I almost feel dirty just talking about 2D. Dirty, dirty, dirty. However, there’s another dimension to this multi-colored mix of Autodesk aggregation. It’s online. As in completely web-based, but it goes beyond that, which is where it gets really interesting.
The interwebular AutoCAD environment is wrapped in a social sauce giving you abilities to share, review and co-edit your .dwg’s with all of your 2-dimensional friends. It’s Autodesk’s Project Butterfly and it’s a step toward 3D on the web, in which Autodesk also has a Twitch for.
Here are some details on Butterfly and what it’s got going for it.
AutoCAD on the Web
AutoCAD on the web is exactly what Project Butterfly aims to be, but simply allowing you to draw lines in a web browser wouldn’t be all that cool. The whole idea of bringing an app to the cloud, is to make it all more accessible, so along with many of the central tools that groove your 2D mojo, they’ve added ways to share drawings with others and edit drawings simultaneously with other users. This is functionality that’s not even possible within standard the AutoCAD program.
It’s also available right now. You can try Project Butterfly without even signing up and no apparent restrictions on where you’re located. Here’s a closer look at what you’ll see when you try Butterfly:
Will 2D (or 3D) CAD on the Web actually happen?
In Butterfly, as with many web-based apps, you get a nice lag (depending on your speeds) that makes detailed CAD work extremely frustrating. Add multiple users separated by sketchy phone service and dreadful co-editing manners and it all seems a bit of a mess to deal with. In context of where we’ll see internet speeds and real-time data transfer heading however, there’s more promise here than we’ll want to admit.
My opinion is, it’s going to happen. It’s not going to be even near what we imagine though. We can get caught up with server speeds, features and data security, but it will eventually come down to where we want the context of the drawings and models we create. Web-based apps are starting to show how we can use this, from Google Wave to CAD-related apps like Vuuch.
But right now, we’re looking at 2D, and Project Butterfly definitely brings a new dimension to it. Have you tried it?