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Microspot has announced Tiger Spotlight capability with
most of their OS X apps and MacDraft 5.5.7 is one of them.
this Tiger integration of Spotlight very compelling. For
those who are not using Apple's latest operating system
yet or for
those working on Windows you should know that Spotlight is
the search technology that Microsoft has been talking about
for years and is planned for Longhorn. Today it exist in
Tiger and Mac developers can easily integrate it into their
-- especially those who are using Apple's latest Xcode tools
and working in Cocoa.
Spotlight in MacDraft enables you to instantly find data
inside your CAD files. The way this works is through the Object
Info palette. In my steel connector drawing I have made the
entire object a "group" and gave it object attributes which
can then be searched via the Find and Replace features in
the program or even better Spotlight. This way the object
can be a library item that can be recovered quickly and reused
in different projects.
MacDraft provides you five fields that you can custom name
(name, client, width, height and thickness were my choices).
You might think that Spotlight needs extra time to get this
information into its index -- like during a late night scan
of your hard drive. You'd be wrong. As soon as the information
is input into the Object Info palette and the file is saved
it's ready for Spotlight searching. Essentially saving files
immediately pumps the Spotlight meta data index with file
image 008 - 009)
- Integrated Spotlight Search
- Search files from Mac OS X Finder
Autocad File Support
MacDraft does a very good job of importing and exporting
Autocad files (see image 010)
The program cannot, however, deal with Autocad's xref system
of linked Autocad DWG files. Very few CAD program can actually.
It will also sometimes struggle with scale when Autocad files
have multiple scales inside. For folks who are just grabbing
Autocad files from the Internet, as in product manufacturer
files, this isn't a problem at all since they don't link files
via xrefs. If you work with someone who does use xrefs in
Autocad they will have to bind their xrefs prior to sending
you Autocad data.
- Import DWG/DXF Palette
Closing Comments and Suggestions
5.5.7 is creeping close to version 6 -- which hopefully
is on the horizon. There are several little improvements I
can suggest (some of which I have already discussed) which
would make this CAD program really sing. Firstly, a comprehensive
system for assigning keyboard shortcuts to tool palette tools
would be a great add. Currently you can assign many menu commands
and use the Function keys for various other shortcut items
but this is not enough. I've already mentioned the subtle
interface comments; one suggestion would be to make tear-off
palette strips for the many tool buttons that exist underneath
other buttons. Dockable palettes and saved custom palette
arrangements would also streamline work.
MacDraft could also incorporate Apple's built-in dictionary
and grammer checker and forgo the "word services" feature.
They could gain all those and more in Tiger by accessing the
operating systems' built in Services functions, including
speech services and Google search.
Clearly, MacDraft 5.5.7 is a great value for the dollar
and that goes for either the PE or Professional version.
is fast, elegantly laid out, and full of some surprising
and nifty features, like its "saved views" and
built-in slide show animator for presentations. Having Spotlight
directly inside a CAD program is a valuable asset and I'd
like to see the database fields expand to about double their
number now. For those on the Macintosh platform looking for
a low-cost but competent CAD program, one that can converse
with the world via DWG, DXF and PDF, MacDraft 5.5.7 is an
absolute top contender. --- ANTHONY FRAUSTO-ROBLEDO, Editor-in-Chief,
27 June 2005.
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