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February 26, 2007



3D PDF will succeed and IronCAD is embracing that success. Great software partnerships always trump a large-slow-arrogant behemoth.

Kevin DeVoll


Franco, it seems that as you say, a good plug-in for your CAD system makes the trick for 2D PDF creation. Is that true for EDA in your experience? If so, we are looking at a good shot by Adobe to transform viewing/markup tools into a commodity - although someone say that Adobe will miss the Automotive/Aerospace segment anyway ( I should probably elaborate on that but I'd like to keep it that way for discussion). Thoughts?

Franco Folini

My answers to the recent comments:

@George: e-drawings are a very good product and can be created from almost any CAD file format. Similarly to DWF with Autodesk, e-drawings relationship with SolidWorks will prevent the format to become a standard. Doesn't matter how good e-drawings are.

@Geoff: I agree, universality was among the most important features of PDF. Adobe should be more careful to support all the feature on the largest possible set of platform. PDF earn his reputation also because of the portability. Loosing portability will affect the PDF "brand".

@Donato: I consider PDF a very good solution for 2D drawings. At Novedge we offer products from BlueBeam and from CADzation, and all the feedback we receive from our customers are more than positive. IMHO, to get the best 2D PDF the solution is not Acrobat 3D, but a good plug-in for your CAD system.

Donato Mangialardo

Regarding the lack of universality, I am curious to see what 2D MCAD formats are available in A3D and what is the quality of translation. As an example, in the manufacturing industry, very complex, multi-sheet drawings are exchanged. They often include metadata. They come in lots of formats, of course. CatiaV4, CatiaV5, Pro/E, UG NX et cetera. In my experience, it is virtually impossible to guarantee perfect fidelity. And perfect fidelity is a must for 2D information. Unless all MCAD vendors offer individually the ability to save into PDF, which would be probably the best option for A3D expansion.

Another question is: does A3D support EDA formats? This is another key piece for Manufacturung companies (e.g. Hi-Tech Electronics, Medical etc) and the above mentioned universality.

Geoff Briggs

A significant knock against A3D in it's current incarnation is the lack of universality that has made PDF so strong and appealing. The A3D software is only available for Windows and lacks translators for BIM applications. As an ArchiCAD user on the Macintosh platform it's a huge a disappointment. But, as you point out, the potential is there and this version does serve as a proof of concept. I am encouraging Adobe to promote and use the IFC file format to preserve, combine and exchange building model metadata from the various BIM, structural and MEP applications into and out of A3D.

George Tylinski

eDrawings comes in 3 versions; according to the link in your article, the "Publisher" (free) says, "Download free eDrawings Publisher software to publish eDrawings files directly from SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Inventor®, Pro/ENGINEER® CATIA® V5, Unigraphic®, Solid Edge® Version 17 and CoCreate's OneSpace® software." So eDrawings is not Switzerland, but then it has a lot more diversity than Switzerland does...

Franco Folini

Hi Scott, the point is not how good DWF is, but can Autodesk promote DWF outside the AutoCAD/Inventor area? Your list doesn't include any of the major CAD players. None of your major competitor will ever fully support DWF for obvious strategic reasons. Autodesk is not the Switzerland of CAD and nobody wants to promote a competitor file format.

Scott Sheppard

I am not crazy to sugguest that DWF is not heavily based on Autodesk content, but "limited to the products of just one single software manufacturer" is a bit of an overstatement IMHO. We offer the free Autdoesk DWF Writer for 2D and 3D that allows data from other applications to be included in DWF. For example, people really like using it with products like Microsoft Office. In addition, we have over 100 different companies on the DWF Partners list that I maintain:

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