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Posts Tagged ‘ACIS’

The Continuing Relevance of Spatial’s 3D Software Components

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Last month we attended the Spatial Insider’s Summit 2014 and got a good look at the company’s technologies, current position, and future direction.

From its inception, Spatial, a Dassault Systèmes company, has been a developer and provider of software components – modular software packages that perform a set of specific and related functions. This class of software is designed to work as a functional component of a larger application, such as CAD, CAM, or CAE. The goal of component software is to standardize the interfaces between software components so that they can work together efficiently

Although far from the only issue of concern, reusability also is a vital characteristic of software components. Ideally, software components should be designed and implemented in such a way that many different applications could reuse them. This is not an easy task because it takes significant effort to write software components that are effectively reusable. To succeed, components need to be:

  • Fully documented
  • Thoroughly tested
  • Designed knowing that they inevitably will be put to unforeseen uses.

In developing its software components, Spatial has always realized, too, that the best modeling components excel at modeling with imported data, and through data reuse, data import is more prevalent than data creation. With regard to the second part of the statement, Spatial understands that design data reuse is much more than just data exchange.

Spatial Software Components in Fabrication and Manufacturing


Kernels Do Still Matter

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

For the past several years there’s been a lot of chatter throughout the MCAD industry about the significance, or rather, insignificance of one of the main software components – geometric modeling kernels. In other words, do they really matter anymore? I contend that they definitely do still matter.
While it is true that few users really care about the origin of the modeling kernel in their CAD tool, software component kernels are good for the following reasons:

  • They are developed, supported, and maintained by an expert source that focuses on improving specific aspects of the kernels/components.
  • They allow relatively small software organizations to develop applications relatively economically and lets them focus on what they do best on the application side.
  • They are updated and released on a regular schedule so software developer customers can time their application releases accordingly and regularly, knowing that improvements have been made to the kernel.

Of course, a counter argument could be made regarding software components, but most of software component software development and end user customers I have spoken with over the years have generally been pleased with the arrangement and results.

At the beginning of December, we saw a news item stating that some technical institutions in Russia were collaborating and investing ~$22 million over three years to build a “national” 3D solid modeling kernel. According to the news release, “Parasolid is indicated ‘as a functional prototype’ for the project.” What this means for the CAD industry as a whole remains to be seen, and I’m not convinced that a “national” 3D solid modeling kernel is necessarily a good thing, but the effort illustrates that component software is still viable today and into the future.

3D software components are the legacy of several component vendors, with components that include ACIS, CGM, Parasolid, eDrawings, and many others. These components and their developers will continue business for a long time to come. As they were in the past, software components will remain significant and relevant into the future for the MCAD industry.

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