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Intellicad 98

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I responded to a question related to software - specifically FEM and CAD. I 
mentioned that Online would be reviewing CAD packages in the issue due out 
the last quarter of this year. 
I received the Visio Technical Design Suite (Visio Technical and Intellicad 
98) for the review and installed it last night. I also ran through the press 
information and manuals. In the process, I played with Intellicad 98 for 
about an hour.

Let me give you a preliminary opinion based upon my "gut" reaction to the 
features.  The review will cover the products in much greater depth and, 
correct any misconceptions in case I incorrectly state the programs abilities 
on the listservice. If there are misconceptions, I believe they will be minor 
at the most since the program is one of the most AutoCad compatible products 
I've seen.

1. VISO claims compatibility back and forth between Autocad R14 and earlier. 
I don't just mean the ability to read and write DWG formats, but the ability 
to use Lisp routine, ADS routines, shapes and hatches that you would 
ordinarily have in your AutoCad directories. In fact, they claim that most 
add-on's written for Autocad will work with Intellicad.  I have not verified 
this as yet, but intend to do so. 
2. Intellicad appears to support full 3D drafting and rendering. They use the 
coordinate system most friendly to engineers - the Right Hand Rule for 
coordinate systems and for rotation.
3. If you know AutoCad, you can immediately start drawing in Intellicad. This 
is true. There is a little getting used to menu and toolbar locations, but 
for the most part I was editing a drawing from Autocad within a few minutes.
4. Complete compatibility with Xref drawings. I'm not sure about this one, 
but I believe that Intellicad will allow you to change entities on an 
Xreferenced layer which you can not do in Autocad.
5. You can choose the Noun-Verb or Verb-Noun approach to drafting. In other 
words, you can chose an action and then pick and object or visa versa. This 
helps the transition from other cad products such as DataCad.
6. Plotting capabilities are handled through a third party plot program 
WinLine. If I am correct, SEAINT Online (when it was SEAOSC Online) reviewed 
WinLine. Again, I apologize if I am wrong since I am grabbing from memory. 
Winline was an Austrialian Company who wrote the program to support orphaned 
pen plotters. It gave the use great control over the plotter settings. 
Intellicad has incorporated WinLine into their product which provides great 
control over the finished drawing. 

For a suggested $349 retail and $149 competitive upgrade (for Intellicad 
only) this is a product that can't be beat. I need more time to play with it 
so I can figure out why anyone would want to spend $2,800.00 for AutoCad?

BTW, if you are concerned - VISIO is a publically traded company (VSIO) and 
the stock seems to be at a great price right now. I am a novice in this area 
but I did check out the history and believe that they are moving in the right 

Dennis Wish PE