Dassault Systemes (DS), whose motto for its 3DVIA brand is “tell your story in 3D,” begins giving away a 2D software product for free this week. The downloadable program, dubbed DraftSight, is to be made available via www.3ds.com and supported by a user community, called DraftSight Community. The first version now available is public beta. The product is expected to be officially released — as a free product — later this year. Though the initial release is for Windows OS only, DS plans to deliver native Mac OS and Linux versions of DraftSight later.
Previously, DS delivered a 2D application called DWGEditor along with its midrange mechanical CAD package SolidWorks. (The program was later renamed SolidWorks 2D Editor, as part of the settlement of DS’ legal dispute with Autodesk over the term DWG.) According to Aaron Kelly, a DS product manager, DS currently has no plan to bundle DraftSight with its CAD packages, such as SolidWorks or CATIA, but it “reserves the right to include [DraftSight] in the installation of those products in the future.”
Users may get free tutorials and tips from a blog maintained by DS, and support from peers and the community. DS also plans to offer technical support contracts — which includes network license, priority phone support, API extension, and more — for roughly $250 a year.
DraftSight contains a programmable interface that supports LISP. Kelly verified that a C++ programming interface is currently in development, with support for more programming languages to follow. He described Draft Sight as “an evolution of DWGEditor,” but revealed the 2D drafting engine behind the new program is not the same one in DWGEditor.
The copyright info displayed at system launch indicates DraftSight is based on Germany-headquartered Graebert’s ARES software. (For more on ARES, watch the previous video report here.) DS initially declined to identify the source of DraftSight’s 2D technology, but later confirmed it is establishing a partnership with Graebert.
Though DraftSight is a professional-grade 2D package, Kelly demurred when the software is compared to AutoCAD, currently the leading professional 2D drafting program. “Some users may consider [DraftSight] a replacement to AutoCAD, but AutoCAD has positioned itself with a lot of 3D functionalities; we’re not doing that [with DraftSight],” explained Kelly.
Since most 2D programs must compete with AutoCAD for adoption, DraftSight too has one critical component to help gain a foothold in this battle. It’s designed to read, write, and edit DWG, AutoCAD’s default file format.
For a demonstration of DraftSight’s basic functions, watch the video below: