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June 20, 2005
3D XML Specifications And Player Available From Dassault Systemes
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
Each MCAD Weekly Review delivers to its readers news concerning the latest developments in the MCAD industry, MCAD product and company news, featured downloads, customer wins, and coming events, along with a selection of other articles that we feel you might find interesting. Brought to you by MCADCafe.com. If we miss a story or subject that you feel deserves to be included, or you just want to suggest a future topic, please contact us! Questions? Feedback? Click here. Thank you!

Dassault Systemes announced the availability at http://www.3ds.com/3dxml of the 3D XML (Extensible Markup Language) Specifications and Player, which will enable users to view and manipulate rich 3D data in a variety of industrial, consumer, and commercial environments.

3D XML is a universal, lightweight XML-based format that enables users to share live, accurate 3D data quickly and easily. 3D XML is suited for fast and efficient communication. Fully based on standard XML, it allows any software program to read, write, and enrich 3D XML content using standard tools. This capability will facilitate broad adoption of 3D and will lower the cost of converting files from existing 3D formats. Developed in conjunction with industry leaders, it provides unique features, such as multi-representation 3D structure, and unmatched compression for complex, accurate geometry, enabling rapid file transmission and shorter load times. Dassault Systemes uses the 3D XML
format in its entire line of products: CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, SMARTEAM, and SolidWorks. Moreover, all members of the CAA V5 and SolidWorks developer communities will de-facto endorse the 3D XML format and will deploy it on a wide scale to their end-users.

The 3D XML Player, also available at http://www.3ds.com/3dxml leverages the 3D XML Specifications and extends the use of 3D beyond traditional PLM applications. 3D content can now easily be incorporated into a variety of media, including but not limited to technical documentation, maintenance manuals, marketing brochures, websites, email communications, and many other everyday uses. With 3D XML, 3D becomes a true communication medium allowing users to "see what you mean."

The 3D XML Player is designed to work with a wide range of application suites, including Microsoft Office applications, on the web with the Internet Explorer browser or as a standalone application. It delivers Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office plug-ins, with 3D XML drag-and-drop capabilities.

"The 3D XML format is a cornerstone of Dassault Systemes' ambition to democratize 3D and demonstrates our commitment to openness," said Dominique Florack, executive vice president of Strategy, Research and Development at Dassault Systemes. "As 3D content is a core asset within the digital enterprise, it increasingly becomes critical for communication & collaboration. With the public release of the 3D XML Specifications, we are encouraging its wide adoption throughout all industries."

It didn't take long for Dassault to respond to an announcement that competitor UGS made a couple of weeks ago regarding its lightweight data format, JT.

This announcement is really an extension or natural progression of an announcement Dassault made last fall. 3D XML compresses highly complex data, with what the company claims, file sizes up to 99 percent smaller than those of formats prior to compression. 3D XML is based on, but leverages and extends Lattice Technology's XVL technology as part of a partnership announced last July. The technology provides rapid file transmission and shorter load times while maintaining the exact geometry of the files exchanged. Using 3D XML, users can drag and drop files into other applications such as email or office applications. The new format has potential to enhance collaboration around 3D
information to a broad range of users. The re-use of 3D information is what broadens the base of potential 3D users.

With a couple exceptions. unlike most formats, 3D XML is fully based on standard XML. Therefore, (theoretically) any software program will be able to read, write, and enrich 3D XML content using standard tools. This capability could facilitate broad adoption by other software developers (see immediately below) and lower the cost of converting files from existing 3D formats.

A couple of months ago Dassault aligned itself with Microsoft when it announced it would collaborate to support Microsoft's Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) format in its 3D XML format. XAML is the format for "Avalon," the code name of the next presentation subsystem for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Compatibility between 3D XML and XAML is intended to enable users of various 3D applications to view, modify, and customize 3D objects in an open environment and take advantage of 3D in any XAML-based application.

It seems kind of ironic that instead of consolidating, engineering and technical data file formats continue to proliferate with no end in sight. Beyond Dassault's 3D XML and UGS. JT, there are also Tech Soft America's HSF, Autodesk's DWF, and another emerging format put forth by UGS called PLM XML. As you can see, there is certainly no dearth of file formats above and beyond the myriad native file formats emanating from MCAD systems.

All of these file formats are all well and good in their own little universes, but they really complicate things very quickly when you move beyond that universe with regard to interoperability. Ultimately, we'll be able to enjoy direct CAD translation to and from native CAD file formats, but this is still a distant dream that will be realized somewhere down the road, although when is anybody's guess.

The Week's Top 5

At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

Spatial Corp., a Dassault Systemes (Nasdaq:DASTY) (Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company and market-leading provider of 3D components, today announced the R15 release of their 3D modeling and interoperability product lines. For ACIS, R15 includes the capability to offset surfaces with high curvature, small G1 discontinuities, geometric singularities, and illegal parameterization; extended ability to create smooth Skin and Loft surface networks; and support for Microsoft Windows XP x64 Edition. For R15, the InterOp line of translators includes updates to support translating CATIA V5 R15, CATIA V4 4.2.4, Unigraphics NX3, Pro/Engineer Wildfire 2, Solidworks 2005, Inventor 9, and Parasolid
16.1 files, and a new InterOp Connect programming interface with flexible data translation.

More than 100,000 AutoCAD software users have downloaded a free software component from SolidWorks Corp., enabling them to work with any DWG file, regardless of the AutoCAD version that produced it. The DWGgateway data translation tool enables any AutoCAD software user to open and edit any DWG file.

PTC announced that the Ukrainian-based ANTONOV Aeronautical Scientific/Technical Complex (ANTONOV ASTC) has launched its newest aircraft using PTC's solutions for PLM. The AN-148 regional jet is the first aircraft in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and among the first in the world, designed completely by means of digital technologies. The design was developed completely in a PTC software environment with more than 300 ANTONOV engineers using PTC's CADDS 5i for digital design, Windchill for product data management, and Pro/MECHANICA for mechanical analysis. ANTONOV is using PTC's applications to provide aerodynamic surface design; development of 3D assemblies and airframe
parts; design of piping and electrical systems; drawing documentation; 3D digital mockup for spatial integration and collaborative design reviews, and preparation of programs for numerically controlled manufacturing machines

Autodesk introduced Autodesk RealDWG 2006 technology for application development. Autodesk RealDWG 2006 (formerly ObjectDBX) enables third-party application providers to develop and market products that read and write AutoCAD DWG and DXF design data formats. Autodesk RealDWG 2006 is fully compatible with Autodesk's products, including AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor Series, and AutoCAD LT.

Delcam has set the target of selling more CAM software and services than PTC in 2006. The company believes that this ambitious objective is achievable based on the results of the latest survey of the industry by consulting and market research firm, CIMdata. Each year, CIMdata publishes its NC Software and Related Services Market Assessment and has recently issued its 2005 report. This shows that, in 2004, Delcam maintained its sales of $79.7 million, while PTC's sales stayed at $91.8 million. For 2005, CIMdata is predicting that Delcam will close the gap significantly on PTC. Although PTC is predicted to achieve sales of $97.8 million, Delcam is expected to achieve sales of $93.9 million.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

