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
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