they said CATIA? I have always thought that the next big threat to SW, CATIA, Pro/E, etc. would be an open source 3D CAD package running on Linux. Then at least the marketing people would be out of the loop and the software would again be engineering driven.

  7. One last post more on topic. How DS might find themselves in more difficulties that are going to impact you.
    Some while ago now I posted here some predictions of global conomic problems lasting decades and some people thought I was being somewhat pessimistic. Not long after that the housing bubble burst in the US and a lot of people found themselves on the street and unemployed. Since then the fed has been printing money and passing it around the backdoor to bolster the stockmarket, keep insolvent banks afloat, devalue the dollar by stealth, provide food stamps and also at times take down the gold market to discourage flight to safety. Nothing out there is normal and to my way of thinking the intervention can only spiral out of control at some point as being too complex and bent to sustain. There are massive derivatives and bond market problems looming and now countries like Japan are also printing money to escape their own unresolved decades old difficulties and try to remain on par with their also devaluing trading partners. Its a shuffle to the bottom. In NZ we arent printing money but retaining honest accounting and our rising dollar is burning off our businesses. The extent and variety of the fraud is threatening to pull everyone down regardless. To my mind although things have somewhat stabilised presently for Joe Public there is another wave of problems coming soon. If your manufacturing business is marginal now this next leg down might finish it off merely because the depression will broaden and deepen and it could become quite disorderly and ultimately perhaps leading to multiple hyperinflation scenarios (widespread loss in confidence in the currency and government). One of the obvious things to look at cutting if circumstances dictate some self imposed austerity is SW subs given the software is already known to have a limited future. It may well be that many more businesses opt to stay with the SW version they have and co-ordinate their withdrawal (or migration to something else) with their partners and suppliers. Another aspect of the global crisis is that there is a possibility that DS may well have some exposure to French banks that are known at this time to be insolvent among many others world wide or thye may have invested their previously healthy profits in derivatives. There are reportedly 1000+ trillion of derivatives out their that may well go to zero in a mega tangle depending how things go. You would hope DS aren’t exposed financially but then again if they were its also likely Autodesk in some fashion as well. If the next phase of the global recession/depression impacts about the same time as the gradual introduction of Catia Lite and it seems that it will that may well lead to quite large simultaneous difficulties for DS and frankly its going to severely disadvantage their customers, VARs/partners, engineering/design students and all manner of associated enterprise. It seems likely that dropping such a successful product as SW and launching something people don’t particularly want or don’t necessarily relate to the marketing of, and isnt a priority in the circumstances, comes at the worst possible time. If your business is going to be just getting by why would you want to further burden it by having a steep learning curve for new CAD software dumped on it, all the initial debugging to do, and potentially a lot of data migration issues as well. Just my thoughts. I did mention this possibility once before but I thought to repeat it at this time for posterity.

  8. A draggable shoulder point would be better. A conic is fully defined by 3 points and two slopes. So adding a point anywhere on the spline will give drag control if the relations work. I prefer rho as a number, dimensionable.

    A conic surface is much more useful than just conic curves. Mostly because boundary surface does wonky stuff at the edges. Other function surfaces would be nice. A coons patch would be very nice. Pi in the sky.

  9. Yeah but c2 should have been in there from the beginning. I am sure Mark would have been aware of that coming from an ID background. ID folks will want to be able to grab the blue dot on the curve and drag it to set the curvature.. it needs ghosting too. Mark will understand what I mean.
    Loft connectors have always had issues with them getting in a hopeless tangle. They know about this too, again Mark will already know what I mean. I don’t know why you and I only end up discussing this here but we probably ought to move along. I’ve written far too much here these last few days and i apologise for that. I’ve just had a few days off and strayed into posting again but in actual fact my ongoing interest is to see what SE ST6 will bring and where that’s going so you can expect me to disappear again shortly. I might add for the benefit of any other SW user out there who hadn’t realised this that by SE offering a 50% discount on a seat of SE to move over SW are really going to have to offer a similar discount to stay. If you only have a single seat or two I guess that means free subs this year doesn’t it 😉 What a mess for DS and just as the global economy implodes….
    Can SW be saved? Probably it is already too late and you ought to be thinking of how to save yourself.
    Sorry to invade your space Matt. See y’all around but keep those pencils sharp. You just never know…

  10. Neil can you explain a bit more what you mean by “draggable rho”? In regards to fixing things in Beta, the C2 relation has just been introduced in SP2, so it was not available during Beta testing.

    BTW, about the loft connectors, what enhancements would you like to see there?

