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Re: CAD Programs

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I can't believe all of your hooplah about all these low end cad programs without mentioning AutoCAD LT 97. It is a 2-D version of the "real thing" (who draws in 3-D anyway?), with the command structure familiar with R14 (in case the user wants
to "step up") and there is absolutely no debate about its compatibility with AutoCAD. 
All of my non-AutoCAD clients do not use any of the software that you mentioned (they use Microstation and Datacad) and I seriously doubt that, if they changed, they would switch to the software packages you mention.
With LT 97, the users of other low end cad packages can get pretty close to the "real thing" for under $500. There is a review of LT in this month's (November) issue of Cadalyst for those who are interested.
Bill Allen 
-----Original Message-----
From: Dennis S. Wish PE <wish(--nospam--at)>
To: 'seaoc(--nospam--at)' <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Tuesday, November 04, 1997 11:31 AM
Subject: RE: CAD Programs

>I don't disagree with your opinions here. The time and money
>invested in AutoCad over the years has been a driving factor in
>firms maintaining the program as their system of choice.
>The issue regarding DWG compatibility is an entirely different
>subject that I disagree with you. Before it's demise, Visual
>Cadd by Numera software (and then Corel Software and now IMSI
>Software) had the ability to read DWG files without the need for
>cleanup. In fact, Visual Cadd did this so well that whenever I
>received a DWG file that had a minor "glitch" associated with
>email transfers, I used VC to read the file and write it back to
>a new DWG file. AutoCad, on the other hand, refused to load or
>restore the file.
>Another such example had to do with the ability to open DXF
>files. A recent problem associated with a software (engineering)
>that created DXF files for insertion into AutoCad (and other CAD
>packages) had a bug that identified a color outside the range
>allowed by AutoCad. This caused AutoCad to dump the file and
>close the program down. However, Visual Cadd, Mini-Cadd and Dr.
>Quickdwg (a viewer program) easily read the file and associated
>the color with a substitute. The software developer resolved the
>problem and users had a work-around for something that the
>$3700.00 program could not correct.
>My point is that the issue of DWG compatibility is slowly
>becoming a moot point as it appears to be the standard which
>most CAD packages have adopted. Each developer may not be as
>successful as Visual Cadd for reading and writing DWG files
>while maintaining fonts (VC converts AutoCad fonts in both
>directions) colors and formatting. However, I believe that
>virtually all developers who plan to stay in the playing field
>will be improving their compatibility with AutoDesk's format.
>I use AutoCad and have been registered since release 11. I would
>gladly change to another system if I could only find one that
>provided the compatibility that I described with the stability
>of the company. This is why Visual Cadd users are not left
>orphaned when and if IMSI does not release Visual Cadd 3.0.
>Their files are compatible without conversion to AutoCad and any
>program that uses DWG format.
>Features are another issue. AutoCad excels at 3-D which programs
>such as Visual Cadd do not support. However, Numera, Corel and
>now IMSI, provide tools within their much cheaper programs that
>companies had to spend extra to add to AutoCad. These companies
>still need to upgrade support programs at the same time AutoCad
>upgrades releases to maintain compatibility. Granted, not all
>the time, but for the most part this is typical.
>Each of the lower priced competition offers flexibility to
>customize their systems. I understand that there would be a loss
>of productivity to switch systems, but isn't this more akin to
>holding the industry ransom rather than providing choices.
>Choice: continue to pay inflated prices or put your money into
>another company and using a portion of the savings to create a
>new custom office without loss of productivity.
>No, I think the real issue is one of market shares and
>stability. In my opinion, other programs such as Visual Cadd or
>whatever IMSI will end up calling it, are superior to 2D
>AutoCad. My concern is the longevity of the company, not the
>strength of the program. After using both programs, I find it
>much easier to be consistently productive with the features of
>Visual Cadd, however I am forced to stay with stay with AutoCad
>because of the potential for lack of technical support to
>correct known problems with other packages on the market. Visual
>Cadd by Numera went into hiatus without resolving some very
>pressing bugs. This left their user base high and dry until the
>carousel stops and IMSI gets off with their new product - then,
>how long will it last?
>Dennis S. Wish ******* ******* ******* ***
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