The real story behind Vista and CAD formats


Another post on WorldCAD Access that should be in the “Microsoft can do no right” category. There are a few things though that have been mangled in transmission to the writer by the Microsoft reality distortion field (aka Microsoft PR) so I thought I would set them straight.

Microsoft is joyfully adding “open” CAD formats to Vista, as well as to its PDF wannabe, XPS.

Well, actually Microsoft is not adding CAD formats to Vista, not exactly anyway. In fact it is working the other way around: the CAD formats are adopting a piece of Vista. What Microsoft has done is make available the OPC specification which allows software developers (like ADSK, DASTY…and UGS) to create a standard package file . The OPC specification is basiaclly a standard ZIP formatted container with a few standard contents and a general “payload”. The standard contents are things like a bitmap image, an XML ‘manifest’ and a XAML3D thumbnail. The general payload section can contain anything…like DWF, 3D XML (or JT).
When Vista sees a file that conforms to the OPC specification it will extract the parts it understands (like the bitmap or XAML images) and leave the rest (the DWF, 3D XML, JT). So rather than Microsoft adopting CAD formats, CAD vendors will be forced to adopt Microsoft package specification…that is, if they want to be able to put out press releases on how Microsoft is adopting their formats.

I expect to see similarly self-importantly-worded press releases from UGS, et al, shortly.

You won’t be seeing one from us….because we already issued our “self-important” release over a year ago. We try to stick to the habit of releasing news once…when it’s still news.

The Road to El Dorado move






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