June 19, 2006
Design Review 2007 Replaces DWF Composer
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to AECWeekly! The release of Autodesk Design Review 2007 has been dubbed a “significant” product release for Autodesk, and replaces DWF Composer. The additional features in the new version address challenges customers are having with collaboration, “specifically dealing with islands of information, various partners and suppliers and other stakeholders with workflows that are often disjointed, costly, complex and not secure,” remarked Jonathan Knowles, Director of Worldwide Market Development for DWF for the Collaboration Solutions Division. Read about this new product in this week's Industry News.


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Industry News



Autodesk Design Review 2007 Replaces DWF Composer

by Susan Smith


The release of Autodesk Design Review 2007 has been dubbed a “significant” product release for Autodesk, and replaces DWF Composer. The additional features in the new version address challenges customers are having with collaboration, “specifically dealing with islands of information, various partners and suppliers and other stakeholders with workflows that are often disjointed, costly, complex and not secure,” remarked Jonathan Knowles, Director of Worldwide Market Development for DWF for the Collaboration Solutions Division. This division is responsible for platform technologies specifically around collaboration and collaborative project management for each of the
other divisions.


For many organizations, not only is the information complex but the workflows are iterative, dealing with CAD and non-CAD users, spending a lot of money moving paper around inefficiently via courier or FEDEX. They are concerned about protecting their intellectual property, and also increasingly challenged with sharing the design intent, since today CAD tools are capable of delivering more information that simple arcs, lines and circles.


Autodesk Design Review 2007
In the world of Autodesk, the DWF platform is the container platform by which users can move that rich information and the design intent through the workflows - regardless of whether it's manufacturing, AEC, or civil engineering. This information includes XML data, scheduling information, asset, cost, and the drawings themselves.


“Autodesk Design Review 2007 takes advantage of the DWF platform,” said Knowles. “Previous versions of the product were called DWF Composer, so we're changing the name to Autodesk Design Review 2007. Direct customer feedback indicated they wanted to know just what the product does in its name, and they don't need any fancy names.” This product is specifically aimed at design review workflows.


Example: An architect or designer publishes out to DWF from their native application. All Autodesk design applications publish out to DWF. The AE guy decides what information should be published out to that DWF, i.e. what layers and what sheets, so they can control what information is going to go out as well as they're concerned with sharing files in their native file format. “That's their intellectual property and they want to protect it,” Knowles pointed out. “They're also dealing with non-CAD users and are meeting people who are participating in the design review workflow to provide feedback. But those people don't have CAD and never had CAD, yet are critical to the
design review workflow process. There's the compression technology built into DWF as well.”


“We've now shared our design intent with the people in our extended team. They now provide their feedback on top of that DWF. We click the button again, and the DWF goes back to the architect/engineer. This step is called roundtripping - the ability to send the information back into the design application, overlay it on the native file and make the changes appropriately in the native application and be able to keep track of the details and exactly what time and date someone made a request, who addressed it, what time and date it was addressed, what changes were made and what changes were not made, and why. All that information is captured, so later on you can go back and look at all
the decisions that were made.”


There are generally more people further downstream in the process who need to only access, view, navigate and print, for whom the new version of the DWF Viewer is available.


Knowles said that many customers are now just publishing to DWF instead of sending information via FEDEX. Because it's print ready and ready to be output on large format printers, they can email the DWF content to those who have Design Review or even the DWF Viewer who can then output it on their large format printers. The information is thus moved at the speed of the network and they save money on shipping costs.


“With the introduction of 3D there is more printing going on on large format printers ,” noted Knowles. “And some of our hardware vendors are actually baking support for DWF into the hardware and into the printer itself to enhance that performance.”


Overall, with Design Review, Autodesk addresses other workflow issues. The publishing component is given away free and is integrated into all Autodesk design applications. There are also plug-ins that allow you to create or publish to DWF from competitiors'2D and 3D CAD applications. With this release Autodesk increases its 3D party application support and will continue to make sure non-AutoCAD design applications can publish to DWF appropriately to get them into the workflow as well. You can publish from any Windows application. When you use Autodesk plug-ins for the other CAD applications, you capture more than the geometry.


DWG Viewer and DWG TrueView 2007 are the viewer components. 11 million copies of Viewer have been downloaded to date, and Knowles pointed out that figure doesn't take into account the fact that companies like Siemens downloaded it once and distributed it to thousands of people. “We are at a run rate of one download every six seconds,” he said. “Finally there's the DWF developer toolkit, as DWF is an open published and standards based specification. We make it available without charge, without royalty and without licensing fee, the specification as well as our software libraries that allow other people to create DWF applications.” The first DWF Developers Conference
took place at AU 2005 and drew 110 attendees.



New Features


With Design Review 2007 you can now combine 2D and 3D sheets into a single DWF. When you publish from the design application into DWF you take the hyperlink information along as well. You can see all the properties and have the ability to use standard engineering and can also bring in other information such as Excel spreadsheets.


Another new feature is being able to take Excel in and out of the product in tabular form. one of new aspects of product is the way we're handing Excel information now we're able to take Excel in and out of the product in tabular form. You can also do a bill of materials and click on something in the design and then have it highlight in the bill of materials, and vice versa.


Animation is supported in Design Review which can be used for assembly instructions or in PowerPoint or Word files. You can also put DWF inside an HTML document and deliver it over the web using some of the new APIs that are delivered with this release.


Another new feature is the accuracy in the measure tools. While creating DWF images, math instead of DPI is being used so that actual scale and distances are accurate inside Design Review. It will do point to point measurement as well as area measurement for doing this kind of calculation, this differentiates Autodesk from PDF, according to Knowles. (AutoCAD 2007 will have support for output to PDF).


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