SolidWorks, Direct editing and Data Hostages

Over the last week I have had an opportunity to see exactly what SW has when they talk about direct editing. Really the claims made for direct editing capabilities have been there for some time but I never thought to go and hunt down specific examples that included screen captures of actual parts being worked on. Silly is it not? I know the power of the web to find information but sometimes it seems I get a mental block about using tools right at hand to verify comments, claims and opinions. This led me this morning to go further than just looking for videos of actual parts being edited and into the reality of SW’s failure to have more than the most crude and rudimentary form of direct editing known as move face. It appears their only answer seems to be Catia Lite. So, What do I base this on.

Bertrand Sicot, CEO of SW whose opinion and comments might be better informed than most about what is going on over there had this to say in September. This is not ancient history nor can it be misconstrued. It is their road map and you don’t have to like it. Embrace the new

And I quote,
“Direct Modeling

Direct modeling allows a digital connection from concept to detail design by paramaterizing the model after the initial design. While other CAD vendors have either purchased or developed their own direct modelers, Solidworks has remained the lone holdout.

Last January the company announced that it was working on a product called “Mechanical Conceptual” that would support concept design. Solidworks now has 10 customers using Mechanical Conceptual and plans to make the product generally available in January 2014. According to Bertrand Sicot, when Mechanical Conceptual is released users will be able to create concept geometry and then fluidly pass that into the Solidworks detail design environment and back.”

Ha-Ha, when it is released. Originally scheduled for release about the time Sicot made this speech it has been pushed back until next year now. It appears to be following the same development path as so many other Dassault SW related attempts these last few years where if something actually even makes it out of the door it is flawed and problematical. DAVE, how can you say that about Mech-Con? (well I liked the abbreviated title an industry analyst gave this program even if you don’t 😉 ) Based upon the sterling achievements these Dassault guys have had these last few years with all the SW stuff they have tried and failed at do you honestly think things are OK with Mech-Con? Kernal translation joy I suspect. There is a reason so much of the Dassault stuff is kind of Freudian and I bet CGM really is turning out to be Concentrated Geometric Masochism in Mech-Con. Of course all this idle conjecture and these evil aspersions could be swiftly ended by Dassault actually doing something right for once. I still think Dassault may be seeing bigger dollar signs outside of pure cad creation and may be trying to figure out a way to make money out of “socializing” their users. I don’t mean the worthless Obama commie stuff but I mean it in the Google and Face Book sense of the word. It seems to be all about the cloud and 3D Experience and design by committees of hundreds over the web. No problems there Eh?

I want you readers to try a test here to ascertain the interest of Dassault giving you this tool of direct editing. Google “Solidworks Direct modeling” 681,000 hits and when you dig into some of them a bunch are talking negatively about it, as in SW users. SE has 3,150,000 hits on this topic and of course most are discussions and not demos but dig in there a bit and see the topical contrasts. And note that according to SW they have four times the subscribers. Now Google SE and SW with “direct editing”. 53,900 for Mega Number#1 SW and 1,600,000 for SE. Now try the same searches adding Video to the string and we get things like 1,660,000 for SE and 470,000 for SW. Now obviously a bunch of these are not actual videos and indeed in any of these categories I am asking you to type in the majority are not strictly what we asked for. BUT you can go through these and get an accurate picture of where these two companies stand on their opinions of the usefulness of direct editing, their commitment to bringing useful tools to users, (and yes I consider any company that does not have more than the most crude forms of direct editing is leaving the most single powerful productivity tool now out there from their paying customers) and the response from actual users where the rubber hits the road.

You need to look at a real version of direct editing before you dismiss it as the powerful tool it is. I believe with my own out-of-pocket money that you can’t beat Solid Edge and ST. I believe in it enough that I spend my own time and dime talking about it and let me assure you I don’t get one thin dime in any way from Siemens or SE. I have to pay my way at the Universities,buy my blog site and the computers I use, buy my software and if I am late like I am this year on renewal they graciously charge me interest on top of the yearly fee. (Then these same guys turn around and want me to help sell seats for them 😦 Quite frankly they make me mad sometimes but I have to remind myself that I started doing this because I wanted to and that reason is still valid.) But I think that in the community of all cad users once you get past the fanbois stuff if you are going to be an advocate you ought to at least have a good reason besides being a zealot. I talk about SE because it interests me as software and because I honestly believe it is the best value and most useful MCAD tool out there. The guy that talked me into SE ST saved me a ton of money and time over the years and maybe I can pass that on to you. I know I appreciated it. This little journey into the world of SW and move face has been an eye opener. I know I spend my own money and so do you, or your company does. I know I hate getting bad information that I will later be spending my time and money on. This is precisely why I am here with SE and Siemens. There is a proven track record of doing what they say they are going to do and bringing the single most powerful tool in the design world to you, ST. I get a chuckle out of those bemoaning old kernals when I think well yeah, some people can do new things with proven “old” technology and others can’t.

So what really is left for SW users. Three things I believe. They get to work with a design program that is quite capable but is quickly falling behind the productivity advances being made elsewhere. It is still the largest single user base with the not insignificant benefits that can bring. And finally they are data hostages whom Dassault hopes will have to stay because the perceived grief of changing will be too onerous. I see only one compelling reason here in market share and it is going to diminish. In the mean time I am bringing in your MCAD files and doing things quicker than you can with your own created data. Is there something wrong with this picture?

I believe, and so does Dassault because they tell you so if you care to listen like Sicot did in September, that you SW users are in for turmoil and forced change anyway. I think it is patronizing corporate-speak when these Dassault guys tell you your beloved SW will not change. You are soon not going to get the choice of continuing on as you have been accustomed to with your old familiar tools unless you drop maintenance and stay with a particular version. That has a price tag to and you all know this. Or you can make a rational decision to pick the change you are going to be inevitably forced into. You don’t have to like it but you WILL have to deal with it. I think of all the programs out there switching to SE is more painless than anything else and I am betting far less painfull than the migration from SW to Catia Lite will be. Change brought to you by Parisians that have forgotten what made SW great or change brought to you by SE with stable planning with attention to what users want with far more productivity.

2 responses to “SolidWorks, Direct editing and Data Hostages

  1. Sorry to say I half expect DS will miss the Jan/Feb delivery as well with SWMC although personally I would prefer it never arrived at all is it is still what was originally proposed.
    If it does happen to slip again its almost certain to wear pretty thin on the already less than enthusiastic audience.
    Sort of like the slow clapping that breaks out for the magician who misplaced the rabbit and then lost track of which cup had the peas under it….if you know what I mean… 😉
    I blame myself you know Dave. I should have staged a decisive coup a few years ago and then gone on to purge the world of similarly unhelpful politicians and bankers.

    • Hi Neil,
      Who knows what is going on there. These guys can’t possibly be, I hope, this disorganized or stupid so I wonder what the real story is that they are not telling. About world domination. I decided I was to busy to try and convince fruitcakes and welfare bums to vote for me so until I can do a military takeover I will stay in the background.

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