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AutoCad ADT 2006 while we are at it.

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] I need to correct some misconceptions about the new AutoCad ADT 2006 upgrade. I wrote about the problems I was having and suddenly I was the poster boy for ADT 2006 review - if it didn't work for me, it won't work for you. The fault turned out not to be with the software but with my video graphics card in my laptop that ultimately failed and is still off line waiting for the in-house Dell technician to arrive in a few minutes.

I'm not sure if the differences between 2005 and 2006 are dramatically different although some of the features in 2006 are very slick. The zoom controls enlarge the view like the zoom controls on a camera rather than window in and simply redraw the screen. I'm not sure how much this is worth to you, but it does impress me as a smooth and polished software. The text features are no longer as obvious as they were in the past. Autodesk has tried to make them more intuitive, but the majority of users who wrote comments about it on the ADT forum miss having the commands on a pull-down menu (which it still might be) or on a toolbar. The commands are still there, but you have to customize your system or rely on catalogs (or creating your own custom catelog as I have done) to use the features. Still, once you grow accustom to the changes, you begin to understand the expanded power of the context sensitive right mouse button.

This verson does more to explain and integrate the features of ADT with Sheetsets which were incompatible in prior versions. Sheetsets were predomently used by generic Autocad users while ADT relied on Concepts, Views and Sheets to assemble your production set. The newer version keeps better track of your work and is more user-friendly when working in 3D drawings.

I've added on a few custom menu's including one from our List member Mark Johnson who has created a few lisp based structural shapes. The reason for this is that I believe there are fewer choices on the Structural Shapes library than in past ADT choices - there certainly are less choices for joist hangers and here I downloaded and use the Simpson Autocad menu that works just fine in 2006.

The underlying truth is that Autodesk wants to protect their proprietary format and this version of Autocad is a rewrite from prior versions that does a better job of protecting their work. I am not an admirer of this because there should be an open source or DWG compatibility between software packages from the practical aspect that not everyone wants to own Autocad but that most of us must work together professionally and need a compatible format that is not as basic as DXF and retains a higher level of formating. DWF is fine, but does not allow modifications and can not be integrated into another CAD package used by your client. Unfortunately Autodesk is not getting the revenue in new sales that they expect for a publically traded stock and their value is dependent upon an annual subscription fee which now requires at least one major upgrade per year. Whether this one is worth is or not is not even relevent because if you choose to skip over it, the next one will cost you twice what your subscription fee is. Moving from 2005 to 2006 is $600.00 for the year. Moving from 2004 to 2006 is $1,200.00 - you pay for it one way or the other and at some point, you must upgrade or return to purchase the next set for full retail (somewhere in the $5,000.00).

So, take the reviews that we write with a grain of salt - the problems we point out are not tested and proven to be the fault of the software developer - they are based on our own frustration and desire to find a reasonable solution. What I've read made me feel like an embarrased Autocad guru who was wrong and now will have some companies blaming me for putting them on the wrong track - this is not the case and you need to do more research into this matter than one man's opinion.

I'll stick to the upgrades for now - at least until I retire and don't need to draft another line.

Dennis S. Wish, PE

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