Sunday, January 24, 2010
AutoCAD as a web application
With the new Autodesk Project Butterfly you can edit your DWG drawings inside a web browser, over the internet.
After some initial attempts with limited functionality (ProjectDraw), Autodesk Labs now introduced a very interesting new web service which behaves more like a standard desktop version of AutoCAD. Unlike AutoCAD, you don't need to install any software. Butterfly runs just inside your internet browser.
The technology behind Butterfly is Adobe Flash, Adobe Flex and the computing power of the rented Amazon Compute Cloud.
Despite that Butterfly works with the AutoCAD file format - DWG, it supports only a limited set of DWG object types (see our benchmark drawing - Budweiser.dwg). One of the most interesting functions (would be popular even in AutoCAD) is the "Timeline". Using a simple slider you can roll back the drawing version to any older status of it. The file versions are saved "in the cloud" but you can import and export DWG files from/to your local computer.
All standard functions like object selection or mouse zooms use the same logic and almost the same speed as in full AutoCAD. You can use standard object types - lines, polylines, dimensions, raster images, blocks and their properties - color, layer, linetype, lineweight. For simple diagramming, sketching and drawing reviews, Butterfly can replace your desktop version of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT.