Real time collaboration with AutoCAD WS

October 3, 2010 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

When AutoCAD WS was announced, everyone was speculating what WS would stand for. There’s even a poll on the Internet to be found here.
But it was clear that this is another way to make use of Project Butterfly – sharing DWGs online, but now also accessible for mobile devices like the iOS devices of Apple.
Now that it is officially released on the 30th of September 2010 it lacks most of the possibilities Butterfly has today. But enhancements and improvements are already announced and are on their way.

To my opinion AutoCAD WS stand for Web Share or Work Share. If so, then it’s mend to be a collaborative tool for designing to get mutual understanding and agreement of the design.

Well my friend Bas Siebers (@BasSiebers) and I both of us have an iOS device and we wanted to test this real time collaboration behavior of AutoCAD WS. So we did. And we came up with some conclusions:

  • there is no communication tool, chat board or something else where you can discuss your design with each other.
    Instead we’ve placed text objects and changed it’s contents if needed.
  • you can not see where in your design your invited partner is active. Within Butterfly you could see at least a mouse cursor moving across the screen. Yeah I know, this seems more difficult to implement then it is. What about a sort of colored cursor or dot to start with and as soon as you tab your finger on the drawing your cursor will move to that location.

So assigning colors to invites would definitively make a difference. Now you have to assign your own color where it is mend to be used for drafting purposes.

Other stuff we ran into had to do with the use of AutoCAD WS. Autodesk has to take a look at the GUI of iOS apps:

  • text edits; the cursor under your finger can’t be seen, so Apple invented a magnifier glass. This should also be implemented when snapping to objects.
  • copy and paste/replace; when you’ve selected a text a context sensitive menu appear above the text. This should also be implemented when you select an object, and of course depending the type of object, the menu options changes what you can do with it, copy, rotate, scale, etc.

Further more there should be a distinct difference in usage between redlining and editing objects to clarify comments for changes and real edit work. The time line function of Butterfly should be implemented this way too. So you can see after delivering comments for changes if edit work has been done correctly.

But I know, this product is just released and will be enhanced and improved in the near future.
Overall a good concept and product. So let’s wait what the future will bring.

Me and my friend ended this real time collaborative session in a Tic – Tac – Toe game. And of course I won (by cheating) 🙂


Entry filed under: AutoCAD General. Tags: , , , , .

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