After the release of ZWCAD 2017, the Product Manager of ZWCAD, Daniel Huang offered some much-needed insight to users and customers around ZWCAD 2017.
In particular, he took the opportunity to introduce more value-added features of ZWCAD 2017 and solutions to improve work efficiency. Also, he went into detail into ZWCAD’s upgrade policy, which he characterized as “traditional but one for forever”.
Let’s take a closer look at what Daniel Huang has to say.
About the new generation of ZWCAD
I will just cut to the chase. Why would ZWSOFT decide to introduce ZWCAD 2017? And why took it so long to finally release it?
Software are evolving as time progresses, and we always want to offer a better solution for more users. This was the reason why we decided to introduce the latest ZWCAD (2017). Considering the fact that ZWCAD is a large CAD platform and we are reconstructing it instead of simply upgrading it, so you can’t say the time we have spent on it is too much. A good grounding ensures success in what one does, ZWCAD 2017 is a delivery of our ten years accumulation, and it’s the new generation of ZWCAD. To ensure every user can get the best from us, I don’t think it has taken too long.
Why would ZWCAD 2017 be called the third generation of ZWCAD? How do you define it?
There were a total of two iterations of ZWCAD in the past ten years. The first generation was totally based on IntelliCAD, which was the beginning of ZWCAD. And then the second generation reached a new height in both its functionality and expandability. The third generation, which is the ZWCAD 2017, apart from the advantages ZWCAD had in the past, now it displays more stably and runs more efficiently, and the capability of API is even better too since it has been comprehensively and thoroughly reconstructed. One of the reasons we reconstructed it was that more users can use it on different operating systems, so we will have ZWCAD for Mac and Linux. So far we have released ZWCAD for Windows, and Mac and Linux versions are on the way now. Users can finally try them out later this year. The new framework ensures the same technology in all of these versions, so as to bring users a consistent user experience across OS and further reduce the re-learning cost.
How’s the performance of ZWCAD 2017? Compared to its last generation, is it better? And what are the competitive advantages of ZWCAD 2017 over other CAD products?
Undoubtedly, ZWCAD 2017 is more stable and efficient. I have mentioned this just now. For example, with our new display mechanism, we have fewer flickering issues in ZWCAD 2017, so it is more user-friendly. Also, in terms of operating efficiency, we can see a 20%-40% improvement in opening drawings or other frequently-used functions, which greatly helps to shorten the working time of designers.
Besides, ZWCAD for Windows 64-bit system is also provided so your RAM can be fully used for more complicated tasks and larger drawings (even over 200M), or to handle multiple drawings at the same time. Compared to applications for 32-bit system that can only use 3GB memory, it is a huge step forward.
We have also enhanced the functionalities of ZWCAD 2017, including newly added grips and grids. And as a continuation of our innovation, we have included Undo Preview in this version, bringing users more unexpected experience.
Developers are also important, because they have developed a lot of easy-to-use tools and plug-ins for ZWCAD, offering ZWCAD the expandability to adapt to various needs of different industries. So now our ZWCAD 2017 offers strong API interface with powerful compatibility (including ZRX, LISP, VBA and .NET). The applications you have developed for either ZWCAD or other CAD software can be easily ported to ZWCAD 2017, so users can enjoy a more efficient design experience.
Technologies and challenges
We read from your press release that ZWCAD 2017 uses hybrid technology. Define the hybrid technology here.
We realized that we haven’t done enough to embrace various CAD technologies before ZWCAD 2017. In the past, we were more like digging deep into our own R&D capability and accumulating industrial experience, which can be seen from our products. And since ZWCAD 2017, we have realized that the integration of international technologies is essential to a CAD product, and it will surely accelerate the progress of ZWCAD.
In other words, the hybrid technology applied to ZWCAD 2017 in fact is an integration of international CAD technologies, which include technologies provided by technical organizations like ITC and ODA, and technologies provided by international providers, for example, render engine and LISP engine. During the whole process, ZWCAD has quickly gained what it needs to provide service to users with different needs.
Have you encountered any challenges during the development of ZWCAD 2017?
Of course we have encountered a lot of challenges during the development of ZWCAD. You can just imagine, like, how to strip separated technology and apply to all platforms like Windows, Mac and Linux? How to unify the performances of ZWCAD on different platforms? Or how to seamlessly integrate technologies provided by different providers and achieve the effect of “1+1>2”? , however, I am appreciated that I can work with a bunch of energetic engineers, and they have helped us perfectly solved these challenges together.
Subscription or perpetual license?
How can ZWCAD convince the mass “Pay as you go” CAD users to substitute Subscription with the traditional non-expiring licenses?
I don’t think it is necessary to “convince” these users, because they are capable of making their own choices. In the short term, the “Pay as you go” service sounds attractive, but it is not, and not to say “friendly” considering CAD is a large application system. The truth is, Subscription is not saving money, it is simply replacing the repurchase or upgrade every three years with a rental fee annually, so in the long run, it does not help us lower the cost. Instead, we have to spend extra administrative cost for it. For users who often use CAD, they care more about the application itself as well as its long-term cost (for example, the total cost in 5 or 10 years), so I have faith in our traditional but one for forever payment and upgrade policy, I am sure these are also what users want.
Belief and future of ZWCAD
What does your company believe? And how does the concept work for ZWCAD?
We always believe in being “Simple and Clear”, which can be seen from every aspect of ZWCAD. Our ultimate goal is not to provide a large and all-inclusive CAD, instead, we want it to be lightweight, simple and easy-to-use. Innovation and differentiation are also our constant pursuit.
In your opinion, what do you think of CAD industry? Do you agree that it has now become a sunset industry since 3D products are getting more and more popular these days?
Well, I would rather call it a “mature” industry. “Sunset” means it is dying, but the CAD industry isn’t. Today, millions of enterprises, designers and architects are still relying on CAD, and they have billions of DWG file data available for them and the number is still growing, in this case, CAD is absolutely indispensable. 2D drawings are especially important in every link (especially construction) of AEC or MFG industry, and its market is also a huge “billion-dollar” market.
I have to admit that 3D CAD/CAM and BIM solutions are getting a large share of the market (ZWSOFT also has its own 3D application, ZW3D), but in my opinion, 3D applications and 2D CAD both supplement each other, they can show their respective advantage in different stage of producing the final products, houses, machines or consumer goods, you name it. In fact, 3D and BIM solutions strengthen and broaden the capability of 2D CAD applications, instead of replacing it.
What can we expect from ZWCAD in the future?
We will continue to provide what users need for higher work efficiency. We are enhancing the compatibility and usability of different file formats such as PDF/DGN/DWF and we will also have more image formats in the future. As more advanced features are adding to ZWCAD, users can explore more possibilities with it. API will also be another focus, complete, efficient and highly-compatible APIs are what we have been pursuing.
Beyond that, we are building a closed-cycle to satisfy needs under different usage scenarios. For example, we have a mobile solution, CAD Pockets for users to open, edit and share DWG drawings anywhere, anytime. And in the future, we will provide more mobile solutions, cloud and Web services based on what we already have and then help users collaborate their design work under different usage scenarios. This is what we call a closed-cycle, within which users can enjoy a comprehensive and consistent design experience and more surprises.