[cad-linux] Re: OT: Open data formats (continuation of previous thread)

  • From: "Jeffrey McGrew" <JMcGrew@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <cad-linux@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 13:30:50 -0700

> If I remember correctly, every release of Inventor to date=20
> included changes in the file format.  That is not=20
> uncharacteristic (and indeed probably necessary) of software=20
> products with steep innovation curves.  Improvement requires=20
> change, and we will continue to improve our products=20
> aggressively. The native file formats will continue to change=20
> often, I expect.

I completely understand this; however there are times where software =
companies made unnecessary changes just to get people to upgrade with =
the veil of 'new features'. Not saying AutoDesk, or the Inventor team, =
is guilty of such- just using it as an example for why I'm wary of =
closed formats.

> Published data, on the other hand, is a different thing=20
> entirely.  A project archived in DWF format is as invariant=20
> as paper, yet electronic.  It captures the documentation of=20
> the project while maintaining plausible "ineditability"=20
> (important if you're concerned with litigation).  It can be=20
> indexed, searched, plotted and is highly compact.  The=20
> pattern of bits that make up the format have been documented,=20
> and that documentation (and the code to produce and read the=20
> format) can be archived along side the project.  If there are=20
> aspects of the data availability problem unserved by DWF, I'd=20
> like to understand them.

Can it be searched by anything? Read by anything? Indexed by anything? =
Or can it only be searched or read or indexed via the code that AutoDesk =
provides? I'm not being cheeky, I don't know, that's why I'm asking. If =
it's independent, then I wouldn't need AutoDesk code to do these things. =
That way, even if I have a MAC, Linux box, Palm pilot, or SGI box I can =
get that data and use it/reproduce it with other tools and in ways and =
on platforms that AutoDesk doesn't support. The code is portable, but =
again, only by agreeing with the AutoDesk licensing, correct?

> Open native formats (or exchange formats, for that matter) is=20
> not a problem addressed by DWF, and one that I'm not overly=20
> optimistic about. =20

Thanks for the clarification! I was confused. I thought that it was =
mostly a archive format, with some capability for exchange, say like =
downloading a drawing from a product website or sending a drawing to a =
client that they could copy from.

We use DWF by the way here at my office on our intranet so that people =
can browse the archived drawings that have been moved off the server. It =
works well, other than the fact that it's tied to using explorer and =
windows. As for plotting, I thought that DWF didn't contain linewieghts =
or color information, so I would still need to retain my PCP and CBT =
files, correct? Sorry for the stupid questions!=20

Jeffrey McGrew

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