Written by Ana Canteli on 21 March 2018
AutoCAD is the software for the design and visualization in 2D and 3D of drawings, objects, cuts of objects, buildings, etc. It is a generic drawing program that includes basic geometry for 2-dimensional recreation, sketching; symbol libraries for different businesses -architecture, mechanics, industry- that allow you to select the figure you need and insert it into your drawing.
The program also recreates 3D pictures, thanks to the set of advanced tools that allow to process vector images and edit complex graphics. AutoCAD is used to manage the drawing by layers; this allows ordering it in independent parts with different colors or graphics and allows the definition and unique modification of many objects, scattered by the drawing.
The software’s applications are very varied. From projects and presentations of engineering, architecture, design or construction, to the preparation of plans or models.
In this context, many will send their drawings to their managers or clients and they will ask the technicians to preview the file. It is necessary to bear in mind that Autodesk, the company behind the AutoCAD software, changes the format of the files from time to time. In fact, this month - March 2018 - the file version will change to AutoCAD 2018.
The extension of the AutoCAD files is .DWG. When we find a document that presents this extension, we know that this file contains designs, geometric data, maps or photos. To be able to visualize this type of files, we need a Dwg file viewer with advanced features, both of AutoCAD file output quality, as well as facilities to manage plans, drawings or objects.
It is quite common for architectural companies to want to manage all their information, including plans, in a single repository. This is where document management systems come into play. These document management solutions, sometimes also called enterprise content management software, should facilitate not only the storage but also the preview of these documents.
The OpenKM document management system integrates a preview service for DWG files from a web environment. In other words, it allows you to preview DWG files in HTML5.
There are different DWG viewers in the market and we can even find an online Autodesk viewer, with a subscription service. Compared to the rest of the DWG viewers, OpenKM represents a qualitative leap to these services, since it combines the functionality of a powerful online viewer with all the functionalities of a document management platform.
This feature allows the management and manipulation of AutoCAD files, within the context of document management in the company. Allowing any user, even if they do not have the AutoCAD application installed on their computer, preview a document in DWG format simply with a browser and the OpenKM application.
Another crucial point in the process of previewing CAD files is to be able to view in the preview, all those documents related to that file, that means, not only display the selected file isolated but all those external references to other CAD files. One of these dwg viewers is CADViewer, which allows the management and manipulation of AutoCAD drawing files, within the context of document management in the company.
The combination of the OpenKM document management system and CADViewer - manufacturer of independent solutions to view CAD files - provides OpenKM with an online file viewer in an HTML5 web browser. Where not only the CAD file selected is previewed but also all those dwg files related to this document, which are also stored in the document management software itself.
The final goal is to get a realistic document display, which we commonly call dwg trueview. Additionally, CADViewer can provide us with other advanced functionalities.
This CAD viewer provides a powerful API to log in and manage the interaction with graphics from any platform. It also facilitates migration to other operating systems. Besides, it serves to manage AutoCAD files in a multitude of formats; in fact, this dwg viewer provider is expert in file versions: W3C, Web SVG, SVGZ, AutoCAD, DWG, DXF, DWF, MicroStation DGN, Adobe PDF, PNG bitmaps, JPG and GIF. In fact, the converter can automatically combine labels and geometries in logical objects in a drawing. In addition, CADViewer has an interface to create graphics objects and use them in dynamic interaction.
Cadviewer also facilitates the online viewer, for companies that need to carry out product, document, project and process management activities online, through the Internet. Virtually any web browser, enabled for Java will work with CADViewer, including IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera.
The graphical user interface is configurable when using the customizable API. To provide flexibility to users, CADViewer is structured so that any method in the icon interface can be enabled and disabled through configuration files.
The API is developed continuously and new methods are added based on the specific requirements of the user, to providing the end users of the clients more freedom to select a certain level of interaction. Developers can replace the icons in the predefined methods of CADViewer, with their own designs and thus create a fully integrated component.
No plugin is required; It does not have the download overload associated with other web display solutions. When using Java 1.7 standard, you do not have to install anything in addition to the standard Java installation. The dwg viewer is automatically downloaded as a small Java applet from the company's server, to the Internet viewer. The user only has to click on the file. Also, since DWF is converted into your server, the dwg file is not compromised when copied.
Cadviewer uses the standard DWF format to view AutoCAD files online. DWF was developed by AutoDesk and together with PDF are the two standards for the visualization of CAD documents. In any case, the user can choose or use the format they prefer.
The AutoCAD file viewer offers additional modules to meet the specific needs of its customers:
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