SolidWorks World 2016 left 7,000 people overloaded by breakout sessions, inspired by customers, and smelling of the finest barbecue in the world. While the General Sessions were a bit all over the place, mingling product announcements amongst customer stories and keynotes (with beer, boobs and Yves Behar being the highlights), underlying it all was a very unapparent structure being erected while people watch on, networked and nursed really awful hangovers. Over the years, we’ve wondered, discussed and argued the direction Dassault was taking SolidWorks. I finally have some clarity on this and I think it’s about damn time to get it out there for all those frustrated with what’s being done with SolidWorks.
What does all that chicken scratching mean? Well, let’s break it down.
The ‘SolidWorks Innovation Platform’ is Everything SolidWorks
The ‘SolidWorks Innovation Platform’ was introduced at SolidWorks World this year. Getting users familiar with the concept, is important to users understanding how SolidWorks products are being developed and where SolidWorks products are going. “We’re going to be referring to the SolidWorks Innovation Platform a lot this year,” said Gian Paolo Bassi during the opening General Session. What is the SolidWorks Innovation Platform? Very simply it’s all things SolidWorks. To expand this, it encompasses what SolidWorks users user to innovate. It goes beyond only SolidWorks. SolidWorks is not simply one product any longer. It’s a range of products. The platform itself is not a product, it’s the assorted cookie tray in Bernard Charles hand.
My.SolidWorks is an important aspect of the SolidWorks Innovation Platform. As Kishore Boyalakuntla (Senior Director Product Portfolio Management and SOLIDWORKS brand UX leader) confirmed, My.SolidWorks is the central hub for all things SolidWorks. It’s powered by Dassault’s NetVibes and Exalead products. It’s an integral part to the idea of platform of connected products. They loaded it up with more features last year, and you can expect more features and interconnectedness to come. Of course, My.SolidWorks is optional, but it’s there to get the most out of all the products and ultimately, it could be the hub that eases the transition to a new modeling environment.
xDesign: The SolidWorks Browser-based Development Path
Outside of My.SolidWorks and SolidWorks Online Edition (powered by Frame), we’ve not seen any browser-based development talked of since 2010. That changed this year with the announcement of SolidWorks xDesign, a browser-based, platform-independent application that includes modeling, design guidance, model-based definition (MDB), collaboration and the first component of Xdesign, named Xdrive, for file management. According to Gian Paolo Bassi, beta will start soon, with product availability in the Spring of 2016.
The xDesign interface showing model tree, tools and versioning. Image: BeyondPLM
How Does This All Work Together?
Remember that diagram? That lays it out as explained and confirmed to me by multiple people at SolidWorks. My.SolidWorks is the web-based hub for all SolidWorks products, both desktop (SolidWorks, MDB, SWCD, SWID, Visualize, Composer, etc.) and cloud (Xdesign, Xdrive, etc). All of this together makes up the ‘SolidWorks Innovation Platform’. Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE Platform is the underlying layer that provides the tech/services for all of those products (just as Parasolid modeling kernel, owned/developed by Siemens, is used by those products).
So, SolidWorks has two clear development paths–Desktop and Browser. They’re using their treasure trove of technology to build out those products–Oh, and speaking of products, when you see Dassault use the word ‘Experience’ or ‘Experiences’, it’s not just a portfolio of industry solution products, it’s a portfolio of industry solution experiences. They’re not just delivering products, they’re delivering experiences. They want to replace things, with experiences, e.g. the Internet of Experiences, instead of the Internet of Things. See how that works?
Now the big question. Does all of this make sense to you now?