This Week

Lead Story
  • Dassault Systemes Delivers 3D XML Specifications And Player
    Product and Company News
  • Arena Solutions Increases Configuration Capabilities, Enhances Analytics And Adds Collaboration Tools For Its On-Demand PLM Platform
  • MSC.Software Joins Design/Simulation Council
  • think3 Expands thinkteam PDM Tool By Integrating With SolidWorks 3D Modeling
  • Turbomeca Implemented PTC's Windchill To Optimize Its Product Development Process
  • AxSTREAMTM Is Geared For Louisiana State University Turbomachinery Education Program
  • Lattice3D First To Announce 3D XML Support
  • Zastava Reinforces Design Innovation With IBM PLM Solutions Implemented By CAD-CAM Data
  • CD-adapco Celebrates A Year Of CAD-Embedded CFD In CATIA
  • Flight Refuelling Ltd. To Accelerate Time-To-Market With PLM Solutions From IBM And Dassault Systhmes
  • Pearson Prentice Hall Selects Mathsoft's Mathcad As Solution Engine For OneKey Engineering Resource
  • Delcam To Preview New Five-Axis Strategies At Methods Machine Matsuura Event
  • Autodesk Certifies SofTech's ProductCenter PLM For Autodesk Inventor 10
  • Boeing Deploys Dassault Systemes Update To Digital Tools For 787 Global Team
  • myVR Software Releases Real-time, High-Resolution, Interactive Streaming Solution For 3D Models With Freely Distributable Viewers
  • Icona Solutions Announces aesthetica V2.0
  • GibbsCAM Demonstrated at Haas Demo Day 8
  • Matereality v.2.1 Features New Products, Functionality, And Content
  • Elysium Announces Implementation Of CADportal At Hi-Tech Mold And Engineering
  • U.C.M. Resita, S.A. To Reinforce Market Leadership With IBM PLM Solutions
  • Agile Software Talks Best Practices And Compliance At European PLM Summit
    Related MCAD News
  • PolyVision Defines The Next Frontier In Enterprise Collaboration
  • GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Wins The UGS Asia Pacific PLM Excellence Award 2005
  • ANSYS And Habitat For Humanity Team Up To Serve Local Community
  • Delphi Completes $2.8 Billion Refinancing Plan
  • U. S. Steel Hails Formation Of Senate Manufacturing Caucus
  • 3Dlabs Wildcat Realizm 800 Graphics Technology Selected By NEC To Power Complex CAD And Broadcast Video Applications On Express Workstations
  • KUKA Robotics Introduces Explosion-Proof Robot
  • INCAT Client Magazine Insight Is Honored By International Association Of Business Communicators
  • Stratasys CEO Scott Crump Named Winner Of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2005 Award
  • GiveMePower Launches New Professional CAD System For Under $300
  • MatrixOne Introduces Semiconductor Industry Solutions To Drive New Product Introductions And Design-To-Manufacturing Processes
  • Lattice3D Expands Distribution In Europe
  • MatrixOne Powers New Customer Portal For Tower Semiconductor
  • R. L. Polk & Co. Introduces Polk's Center For Automotive Studies
  • KUKA Robotics Signs Programming Plus As New System Partner
  • U.S. Congress Recognizes Seagate Engineer For Advancing Society, Culture, And Commerce
  • GCS Expands Reseller Channel For Conisio PLM Software
  • Delphi Medical Wins New Contract With Applied Biosystems
  • 3Dlabs Wildcat Realizm 800 Graphics Accelerator Chosen By Fujitsu Siemens Computers For Celcius R630 Workstations
  • IBM Unveils New Clustering Technology And Integration Of AMD Opteron Processor-Based Blade
  • Blended Winglet Equipped Boeing 757-200 Receives FAA STC Approval
  • Desktop Engineering Launches Digital Edition
  • Research And Markets: IBM Mobile Losing focus?
    Corporate Moves
  • SolidProfessor Adds Two Key Members To Its Management Team
    Upcoming Events
  • 3D Systems Announces Reichental To Speak At 28th RP Symposium Of Japan
  • DP Technology Corp. Reports On Its ESPRIT World Conference 2005
  • Autodesk Extends Invitation To Join Its Annual Shareholder Meeting
  • 3D Systems To Exhibit At 16th Design Engineering & Manufacturing Solutions Expo In Tokyo

    You can find the full MCADCafe event calendar here.

    To read more news, click here.

    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.