Platforms is one the most interesting trends in the modern enterprise software development. Existing engineering software platforms are trailing long list of problems. One of the questions today what technology or product can provide a foundation for future engineering platforms. Read more in my blog about this.
The development of cloud CAD systems is an important element in the puzzle of future engineering platform development. Although cloud CAD is focusing on the design innovation, the reality of modern cloud environments is setting up a different magnitude of challenges in data management. 20 years ago CAD developers left behind data management and focused on design, parts, assemblies and features. This is not an option in modern environment. To operate in current global environment, cloud CAD systems should solve the many data management problem at first place. It means to manage documents, parts, versions, design lifecycle processes and many other related topics. I outlined it in some of my earlier articles here and here – Why cloud CAD is closer to solve some PLM problems than you might think.
Onshape blog brings some interesting perspective on development of Onshape data management platform and how important these features for Onshape (If you haven’t had a chance to hear about Onshape, check one of my earlier blogs here). Navigate to the following link – What’s new in Onshape latest update (8/24/2016) and check out list of interesting feature – Filter, Labels, Team/ Company search, Folders and Versions from history. My favorite one is about Tab Folders. Here is the video:
An interesting part of Onshape platform is ‘document’. Although you might think about Onshape document as a kind of CAD assembly, it would not be accurate assumption. Onshape document is a container that can hold variety of information and data – parts, assemblies, drawings, imported geometry, applications developed by other partners, etc. From that standpoint, you can think about Onshape document as a project container of sort helping you to organize information. Folders can introduce an additional level of granularity and, at the same time, use a traditional paradigm of data structures CAD users are familiar with for many years.
What is my conclusion? Cloud engineering software development creates many data management challenges that until now existed on the sidelines. In the past, CAD developers were able to focus on design and save information in files. Many engineers stayed away from PDM systems considering them as an inevitable problem to manage designs, versions and share information between design groups and companies. For modern cloud CAD developers, data management is one of the most critical issues. Onshape seems to be on the interesting trajectory to solve these problems. I will look how to compare what Onshape does with other cloud CAD systems and try to bring my perspective to you in the future articles. Cloud CAD is first data management platform capable to manage design storage, versions and organize information flow. Only after that cloud CAD can focus on design issues. Just my thoughts…
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Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of openBoM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased