Architosh News Reports
  Architosh Staff ([email protected])


Architosh visits BOA CAD team

27 Apr 00

Architosh was invited to spend an afternoon in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the head of the BOA CAD development team. In short, we saw a lot of really neat stuff over the course of about four hours, things that other CAD software can only dream about. Architosh will be sharing more details about BOA CAD in the future. Hopefully we'll being doing some indepth reviews in the same manner as our CADtools / CADgate review and our VectorWorks ARCHITECT review series.


BOA CAD is an all new architectural CAD program for the Macintosh. The program can also be invaluable for stage designers, exhibit designers, film production effects designers, and other AEC-related professionals. BOA has an amazing and inventive user-interface, quite unlike today's common AEC CAD software. The initial impression is clean and uncluttered ... so much so that an Autocad user would probably either drop dead with awe or write the program off as not being powerful and feature rich.

The reality is the program is very feature rich, but just organizes access to the features in an unconventional way (very un-Autocad like). If you are a fan of Adobe's palette design -- the wide-body, collapsible type -- you are going to like working in BOA CAD. Of course no interface can be perfect for everybody, and there are a few things that can be added to BOA's UI to make it even better; and I am sure they will do this over time.

BOA CAD is made by some of the same people behind Architrion, one of the first successful AEC CAD products on the Macintosh. In fact, there is a lot we can say about BOA CAD and its relationship to Architrion in terms of development history, technologies, and so on and so on. However some of this is better left for a later report. Architrion users who have been waiting anxiously for news about future releases to their favorite CAD software will, no doubt, want to read those future reports.

BOA CAD is capable of reading and writing Architrion CAD files for version 5.8 or earlier, so Architrion users can build on their investments with that software. Later versions of Architrion would need to be converted to 5.8 format to be useful in BOA CAD, or converted to DXF or DWG for importing into BOA. BOA utilizes technologies from the OpenDWG Alliance, similar to the hundreds of CAD companies out there that belong to this organization.

BOA CAD and Apple Technologies

BOA CAD is built on the latest development tools from Apple. This means that BOA is completely future oriented for the Macintosh platform. It utilizes Apple OpenGL technologies for super fast rendering as well as QuickTime API's. In its current version (which is at 1.7.xx) rendering is not representative of the company's full goals with OpenGL. BOA wants to provide the right feature set for OpenGL rendering, which by itself, as an API set, provides a number of advanced abilities which may not be useful for AEC professionals (To learn more about OpenGL). One thing is certain, BOA CAD is not meant to replace advanced rendering and animation programs that architects currently work with; rather it is meant to complement them.

This is where one of Boa's key strengths is. The program is based on a 'true model environment' where all drawings are based on the model. In BOA the model is based on the "block" concept familiar to Architrion users. What BOA promises is a true multi-user (team format) environment where many individuals can work on the same project simultaneously. All drawings remain interactive and coordinated with the 'model'. In addition, this model is parametric and associative in nature.

The program features simplified, quick associative dimensioning with the option to disassociate the dimensions from objects. In addition, other objects can be set to be fully associative with each other -- meaning, its possible to set a group of windows, for instance, to correspond to a facade's overall proportion; change the facade's proportion by changing a dimension and the windows automatically update themselves to reflect their proportional relationship. We saw more powerful examples of this and we'll talk about them later, hopefully, in a future review.

BOA CAD uses Adobe Postscript for printing files and can also print files to Apple QuickDraw printers (note: this doesn't produce equal quality to Adobe PS). BOA is somewhat limited at the moment in terms of file formats for import/export. Besides Architrion 5.8 and lower, the only other CAD file formats are DWG/DXF version 14 and below. BOA is talking to other CAD and rendering companies about file exchange relationships (more on this in future articles).

Where BOA is Going?

One might ask: why Macintosh for a new AEC CAD application when most of the AEC world is behind Windows? This is a very good question, and one they sometimes get. For one thing, BOA Research fully believes in the advantages of the Macintosh platform (you know... simplicity, elegant interface, easy networking, built-in multimedia technologies like QuickTime, etc.). And they are excited about Apple's future in the overall market. Here's a company that really understands CAD programming, really understands architects (because they are architects) and what they are saying is...Apple has the best technologies for making this type of software. Of course, most Mac-based architects suspect this much as well, but being architects means that we aren't computer scientist, typically. BOA has the knowledge to make this judgment and they think Apple's future looks very bright.

Of course, Windows is in their future as well. They are promising a future version for summer 2000. We will talk about how this works (in terms of its development) in a future article. In the meantime, what BOA is telling Windows users is hardware is cheap these days. Go out and buy a Mac, get into are going to like, and when the Windows version comes out your are ready. It's the software that allows us to work this way, not the OS.

Next Article on BOA

In our next article we'll get into some of the background behind the BOA development effort, delve into the program's features, and talk AltiVec, the G4 and Mac OS well as discuss rendering directions and options for BOA CAD.

To learn more about BOA CAD, click here.


Recent Top Architosh News Stories

Special Mac REPORT: Diehl Graphsoft explains merger with Nemetschek

MacCAD News: New RealCADD for Power Macintosh (only!)

MacCAD News: CADgate brings Autocad compatibility to your Mac [Hot!]

MacCAD: ClarisCAD users looking for support/user groups

MacAEC News: Mac firm produces facilities management software suite

VersaCAD returning to the Macintosh!

Architosh Special Reports & Reviews

Architosh Seybold Report: Mac products for CAD/AEC - Part 1 [Hot!]

MacCAD Review: Hot Door's CADtools 2.1 with CADgate [multipage indepth review]

MacCAD Review: VectorWorks ARCHITECT introduction [multipart series review]

The iDeveloper and CocoaCard Contents Summary Architecture Books - 2000


Feedback Back to Architosh News

| Pro Mac | CADD | Applications | News | Bookstore | Forum | Main |
| Mac OS X | PowerPC | Architects | Opinion |







Contact Us
Copyrighted 1998 BritasMedia Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Architosh is a Trademark of the BritasMedia company
A BritasMedia Designed Web Site
For advertising on this site click here.

Help support Architosh by shopping at Thanks!


Enter keywords... logo


Click Here!