Apple’s catchy ad campaign for the iPhone — “There’s an app for that!” — points the way to Graebert and Dassault Systemes‘ next move: an app store for DraftSight, the 2D drafting program produced by their partnership. Of course, Graebert and Dassault can’t really appropriate Apple’s memorable line; Apple has gone ahead and trademarked it for commercial use. But they’re certainly looking at Apple’s app store model as a way to expand the reach of DraftSight.
In June 2010, Dassault introduced a free 2D offering of its own, based on Graebert’s ARES software. The small-footprint program, DraftSight, rounds out Dassault’s 3D products SolidWorks and CATIA with strong DWG editing features. With DraftSight, Dassaualt managed to gain a solid foothold in the 2D market, long dominated by AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT from Dassault’s arch rival Autodesk. Since its launch seven months ago, DraftSight has seen 300,000 downloads.
Come April, you could very well be making money off DraftSight — if you know how to develop specialized apps for the program. At Graebert’s Market for DraftSight, you can find the company’s call:
Graebert’s Developer Studio allows developers to start effective development or porting right away. The Developer Studio will provide powerful SDKs for DraftSight (Windows & Mac) as well as development documentation. Developers will also benefit from easy-to-use tools and development support of Graebert’s Developer Program … Products you develop will be available as soon as they are submitted – you set the price. Information for every customer that tries your product or actually purchases will be forwarded for follow-on marketing. No other web store will be able to sell products integrated with DraftSight.
“Graebert is now making DraftSight an extensible, modular platform that can be customized by users to meet their specific needs,” said Wilfried Graebert, founder and CEO of Graebert GmbH.
Developer recruitment has already begun, laying the groundwork for the store’s target opening date in April. Graebert plans to certify third-party apps for quality and compatibility.
This changes the character of the software from a straightforward 2D drafting and drawing application into a customizable 2D engine. If it attracts enough developers, the market place could become an ideal online destination to look for industry-specific DraftSight plug-ins.
With a dedicated user base, AutoCAD, too, has spawned many custom applications, ranging from homegrown AutoLISP productivity tools to commercial packages. Currently Autodesk operates AutoCAD Exchange, a community portal where users may exchange tips and tricks, but it offers no equivalent to an app store. The anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better rivalry between Autodesk and Dassault suggests one’s success will soon be met with a counter measure from the opposite side. Is that an AutoCAD app store I see in the crystal ball?