    Maybe we should move this discussion on the forum. Matt is a gracious host, but I would preffer not to upset him going off topic for too long.

  11. OK well it looks like the bug is limited to different sketches as you said. Well done I hadn’t picked that up when I was watching Matt’s demo. I thought he was finding that in both cases. I guess my complaint was a little over done in that case. So conics are lacking but not completely useless after all. Sorry to doubt you Mark. I hope they fix it but I suspect it will be near the end of the release which is kind of a long wait for something that should have been in there from the beginning and issues caught in beta IMO. I still believe that. Did people identify these things in beta? You would hope so. These issues seem fairly obvious.
    Now about the draggable rho… I think thats a must have for ID purposes. Perhaps there’s a fairly easy fix/enhancement and it might get pushed in to a sp sideways soon. As for conic optimised loft/boundary algorithms…assuming that’s doable.. I suspect that’s going to have to wait until SW2015 now… oh well. As usual with SW the things you would really like to make use of take longer than you would want/ hope to operate sweetly. As long as they do try to refine conics for us they will be a cool addition to the toolbox. If they kind of get left as loft connectors have well that’s going to be pretty frustrating/disappointing.
    I guess we really have to save SW from DS if we can. It would be unfortunate to get these things fully functional just before SW dies. I suppose I can be accused of caring too much about the tools in speaking out about these issues seeing as how I am lagging well behind with SW2009 but who knows if we can pull off a bloodless coup then it might be in my interests too to make sure conics as good as they can be. The alternative is to go for GW3D I guess. It will probably be a lot better than anything DS might provide however the danger is they might go the same way as Tsplines. If only SW wasnt in the poo like it is thanks to DS. That remains the problem doesn’t it? Why is life so difficult?…I wonder what SE are planning for conics….

  12. Neil :Hmmm well I could be wrong but I thought he tried c2 both in the same sketch and in a different one. I’ll need to watch it again more carefully.

    Neil, you made me curious so I checked what’s happening when the spline is fixed and the conic is connect with a C2 relation to it. Watch this video:

    Matt, my apologies for going off-topic.

  13. @Rick…(ditto) the USERS and DEVELOPERS make up the SOUL of what SW is!

    The core management of SW/DS or majority of SW employees and VAR’s “DO NOT” have or do they represent the soul / preservation of the SW program.

    Classic dysfunctional corp..


  14. I think Solidworks users care more about Solidworks company than the management at DSS. We want the software to grow and thrive to become a wonderful tool. We want the bugs fixed. We want accurate versitile geometry generation.

  15. Hmmm well I could be wrong but I thought he tried c2 both in the same sketch and in a different one. I’ll need to watch it again more carefully.

  16. Thanks for the link, Neal.

    It is the same issue/bug we talked about. Notice how the conic is in a different sketch than the spline? At this time looks like both the splines and the conic need to be in the same sketch in order for the C2 relation to work as expected.

    For the time being you can apply the workaround shown in my video (convert entities to make them local to the sketch).

  17. @Neil

    Can you please post the link for that video or article or comment?

    The only video I saw from Matt that showed a C2 issue was when the conic sketch entity is connected to an edge created by an extruded spline and we already discussed that.

  18. Ah yeah ok we all agree thats a bug and thanks for reporting it, but what about the case where Matt plays with the sketches with the curvature combs showing and declares c2 to be BS (not the surface issue which comes later in Matt’s video.) That doesn’t appear to be something bugged but actually something that isn’t available at all in reality.

  19. Neil :I dont think so Alin, to my mind Matt clearly shows with some sketches a c2 relation isn’t functional between them, but OK explain away….looks like you’re the one frontng for SW on this occasion. The conic and the edge may be a bug but I still don’t think this is a good enough standard..

    I am not contesting that Matt found a bug here and I am actually grateful that this issue has been discovered and reported. Looks like C2 works fine between splines and other sketch entities (including conics), but there is a problem when applying the C2 between a conic and an edge: the C2 on one side and a C1 on the other does not fully define the conic entity in this case.

    Please watch this video for a workaround, until this problem will be fixed by SW:

  20. I frequently find tangential relations getting stuck off tangent. This happens when I change the sketch that has the line feature. it is most common with splines, or 3D splines. I delete and redo the relation, and think nice thoughts about SW. I also like how spline handles are frozen when there is a tangent relation to an arc. The arc has a small radius and that makes the spline uncontrollable.

