I remember starting my career in Finance. Personal computers were just beginning to be used and we had many programs that we accessed in order to get work done.
Most of the time we spent on our personal computers was to create spreadsheets, in Lotus 1-2-3. In order to print a spreadsheet, we had to give it commands regarding the paper size, something like /027[4w is what I remember it looked like. Basically, you were programming the computer with code.
We also had report writing software for the mainframe. We created reports in COBOL, common business language or something like that.
PC's had many operating languages at the time. There were several popular ones of course for PC's, DOS was becoming the most common.
Today, the tools people use for finance are very easy to use. You click the print ICON and you magically get a copy of your spreadsheet on your favorite printer. You can even have the spreadsheet automatically shrink-to-fit your paper. This was true progress.
This reminds me of where we are with CAD software. Today, most popular CAD programs, require you to do most of the work to create your design. You must tell the computer what the underlying sketches are and then how you are extruding them into solids. It's much like an electronic drawing board. Most CAD software looks the same when you get to the main screen. Because there is so much invested in this underlying structure, most CAD companies have decided that its more important to manage all of the complicated CAD data rather than to continue to improve the usability of their CAD program.
I am now seeing more demand from users for ease of use, flexibility and open design based on Explicit Modeling; to make not only the interface easier, but also to make the whole work flow easier. Some of this demand for usability and simplicity is also driven by management. It costs real time and money to be stuck in the past - designing like we did in the 80's. To remain competitive and to gain advantage in design and manufacturing - speed and cost reductions are paramount.
Paying high priced CAD programmers to use excessively complex and expensive CAD software hurts the competitiveness of the organizations. Expert designers are truly worth their weight in the organization not if they can learn a complex system, but if they can design products that are innovative and take advantage of manufacturing technology that will allow them to be produced quickly and for less money.
Our goal is to help our fellow manufacturers and OEMs to gain this productivity and to free the minds of the designers to create truly innovative designs without the worry of programming the CAD program to create the sketches and extrusions and then worry about the order of how the whole thing is built in the computer program. Designers can concentrate on the mechanical design and functionality of their products and how to design them for manufacturability when they are freed from the history tree and rebuilding process of today's most popular history-based parametric modelers.
The future is going to be an interesting place for companies that are designing and manufacturing products. We hope to help these companies to reach their potential capabilities quicker and to gain competitive advantage.
I'm interested in your thoughts.