Fasten your eye-buckles kiddos. Now, you know Onshape kicked off the year announcing Parametric Modeling 2.0. They got a two-for-one deal on 2.0 names apparently, announcing today Data Management 2.0.

They also got a two-for-one on kickin’ design problems IN THE ASS since, like configurations, multi-part and in-context design in their Parametric Modeling methodology, the features in their Data Management methodology shift the work away from work-arounds and manual workflows to a method that keeps the model in-context of the workflow instead of something you jam into and out of another system or in a binder bin next to the breakroom with the five broken coffee makers.

There are two components to Data Management 2.0 (DM2.0)–Release Management & Approval Workflow (RAWs) and Simultaneous Bill of Materials (BOMs). Let’s have a look. But first…

What’s So Different About DM2.0?

Jon Hirschtick breaks it down. He points out six principles that, in themselves are not necessarily unique but, together, provide a foundation to streamline BOMs and RAWs. They focus on:

  • A database, not files
  • Secure cloud workspace, not scatter copies
  • Parallel, not serial
  • Instant collaboration, not meetings
  • Design and data in one place, not many
  • Zero IT

Hear that Sys Admin Frank? ZERO IT. Go mine your crypto on the company’s mainframe, leave us to designing THE FUTURE.

Now, those capabilities are nothing new–however, no one has brought them together in a CAD app with a cohesive approach to part and revision workflow. So, even more, (and it’s evident with these new features) Onshape has brought everything together in a 3D modeling software built from the beginning on streamlining the product development process.

Release Management & Approval Workflow

There are as many release management and approval workflow methods as there are colors in your monitor. You work within one or another every day most likely. Onshape captures the needs at the core of this process with an new approach to release management and workflows. Here’s how Jon states it:

Like everything else in Onshape, creating a release candidate and approving a release does not block anyone from continuing their work – no waiting for check in and check out. We allow users to create a proposed release for any combination of parts, assemblies, configurations, and other assets as a single release.

With this, it moves through a release or obsolete workflow with revision, part number and release conditions set by you. Everyone using Onshape in your company knows what’s happening to parts and assemblies along the way. No jumping out to check this system or that system, check the redline binders or ask someone the status of that part that’s already two weeks late. Though it may not fit your current workflow, revision or part number scheme, it’s flexible enough to handle a lot of scenarios and, word is, this is just the beginning.

Simultaneous Bill of Materials

I know you know the tricks for viewing your BOM while modeling. Whether it’s exporting it to a spreadsheet or embedding it in a drawing or configuration, it’s inefficient at best. Here’s how Jon describes a Simultaneous Bill of Material:

Now in Onshape your BOM is created and updated automatically while the assembly is designed. In fact, it is not just kept in sync, it is also a simultaneous way to edit the assembly, just like the sheet metal table in Simultaneous Sheet Metal and the configuration tables in Simultaneous Configurations. Your Onshape BOM is never out of sync with the assembly it reflects.

Along with this, they’ve released a BOM API which allows you or their partners to build custom apps (like OpenBOM) that extend what you’re able to do with that BOM data.

I honestly teared up a little when I saw these features because I know how much time I spent on other methods and systems, setting up and documenting other methods and systems, and arguing about other methods and systems.

It’s ridiculous (in a good way) how much Onshape has simplified these two aspects of the design process. I think the biggest realization I had upon seeing the new features is how we get used to workarounds and inefficient systems, to the point we defend them, even justifying them based on the larger amount of time it takes–that’s what’s really ridiculous (in a bad way).

Voxel Innovations is using Onshape, so I ask Michael Bromley, Lead Mechanical Engineer, how they use the new release management and approval workflow. Previously, they had a very manual and error-prone process trying to handle release management through a development branch and a released branch. He told me:

The new release management process now ties a revision history to individual parts, assemblies and drawings.  This is a critical feature for documentation and using the search functionality to find an as-built part.  There is now a discrete documented state of a part/assembly/drawing that can be located in a released state.  Therefore we can set a process in place that only a part/assembly/drawing in a released state can be manufactured or ordered.  We will use the release management process for all of our project related data.

I’m really curious to know if these features have changed anything for you, whether they helped you like they helped Voxel or changed something else. Please comment or email–would absolutely love to hear from you.


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.