This AutoCAD Upgrade Makes Sense
by Darren J. Young
After reading comments regarding AutoCAD 2005, I come to the conclusion that most have lost their sense of objectivity. I've done my fair share of Autodesk bashing, but some of the reader's comments seem out of place -- considering the product isn't on the dealers' shelves, and there's very few who have even seen it.
While it may seem like Autodesk thinks we have all the time in the world to learn new things, this doesn't mean they should stop development, or be geared toward writing functions for which there are already a wealth of free AutoLISP routines to take care of. Would anyone in their right mind pay $300 for an update that allows you to glue a couple lines back together?
As far as Autodesk ignoring basic drafting needs with AutoCAD 2005, I think people are missing the significance of this release. You want to revise a detail number? Or add a sheet in the middle of a set, and have all references update automatically? It's in there. From what I've gathered, sheet sets are not the easiest to set up, but AutoCAD'll do it, and do it automatically once configured properly.
Built-in table objects? Seems like a basic drafting need to me.
I can't think of any release since I started back on R10 that has the potential to significantly impact the productivity of such a wide range of users -- if people would only take the time to learn of it.
It seems to me as if nobody is happy unless the product is easy and tailored to them -- at the expense of everyone else. Until such time that Autodesk adds a mind-reading module, there's no way AutoCAD will EVER offer the flexibility everyone demands, and make it so simple that it just happens the way you want it.
I, for one, welcome the shift Autodesk seems to be making: from minor, token, little, polished enhancements that touch the lives of a small handful of users, to a more big-picture approach that includes some real vision into the future. Autodesk shouldn't focus on helping people do tasks better, like drawing lines and arcs; they should focus on helping users do their jobs better. AutoCAD 2005 is the first time in a long time, if not ever, that I've seen Autodesk move in what I think is the right direction.
If someone wants the polish, they should look into buying third- party add-ons, like Terry Dotson's ToolPac <http://www.dotsoft.com
> or Owen Wengerd's QuikPik <http://www.manusoft.com
>. Both add a lot of polish and day-to-day productivity enhancements for a lot less than the price of an AutoCAD upgrade. There's a wealth of talented good third-party developers out there for specific needs.
For once, Autodesk has stopped listening to the naysayers who think AutoCAD is a mature product, and that there's really nothing left for Autodesk to do with it. That lack of imagination is what's left users reluctant to upgrade -- not the absence of a routine that heals a couple broken lines.
If AutoCAD 2005 sales do poorly, it'll be a result of people being complacent about accepting what's handed to them, and not demanding real insight and imagination.
(Darren J. Young is a CAD/CAM systems developer in Minnesota, USA.)