Project Butterfly: Free web based AutoCAD?
Let`s take a small break on the GPU rendering articles and go to another trend, this time is about internet. We have a bunch of applications been released this days with online versions like office suites and even illustration tools like the amazing Sumo Paint. A few weeks ago I have showed a project from Autodesk called Dragonfly, using Flash to bring a quick interior design tool with the ability to add and see objects and scenes in 3d. This is an example of what could be accomplished using only web based applications.
Well, this week I found out about another project from Autodesk that has a more complex goal, which is to create a simple version of AutoCAD running on a web browser. This project is called Autodesk Butterfly.
If you don`t want to visit the project web site, they have an introductory video explaining how it works:
Despite the fact that I had a few problems launching the application on my Mac OS X, the software worked out really great on a windows machine, using both Firefox and Chrome. So far, the project has only a few tools and it`s aimed on the visualization and collaboration between team members. A quick look on the interface will reveal only a few drawing commands, but a lot of tools for visualization.
This is a great idea for users that don`t want to install a DWG or DXF viewer on their computers, only to show of a few ideas to a client or even work on a new computer. The solution to send technical drawings to clients so far, involves the use of PDF files or other ways to allow someone without CAD experience to view the projects.
If the project remains a free web based application it could work as a true solution to view CAD files. For instance, we would be sending a link to a client instead of a big PDF file. I would love to evaluate academic projects using an online tool like this too; it would make the life of teachers a lot easier.