It’s been a few weeks since I was at the SolidWorks 2013 media event in Waltham, MA. There have since been several articles written about SolidWorks 2013, by Roopinder Tara, Brian McElyea, Anna Wood, Ricky Jordan, Matt Lombard, Randall Newton, and probably many more.
I already gave a preview of my observations about SolidWorks 2013, in the article Gian Paolo Bassi on SolidWorks 2013. Today, I’ll reveal more.
What I saw in SolidWorks 2013 were two distinct things. First was a focus on stability, reliability, and bug fixes. Second was a palette of enhancements that were either technically minor (not requiring tearing apart big chunks of existing code), made at the periphery of the software (not in its core), or added-on (through the API.)
Based not just on what I saw and heard at the media event, but also on comments from confidential sources, I’ve learned what appears to be the deep secret of SolidWorks 2013:
SolidWorks V1 (the current generation of product, which has been developed and sold for about 18 years) is being transitioned from active development to “maintenance mode.”
Now, before you get too excited, I’d like to point out that this doesn’t mean that the program has been abandoned, deprecated, or put on the back burner. It just means that the focus of development for V1 will be likely be bug fixes and improvements that can be made without creating regressions.
Think of the analogy of a building. SolidWorks V1 won’t be getting any new floors, and it’s unlikely that there will be any major demolition. They may move a wall here or there, but most renovation will be non-structural.
For many SolidWorks users who are essentially happy with the program, far from being a bad thing, this is probably a cause for celebration: More reliability, many small functional and performance improvements, and no big disruptive changes to how the program operates. What’s not to love?
DS SolidWorks Corp is exceptionally focused on their user community. While they stumble from time to time (as do all CAD vendors), there’s no way they’re going to abandon a half-million commercial SolidWorks users, and tell them “sorry, we’re not updating your program any more.” If they did that, it would kill their new product sales, but, just as bad, it would kill their revenue from subscription service contracts.
As a purely practical matter, SolidWorks 2013, 2014, 2015, and so on will need to provide enough value to existing users that they want to maintain their subscription service contracts in force. The management of DS SolidWorks recognizes this. There’s no chance they’re going to forget it.
One hint that they understand this can be found on the “jobs” page of the SolidWorks website. There are jobs open for software engineers in sketcher development and CAD assemblies. The descriptions make it pretty clear that these jobs are all about making SolidWorks V1 a better product: “Assist in removing limitations or to extend system capabilities.”
If you’re a SolidWorks user, I’d say it’s well worth looking at the 2013 release. It won’t be flashy, but it’ll help you get your job done better.
P.S. – You may wonder, what about the next generation “V6” SolidWorks products? Yes, the developers at DS SolidWorks are hard at work on the next generation product line. The first product in the line are scheduled to be out next year. But it will be many years and many releases before the V6 generation products become functional and compatible enough to be a practical replacement for the existing V1 generation. My opinion is that you don’t need to worry about DS SolidWorks forcing you to transition from V1 to V6.
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corporation www.solidworks.com
Kevin Quigley says
The simplest way to “add value to subscription” is to include the v6 products with all subscription contracts for v1.That way existing users can transition at their own pace and have a fall back to v1 when they need to do things v6 cannot do yet.
Jon Banquer says
So far not one CADCAM company has effectively targeted SolidWorks users. The only decent effort I’ve seen is from Solid Edge resellers. Unfortunately, Solid Edge resellers don’t get the support they need from Solid Edge US manglement who continue to be obsessed with spreading SolidWorks kernel FUD. This leaves Solid Edge resellers left to their own devices to try and show why direct modeling is better than history based modeling.
CADCAM Technology Leaders group on LinkedIn
John Layne says
Looking forward to the stability and bug fixes. I don’t see anyone commenting on the new SolidWorks Electrical products, I would classify that as a major addition, for the machine designers it’s a big deal.
Evan Yares says
SolidWorks Electrical *is* a big deal. So is SolidWorks Plastics. Yet, neither is new. They’ve been sold by Trace Software and Simpoe (respectively) for quite some time. What’s new is that SolidWorks has OEMed them, and is offering them through their reseller channel.
I’m a big fan of SolidWorks Electrical, in particular. I covered it in an article in Design World earlier this year.
John Layne says
I’d be interested to read the article, but searching here and on on Google for SolidWorks Electrical didn’t get be anywhere. Could you post a link?
Evan Yares says
You can find it at http://www.designworldonline.com/electrical-design-for-solidworks-users/ The product was called ElecWorks back then.
What was the Deep Secret? Was it that your convinced they are not going to wreck their revenue stream? Wow, who knew.
Ryan McVay says
Hey, I could have sworn that it was SIMPOE, a partner, that is the owner of SW Plastics- NOT DS/SW. Let’s give credit to those it is due.
“Under this agreement, SIMPOE will develop and maintain the new
SolidWorks® Plastics simulation software product line,..”
Evan Yares says
The product was originally developed by Simpoe. SolidWorks signed an exclusive agreement to distribute it, under the SolidWorks Plastics name.
Eyal Siryon says
I’ve just read an article in solidworkscommunity that claims that simpoe and will have integration in space claim. if SolidWorks OEMed them, who is incharge of the solidworks plastic product? what will happen to it in the future if simpoe are still developing it and investing in other directions?
Andrew Miller says
You speak confidently considering that you’ve clearly never used Solidworks. Fun fact: it’s absolutely terrible. Bugs persist for a decade-plus as their community screams. Every release is accompanied with the old “we focused on bugs and usability” lie, yet every release is more unusable and bloat-filled.
Solidworks Elec has a long way to come before I’ll endorse it as a good bit of software. For starters what they refer to as a ‘macro’ isn’t in fact a traditional macro, but a stupid copy paste pallette. It should just be called favs or something. Also it causes major problems with integrating design process. If you don’t have the same dept. or people working on the modeling/mechanical portion of the designs vs. the electrical / cabling portion, Solidworks Elec makes the elec 3D hierarchical
so that if something changes within the model, the elec dept won’t know unless there’s very good communication rather than full integration platform between the regular SW and SWE.
Also, a “finished/completed cable” say from a manufacturer usually has a connector on each end. Well this software in 2D will not allow you to add connectors to a cable. They just count the multiconductor cable by itself as a part number instead of allowing you to add connectors as a part of the “cable” part number. connectorconnector. How hard was that…c’mon!! I’m anxiously awaiting SWE to step up their game becuase this costly waste of time hasn’t been all as expected from the start.