April 3, 2019
Dear DE Reader:
They say nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. In the world of engineering there is a third certainty: the need to work with data in the .DWG file format. The format popularized by Autodesk AutoCAD has become what one analyst calls “post-proprietary,” meaning the data standard has outgrown its original mission and serves a greater industry purpose. PDF and DOC are two other data formats that outgrew their original mission, becoming widely used in situations far removed from their original software applications.
Today literally hundreds of software products support .DWG. There is a thriving ecosystem of companies and consortiums who have stepped up to keep .DWG alive and well in the 21st century. One such organization is the IntelliCAD Technology Consortium (ITC); their latest update of IntelliCAD is DE’s Editor’s Pick of the Week.
The ITC is one of two not-for-profit consortiums that provide foundational support for the .DWG format. The other is the Open Design Alliance (ODA). Both provide core software that other vendors use as a foundation for products. ITC and ODA have a shared history. Today the ITC is a “founding member” of the ODA. Founding members are required to contribute code back to the ODA, so the relationship is mutually beneficial, a software symbiotic relationship.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this update, which will find its way to end users via the many companies that use the ITC platform to create products. The new feature with the most value to the most users may be the ability to digitally sign .DWG files. A digital signature is a block of encrypted information added to files to identify the creator and/or approver. The signature’s encryption can indicate if a file has been altered since the digital signature was applied. Those who receive signed drawings can trust the contents.
Related to the new digital signatures is the ability to export drawings directly to PDF, without need for a secondary printing utility. PDFs support digital signatures, so this is a way to more directly create trusted PDFs. One less software product in the workflow saves time and money, and prevents the possibility of an interoperability flaw being introduced into the engineering data chain.
ITC 9.1 also offers a new Block Editor, making it easier to create and insert blocks. This extends the work done on the 9.0 update, which added blocks to tool palettes, similar to using a stencil for easily adding shapes to a drawing. There is also a new type of selection grip for users working with schematic drawings where precision scale or sizing is not required.
ITC President David Lorenzo says IntelliCAD version 9.0 was the “most stable release of IntelliCAD, ever.” Since the release of 9.0 in 2018, the ITC has used “maintenance” release updates such as this one to introduce new features. There’s more information in today’s write-up. If you use a DWG editor, there’s much to like in this update.
Thanks for reading DE.
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