This month we have the special pleasure of talking to Nader Family, the founder of BOA Research and BOA, the architectural CAD program, set to take the market by storm. What makes BOA so great is that it is a true Mac program, through and through, and geared for the future of both OS X and architectural CAD.
- BOA: Exclusive Interview with BOA's Founder
- Architosh founder and editor, Anthony Frausto-Robledo, discusses the background of this new, and sometimes mysterious, CAD program, with BOA founder and chief, Nader Family.
Trained at Harvard as a physicist and later to become an architect, Nader Familywho was one of the early developers of the fabled Architrion softwarenow leads a small team of brilliant developers who are creating BOA.
AFR: Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Founder & Editor, Architosh
NF: Nader Family, Founder of BOA
AFR: OK, before I begin with questions about BOA the program, let me ask some more basic questions, because I believe most Mac CAD users have not heard of BOA yet.
Who is BOA ? And how long has BOA been around?
NF: BOA was established in late 1995 by myself in the US. I worked on a set of specifications and by early 1996 three engineers from the original Architrion team joined me after terminating their work on the 'New Architrion[this in reference to BAGH's Architrion]. Later that year four more engineers from that team joined us as well.
AFR: And who owns BOA?
NF: BOA is a privately held company, currently held by its three founders with an agreement to eventually merge with the company which has the international marketing rights and thus bringing in our angel investors.
AFR: And who are some of the key computer scientists and programmers behind BOA?
NF: I had worked with everyone in the Architrion team since 1987. When it came time to start working on a new software, I knew I needed at least two of the first programmers from the original Architrion team; Vincent Hoffmann, who specializes in three dimensional database design and management and Georges Babeix, who has been important in designing our visualization and 3D detector tools. All and all, these two developers have been key in helping BOA see the light of day.
And then we have a guy in Canadawho I can't divulge more aboutwho is doing the terrain modeler...and then the rest of the programmers are in France. I do the interface, not just the interface but basically the whole user experience, the design of it as well as the specifications.
AFR: Where is BOA officially located?
NF: BOA is a truly international company. Vincent and Georges are in France, while the marketing staff and myself are here in the US. We also have consultants working on some of the key areas of the software in the US and in Canada.
AFR: What is BOA's relationship to Architrion?
NF: The only relationship we have with Architrion is that the founders [of BOA] gained most of their design and programming experience while developing and marketing Architrion. Otherwise, there is no business relationship between us and the company who eventually bought the right to the name Architrion.
AFR: Is BOA designed to be a replacement for Architrion?
NF: BOA can be a great replacement for Architrion given the legacy of its founders. I believed in the simplicity of Architrion from my first encounter with it. Thus, when it came to doing BOA, we decided to use that experience and develop a software based on a similar approach. Thus, the single prismatic primitive will be very familiar to Architrion users.
AFR: How else are you going to attract old Architrion refugees, some of whom may be on a different CAD platform now?
NF: That's a very interesting problem. Architrion users are a very loyal users...the software has really served them well. When Architrion stopped developing in the early 90's, it had matured to what it could be. At the time it was a really serious, professional architectural software product.
Now with BOA we have been going around the country meeting users trying to get feedback. A lot of them are still using Architrion professionally, and when the see BOA they get very excited, they smile and they want to look at it more intently.
Now we have tried to talk to the original owners of Architrion and gain access to their user list. However, the price was a bit steep. Now I have contacted old Architrion dealers that I used to work with and people that I know and for those people that we have talked to we have sold BOA to about 66-75% of them.
Now another issue is that many are very excited about switching to BOA but they are just so damn busy right now. You know what the market is like. It would take them a couple of months to get back their speed on BOA.
Now many users are saying it could be a good time. Many have moved from Architrion to programs like VectorWorks and ArchiCAD. Those that have moved to ArchiCAD are less committed, it seems, then the VectorWorks users. Primarily the VectorWorks users are those that used Architrion mostly for its 2D abilities. They didn't take advantage of the 3D power in Architrion.
AFR: Many of those power 2D users who have been using tools like MiniCAD/VectorWorks and PowerCADD, don't really get the whole 3D-based 'virtual model' concept.
NF: That's right. They don't really appreciate the advantages that products like BOA offer them.
AFR: Is BOA a big application...how many lines of code are there?
NF: BOA uses the MacApp framework from Apple. In addition, we use OpenGL, the OpenDWG foundation's libraries. Our part of the code is just over 300,000 lines. At least the same number of code comes from the framework and the libraries.
AFR: Now tell me more about MacApp. Is this a CodeWarrior-like IDE (integrated development environment)?
NF: No. We are using CodeWarrior as a compiler, but MacApp is the 'framework'. It gives us the basic skeleton or interaction loop and also the interface. It handles things like windows management, palette management, the same as if we were using PowerPlant; it is similar to that but this one is from Apple.
AFR: What is BOA's target market? And who should look at BOA?