  21. @Neil

    I understand your point and, since I am a SW user first, I promise to discuss this topic from a user’s perspective. I am not fronting anything or anybody, I will just tell you what I see happening in this case.

    I will finish working in about 2 hours and will make and post the video shortly thereafter.

  22. I dont think so Alin, to my mind Matt clearly shows with some sketches a c2 relation isn’t functional between them, but OK explain away….looks like you’re the one frontng for SW on this occasion. The conic and the edge may be a bug but I still don’t think this is a good enough standard.. The expectations a typical user would have for how conics should work isn’t highly unusual and bugs as basic as this should have been fixed in beta and definitely by sp2.
    To get back on topic here momentarily, I am reminded by this that SW had some of their own management issues before DS took over and made them look trivial in comparison.
    Even if we could save SW from Dassault there are things that need to change internally..

  23. Neil : Of more concern than the apparent bugs is that the equal curvature isn’t maintained when you alter the conic or I guess if you play with the adjacent spline. It seems to me all the equal curvature relation does is make it the same as its neighbour at that instant. .

    Neil, once I have a minute, I will show you what is happening with a video. It is actually working quite fine and the relation can be preserved (it is an unique solution, really).

    As I said, Matt discovered a bug (C2 relation between conic and edge) that I am sure will be corrected in one of the next SPs.

  24. Actually I have to add a gripe here that conics are not the only thing of late where the implementation has been of a quite poor standard. The first one I noted was the update of assembly weldments and their cosmetic nature. To be honest I thought they were crappy. Feature freeze was another let down after the feedback that was provided. I attribute these failings to the disruptive nature of DS’s misguided v6 cloud mission more than to any individuals performance or lack of ability. It is a shame to see SW compromised in this fashion.
    I am sure SW employees aren’t happy to have things they know aren’t up to their usual standard put out there. The side effect of this is that they end up taking some heat for not delivering when in reality they are probably doing their best in trying circumstances. Someone tell me if I am wrong but I think we are reaching the point where DS’s lousy management is damaging every aspect of their business. I can’t see this ending well.

  25. Alin, I am sure being able to specify the exact rho numerically is useful and if you can dimension the distance from the tangent intersection to the blue dot on the curve? that would be handy however in many cases the use of the conic would be a styling consideration. It ought to be possible to drag the curvature in the window in the manner you can adjust a spline to your satisfaction. Of more concern than the apparent bugs is that the equal curvature isn’t maintained when you alter the conic or I guess if you play with the adjacent spline. It seems to me all the equal curvature relation does is make it the same as its neighbour at that instant. It appears then as though c2 is something that isnt really part of the solver code but an after thought, a manual hack/correction. Well that’s not a lot of use to anyone. ID people especially will want to play around with their sketches/surfaces all chained together and interacting. Its not comforting to realise that somewhere along the line a c2 might have gone off slightly and you didn’t find out about it until after the molds were made. I am sorry to say the more I find out about how conics are the more concerned I am that they haven’t been done adequately/usefully. I am not sure if Mark has had other responsibilities with Catia lite and this was someone else’s project or not but this isn’t really of the standard I would have expected from SW even allowing for their usual half done new feature introductions. Its good of Mark to revisit this in a sp to at least allow c2 to be attained somehow but SW should be honest and upfront about its limitations. Lofts and boundary with a conic basis clearly aren’t optimal either. Either this stuff just wasn’t considered in the definition phase or its just been all too hurried and/or the team were under staffed.

  26. @Neil

    You can also add an actual dimension for the rho.

    In regards to Matt’s video, the c2 relation between the conic and the edge is wrong (bug). That being said, if you convert the edge to a sketch entity, you can apply the c2 on one end and c1 on the other end, fully defining the conic (no rho needed).

  27. Oops sorry I think that’s Monica.(changed it) They are both filed under M in a dusty corner of my brain. Probably in proximity to mumbo jumbo 😉
    Are you going to post that conic c2 relation that isn’t c2 (except in your imagination) video here? I was shocked to see that. I’d like to hear an official explanation from Mark. Either something is broken or there are some untruths being told about conics and I absolutely do not like that. (how do I make an angry smilie here?)
    Edit: And it doesn’t seem to work in the case where the angle between the tangency lines needs to be flattened to obtain the relation… And I’m disappointed users have to resort to a spin box to set rho too. This really isn’t anything more than a very rudimentary implementation of conics at best. Not impressed at all. No wonder whats new was described as ‘conic sketches’. Even less impressed to think people might be influenced to buy SW on the basis of these said conics or that since sp2 everything is fine and dandy 🙁

  28. @Jeff Mowry
    Jeff, cool to hear you’ve had a look and liked it. You’ve probably seen more ST6 than me at this point. Looking forward to seeing more.

