SolidWorks:HEARD - The Next Chapter


For the past 8+ years I have been podcasting and blogging out of my interest to provide a place to share my excitement and knowledge in SolidWorks, engineering and tech.  It was a labor of love for many years and I look back at the late nights recording in my office at home and wouldn't trade it for anything.  So you may be asking, "Um... why are you telling me this?"  Well, this past week I resigned from Digital Dimensions after 12 and 1/2 years and will be starting a new chapter in my career as a team member at Onshape.

I want to thank Digital Dimensions for their support and sponsorship of the show.  Without their support, the show would not have been possible, especially the ability to ensure consistency, allowing me to record during business hours when necessary.

So what is the future of site as it exists today?  Well, the show will morph a bit to be more CAD neutral and branch out to focus more on CAD technology and engineering tools, much of which will be on the web.  The web, for me personally, is the platform of choice and a factor that weighs heavily on decisions I make when choosing tools to use.  I am not sure of the exact name of the site or the specific details yet but I am working on that as I type.  Obviously the SolidWorks:HEARD! name will change and the site URL will just redirect in order to make the transition as seamless as possible.

CAD and tech are still very much passions of mine and this site will continue to be an expression of that excitement.  The content, direction and topics will be selected by myself and you, the audience, and not that of my employer.  So stay tuned over the next few weeks as the transition takes place and for those of you that are subscribed to the feed, you will be directed over to the new feed once it is converted.  I want to thank you for the past 8 years of countless emails,  chats, social network interactions and comments and look forward to more tech discovery with you all in the years to come.  All the best!  ~Lou

SolidWorks 2011: Retirement Calls

The longer a product is in the market, the more likely features will be replaced or retired all together. SolidWorks 2010 came with a few retirement announcements like PhotoWorks and the Shape tool and now SolidWorks 2011 has a couple as well.

Yesterday I was informed and verified that 3D Instant Website, a web publishing tool within SolidWorks introduced in the 2001 version, was going to be retired in the 2011 release and the hosted offering of the service would be "unplugged" at the end of this year.  If you visit the administrator login page you can see this notice:


Product Retirement Announcement

Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation will offer alternative, higher value offerings to replace 3D Instant Website. DS SolidWorks will:

  1. Discontinue the hosting of customer websites created using 3D Instant Website functionality starting December 31, 2010.
  2. Retire the 3D Instant Website publisher after SolidWorks 2011.

After December 31, 2010, new and existing customers will still be able to create custom websites as before but for local hosting only. 

I remember rolling out SolidWorks 2001 and showing 3D Instant Website, which at the time was an offering in the "Office" suite of SolidWorks and was their first hosted offering.  I have talked about 3DIW a few times on the podcast and do look forward to the "higher value offerings" that will most likely be SolidWorks Connect, formerly introduced at SolidWorks World 2010 as SolidWorks PDS.

The other announcement is one most will not be too surprised about which is SolidWorks' recently renamed 2D Editor will be retired as well after the 2011 release.  The longevity of SW2DE was questioned when Dassault Systèmes announced the free "professional grade 2D" offering DraftSight a few months ago.  Despite various quotes from SolidWorks and the DraftSight teams that 2D Editor would still be offered, 2011 will be the final version of SolidWorks that the 2D Editor will be available for download from the Customer Portal.

2D Editor:

To better align with the Dassault Systèmes new 2D product - DraftSight™, DS SolidWorks Corp. will retire the SolidWorks 2D Editor. The SolidWorks 2D Editor download is planned to be available through the Service Pack cycle of SolidWorks 2011 (October, 2010 through October, 2011), after which time the download link on the SolidWorks Customer Portal will be removed.

Dassault Systèmes now offers DraftSight, which is available via download to everyone. DraftSight features an open, global online community that facilitates a collaborative, design-focused atmosphere where the community of CAD users can expand their knowledge, open new possibilities, and communicate with each other to find the answers they need.

To get started with DraftSight, visit and follow the download instructions.

To access the community, visit and create a DS Passport that grants access to community services.

Based on the response of DraftSight among SolidWorks users previously using SolidWorks' 2D Editor, this retirement seems to be warranted.  The important thing to remember is 2D Editor was not free however each seat of SolidWorks came with 3 seats of 2D EDitor.  DraftSight is free and available for download without a login to the Customer Portal.

With 2D Editor, previously named DWG Editor, no longer installing as part of the SolidWorks installation, installing DraftSight as a replacement takes less effort and, overall, is a more powerful, free product.

According to SolidWorks' Shaun Murphy, Manager of CAD Product Management, both retirement announcements will be reflected in the SolidWorks 2011 Release Notes once SolidWorks 2011 SP0 is available. ~Lou