Friday, January 12, 2007

DWF/XPS Clarification and Obfuscation

With all the posting about DWF support in Microsoft Windows Vista - I feel like I have to jump in and attempt clarification (because so many blogs and news reports STILL have it wrong, I think).

Here's my take on it.

  • Microsoft developed the XPS specification as a PDF-killer... a digital paper spec

  • Microsoft is providing an XPS viewer built-into Vista, and will provide it as a download in Windows XP, as part of .NET 3.0 runtime, etc

  • Autodesk, through their partnership with Microsoft, has re-engineered the DWF format specification somewhat in order to make it compatible with the XPS spec - ultimately, DWF implementing XPS. This format is known either as "DWF 7.0" (its version) or as "DWFX" (its new file extension).

  • I presume (I have no knowledge of this) that the next version of Autodesk products will support the creation of this new format.

  • Autodesk is also updating the free DWF toolkit to allow other applications which read/write DWF to take advantage of this.

There - was that so hard? (Scott S, please jump in here if I've STILL gotten something wrong here).

Yes, it is somewhat of a big deal. No, it will probably not be a really big deal for another year or two when the number of people who have deployed Autodesk 2008 products and either Vista or the XPS viewer is substantial - the traditional network effect wherein the value is based on the number of people who can EASILY interact.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Product Browser announced (finally)

Avatech's Product Browser application finally hit the press-release stage... It's been a long time coming - I feel like it's been a long hard-labor childbirth - a description that all mothers would (rightly) scoff at.

I think I've written about Product Browser before - it's a tool to help companies who are implementing the Autodesk Productstream data management tool provide a simple solution for navigating, searching, viewing and printing 3D models and drawings with "the Vault". It's particularly designed for the "downstream" people in a manufacturing organization - who are not CAD users. These are people that may not, in many cases know specific part numbers to lookup - so the application helps them graphically find what they're looking for.

If you're interested, you can see the press release here.
Our product web page is here, and we hope to have an eDemo posted in the near future.