    I’m sure there’s some irony in there that Concord, MA was a key location in the original American Revolution 240 some years ago.

    Michelle? Might have fallen asleep somewhere, which Michelle is that?

  29. OK so here’s the plan.
    1. Bernard gets the push from the DS board fearing their own lucrative jobs will go as the French economy collapses and as SW subs dry up when customers stage a global revolt against CAD slavery and Concord is taken over by loyalists.
    It is announced he will be sent to personally reconstruct the Great Pyramids stone by stone along with a photo of an iceberg to hang in his tent. Monica will quietly disappear and be rumoured to have retired to Tuscany to run a home for old pets with personality disorders.
    2. It is boldly announced that Catia lite has been abandonned and that SW will be revived under the temporary mentoring of a crazy New Zealander using an Android tablet from his back garden, and further, that SW will be eventually be replaced by new technology which Jon H will be in charge of developing to suit engineers and designers real needs.

    The upshot of this plan is that customers will know that SW is going to steadily improve until it is surplanted by something even better and only if its better and when its better a la Rhino policy, and that DS have been sent packing as a classic example of a failed management experiment. In the future DS will receive a dividend but have no control of SW itself. Competition and home grown innovation will be restored. The familiar branding will continue. Life will only get better. 🙂

    OK so enough spam. I need to go mow the lawns and pull some weeds…

  30. Jokes aside I think the question to ask is really ‘Is SW worth saving now?’
    SW has been languishing in no mans land for a while now while competitors have been working ahead.
    Refocusing SW on engineering and reestablishing the company culture is a fairly simple matter. There is no shortage of work to do code wise. There are many many things that could be done to hone existing SW. The trouble is that even in the hands of people who have a clear mission for it it doesn’t appear to have a way forward in the sense direct edit won’t be available for it and it can’t easily be multi threaded for instance. By DS messing about for so long with notions of CAD in the cloud they have squandered their lead and any opportunity to move SW itself on technology wise. I am not sure the situation is recoverable seen in context of the whole industry.
    Even if CAD in the cloud isn’t the next big thing I doubt SW can evolve further. If SW staged a late come back from these self inflicted wounds the next big thing on the agenda might be its death from natural causes anyway and in a similar time period. Sorry to say I think SW is headed to the grave sooner or later one way or the other. If you still have a mind to contribute something to CAD as Jon H perhaps has you would probably want to grant yourself a clean sheet of paper and expend your efforts on a new generation solution and I suspect that would be the case for anyone assuming the reins of ye olde SW as well. Cast your eye on the ruins and weep…

  31. After taking a look at Solid Edge last Friday, this stuff is less and less distressing for me. Dan and Doug spend about three hours showing me some things the upcoming ST6 can do (when released) with one of my own models. This is a swoopy handled thing that represents some of the surfacing challenges I regularly work with in my designs, albeit a “Hollywood” that’s not fully detailed on the insides. But the insides don’t concern me, in terms of Solid Edge capacity—it’s the outer surfacing I need to know about.

    Here’s the “Hollywood” project we used as a demo for Solid Edge’s surfacing capabilities, and it’s primarily the handle detailing that mattered:

    Since we’re under mutual NDA coverage, I can’t disclose specifics of the upcoming release. However, I can tell you that if everything suddenly went Catia-Lite overnight, I have reason to believe making a jump to Solid Edge would be easier than attempting to stick with a V6-based SolidWorks variant. Why?

    The biggest reason is that Solid Edge uses the same parasolid kernel (and, in fact, controls it). And, they have Synchronous Technology. This means I can move all my models over to Solid Edge with no real care as to whether features translate—the geometry will translate just fine—and I can then make any future edits to the geometry quite easily because of the Synchronous tools. I really was surprised to see how powerful (and easy-looking) this is.

    The other reason is that the surfacing tools in Solid Edge were quite capable—and even looked somewhat simple/easy in usage—and could generally replicate most of what I do in SolidWorks right now.

    Can we say the same for V6/Catia Lite? No way. No translation of featured legacy data (that we know of) and no known surfacing tools, similar interface, or similar other SolidWorks-like expectations. In fact, the paradigm of the Synchronous and “ordered” features was easy for me to grasp, and I’m a master of manipulating the history-only SolidWorks tree to get what I want.

    Am I suddenly a ship-jumping Solid Edge shill? Hardly. I’m a self-employed master of SolidWorks who has watched all the drama since v2008 of SolidWorks (and actively endured it, with some bitterness) who has real reason for real concern that the future of SolidWorks will become non-viable for my business. Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. But the game-playing by Dassault makes it worth my while to check my options. After the time spent with the Edge guys last Friday, I really don’t worry about it so much. My main concerns were answered (or, at least as much as could be compressed into a live demo like that). I don’t want to suffer the hassle of a software jump (really don’t want to), but if necessary, it won’t be as bad as it could be.

    If you’re in a situation similar to mine, I encourage you to contact Dan Staples and see if you can set up a demo with him. Take a look at your available options. You can also contact me directly (and out of public light) at the link below, though I cannot get into many specifics on what I saw in the demo because of the NDA:

    Now if I could convince Solid Edge to offer a steep discount for ship-jumpers this issue would hardly matter at all! We’ll see.

  32. Hmmm well I think I should push myself forward as a spiritual successor for the company. Look I’ve all but been the visionary and director for the last 5 years anyway. I just haven’t been in the building. Prior to that I served as honorary product manager for everything that doesn’t work. I have a tarnished name plate on the back of my door that says that. All I need is a small team of guys with a well sharpened pencil each to flash about and we’ll be in there and the rule of engineers will be restored within 10-15 minutes. There is no crisis here except in confidence. A slave is someone waiting to be set free and bad things happen while good people do nothing.
    A restorative regime change is in order. No need to get away to exotic locations in the middle east to practice that. If bank to bank combat in Wall St and the city of London and throwing live bitcoins isn’t your thing this is something you can safely participate in and know you did something for the greater good. We don’t want your children to ask you what you did in the debt war do we?
    Even people who shy away from open carry of a blunt 2B and wouldnt abide the walls being peppered with grafitti can chant ‘out out out’ outside their local reseller. Desperate times call for unusual measures.
    Join me in a counter revolutionary company takeover. They might have arrived with a case of bubbly and a handbag full of croissants but they’re going home with a box of KFC and a Coke. Y’all got that?

  33. Matt,

    We are a PDMWorks WorkGroup user with 50,000 documents into it. SolidWorks/Dassault has let that product die as well. It has gone its own Mechanical Dekstop way. Evetnually we will see performance issues with it, that Dassault/SolidWorks decided wasn’t worth their time solving with re-writtent software. An individual at a reseller told me that SolidWorks/Dassualt seriously contemplated killing the product, but then came to realize how many customers may be using and instead decided to let it wither on the vine. Since upgrading to 2013, we have seen alot of issues with PDMWorks WorkGroup and the “benefits” of it withering on the vine. Our current strategy is to move to PDMWorks Enterprise ($$$). There will be a larger up front purchase, more subscription money every year, a cost to migrate our data, and re-training of employees on the new system. All in all more money we have to pay to overcome the limitations that Dassault/SolidWorks didn’t want to address. I hope we can offset some of that cost inrease by doing more automated things for the company in due time with the Enterprise version. There was the whole nFuze joke that came shortly after the decision to mothball WorkGroup, it reminded me of the cloud based SolidWorks demo given years back under Jeff Ray. I think Dassult/SolidWorks will take a similar approach to the CAD product SolidWorks that they took with the data management product WorkGroup. Bring along something possibly more capable, although at a higer cost. Then stop making improvements to the old products and let it wither on the vine. Eventually some of their customers will move on, but at an increased cost to them. We’ll see how it goes.

  34. Hmm, we’ve just taken baby steps to implement SolidWorks Enterprise PDM. Should we roll back already? 😉
    I guess the future of Enterprise PDM is equally uncertain.
    I have to admit that something feels very wrong about how events are unfolding in front of the careful (and not blindsighted) SolidWorks reader…

    I think I’m going to suggest the possibility of considering Solid Edge as an alternative, as it might actually suit our line of work much better than SW.

  35. Well, Hirschtick is up to other things these days:

    Personally, I’d be interested in seeing a CAD fit-for-purpose OS – something following the OpenELEC/XBMC model. Even better if it can be virtualized to run under a windowed environment. As for the product itself, I’d like something that can do equally well with parametric or non-parametric modeling, with C2 or better surfacing. I don’t care about PDM, or rendering as we use external software for both. Routing is a nice-to-have.

  36. A shame for sure…while I’m an Solid Edge user, I do like competition to be present and in good measure. To have Solid Works killed off by its owner, will be one of those bitter/sweet deals, for many.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: