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Anthony Frausto-Robledo ([email protected])
8 August 2001


Part 1 - Exclusive interview on VectorWorks for Mac OS X

Part 1 - Exclusive interview on VectorWorks for Mac OS X

Part 2 - Exclusive interview: Future Nemetschek Product Direction

Sean Flaherty, CTO of Nemetschek North America

Anthony Frausto-Robledo, Editor of Architosh.com

VectorWorks for X : When Will It Arrive?

AFR My question for you right now is, when do think the Mac OS X version of VectorWorks will be ready?

SF We're looking at the next several months. The September-October time-frame is in the heart of our target area. I am hesitant right now to put a firm date on anything because the technology is something we've been bad at predicting up until this point.

"We think the typical OS X user right now is a classic early adopter, because there certainly is a big learning curve with OS X and you are dealing—almost across the board right now—with early release and beta software." - Sean Flaherty, CTO

AFR That's fair.

SF We plan to go into a public beta of the OS X version in about a month. Right now we have released the OS X beta into internal testing and we are taking that first set of in-house eyes and reviewing it and then we are going to do a public beta since we have a lot of users clamoring to see the OS X version and we certainly want to get a wider set of eyes on the software.

AFR Who do you see wanting it so badly?

We think the typical OS X user right now is a classic early adopter, because there certainly is a big learning curve with OS X and you are dealing—almost across the board right now—with early release and beta software. So we think in about a month we'll go public beta and probably a couple months after that is what I think would be a reasonable release time-frame.

If anything, things are moving much faster now. We actually have Apple and Metrowerks helping us directly, instead of indirectly through the normal tech support channels. We have a direct line with them and they have really accelerated our development. We went from three weeks ago to actually having nothing working under OS X to having most of the application working and actually having it in our test department.

AFR What was the technical difficulty confronting you with this early development in OS X?

SF Well, we had a couple of things. We've actually been Carbonized for more than two months now. Being Carbonized at the very basic level means that you have taken a completely working application and switched it to the Carbon API's and are linking and running under Carbon.

What we expected was that the time between being fully Carbonized and working was going to be a lot smaller (laughter...)

AFR Right.

SF I think there's been two big areas that have been the cause of our schedule problems.

AFR What are they?

SF First there were quite a few API's that have changed significantly within the operating system. Some examples of that are: we do network licensing using standard AppleTalk networking calls, and those aren't supported at all in OS X and everything had to be rewritten to use Open Transport. The whole scrapbook manager is brand new for Carbon and the previous classic version doesn't work so we had to completely replace our scrapbook handling as well. So going in and working on those have taken up a decent chunk of our time.

The second thing is the debugging environment has been slow coming out of Metrowerks. And that is where they have really stepped up and helped us out. We finally approached them and said, "we don't have any source level debugging", and this has become such a basic tool of our product development it is really like trying to drive down the road with blind folds on and someone giving you directions. You can still do it but it is far far less efficient. We had to revert to some really old style development techniques in the absence of a source level debugger.

AFR I see.

SF And that was when one of our biggest breakthroughs came. We finally got in touch with someone at Apple who got us connected at Metrowerks and they offered to take the whole project from us and take a look at why we were having so much trouble. And this has been a real breakthrough for us.

AFR Now everything that you are doing with the OS X version is related to Carbon. Is that correct? You are not doing anything with Cocoa at this point?

SF We are not.

AFR Now let me help readers get a sense of how much work is involved. How many lines of code are involved in VectorWorks?

SF We were just talking about that before you called. We don't really do a count. We've got in our project about 8000 files, and those are pretty big meaty files; they are not single one object-per-file types of things. We are guessing on the order of ten million lines. But it is a tough measurement.

AFR Well that's a lot. I know for the Alias/Wavefront folks have been outspoken about the 25 million lines of code in Maya for OS X.

SF The scope of the application—and I think obviously we knew this going into the project—is really large. And Paul was talking to me earlier about this, the number of dialogs built-into the core of the application was 175. So if you do anything, like with Aqua going in to make buttons wider and move things around a bit...if you had to do that for every single dialog, it takes a lot of time.

Another thing which is different, like with Cinema 4D—which is also in the Nemetschek product group—they have a very innovative product development technique, and one of their big advantages is they are less specifically reliant on the Mac OS directly than we are and we have a very broad use of the Macintosh which means we are more effected by core changes to the OS.

So what you are seeing are applications that have shifted quickly and others that have not and that comes down to your internal development style.

AFR Let's talk about some of the challenges in detail. I would like to know how you have dealt with some of the Aqua interface guidelines across your dialog boxes and menu bars and stuff like that. Has that been a challenging thing?

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Macworld Expo News and Features

MWNY: Fujitsu Computer's new MO Products - [jul 29]

MWNY: ThinkFree Office, Universal office productivity - [jul 29]

MWNY: Architosh Forums Prize Winners Announced! - [jul 27]

MWNY: Nemetschek combines VW Architect with Landmark - [jul 27]

MWNY: Abvent news - ZOOM GDL tool announced - [jul 27]

MWNY: Expo Pictures - [jul 26]

Mac3D: New version of Lightworks rendering engine, v6.0 - [jul 26]

MWNY: VectorWorks demonstrated on Mac OS X - [jul 23] Updated!

MWNY: Notes on Mac OS X (10.1 update) - [jul 23]

MWNY: Lightwave 6.5 rocks Macworld audiences - [jul 23]

MWNY: Less than 48 hrs left in Architosh Forums Prize Contest - [jul 22]

MWNY: Keynote and Expo Summary Notes - [jul 22]

MWNY: Ashlar announces new product line - [jul 22]

MWNY: Alias/Wavefront makes splash at Macworld! - [jul 22]

MWNY: VectorWorks demonstrated on Mac OS X - [jul 23]

MWNY: Shockwave takes on 3D, new partners sign on - [jul 22]

Keynote Predictions: Crystal Ball 2001 New York - [jul 18]

Architosh Firm Profile: Interview with Luminetik, 3D Macintosh Studio - [jul 17]

Architosh to Cover Macworld Expo - Notes - [jul 17]

Pre-New York Meditations on the Possible - [jul 17]

Architosh Feature Interview: Microspot Ltd talks Technical CAD on the Mac - [jul 12] New!

MacCAD news: Nemetschek initiates 2001-2002 Learning Tour - [jul 12]

ArchiCAD used for design of tallest residential skyscraper - [jul 12]

Mac3DNY.org renames and sponsors Teapot Awards - [jul 9]

Mac3D: Mac Cinema4D user creates masterful short film - [jul 9]

MacCAD: Free SPOTLIGHT Training by Nemetschek - [jul 9]

Quesa Group has QuickDraw 3D API on Mac OS X - [jul 6]

OpenDWG Alliance has Mac OS X code libraries available - [jul 6]

Microspot Sponsors Architosh Forum Prize Contest! - [jun 29]

MacCAD news: VectorWorks for Mac OS X news - [jun 29]

Tomorrow last day to get Electric Image (3D Toolkit) for $99 - [jun 29]

Architosh.com - What's Coming Up in the Near Future - [jun 29]

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Mac3D market needs new Wildcat II graphics card - [jun 28]

MacCAD: Nemetschek NA finalizes VectorWorks 9.0.1 update - [Jun 28]

AEC Newsletter CAD/3D platform poll, go show Mac support! - [jun 26]

OS X news: Autodesk seems to have taken a fancy to dock... - [jun 22]

Mac3D news: Japanese 3D tool, HexaSuper 2 for Mac - [jun 22]

VersaCAD 2001 Mac shown at AEC Systems - [jun 22]

Apple not at AEC Show, inexplicable or not? - [jun 20]

MacCAD news: VectorWorks LANDMARK is now officially shipping - [Jun 20]

MacCAD news: ArchiCAD to implement National CAD Standards - [Jun 20]

Mac3D news: 3D Nature intros Z-Buffer Compositor for LightWave 6.5 - [jun 19]

MacCAD news: Cigraph ships two new ArchiCAD plugins - [jun 19]

Graphisoft intros ArchiFM 7 WebServer in Europe - [Jun 19]

ArchiFM WebServer to be announced by Graphisoft - [jun 15]

Online Design Tools site counting Mac visitors - [Jun 15]

MacCAD news: EON to work with ArchiCAD/GDL - [Jun 15]

MacCAD news: new interactive 3D technology headed for OS X - [Jun 15]

Mac3D news: Get ElectricImage 2.9 for just $198 now - [jun 13]

Mac3D news: Hot new tools from Japan need US attention - [Jun 13]

Mac3D news: TGS/Eovia offer Amapi 3D v4.15 for free - [Jun 13]

Mac3D news: dvGarage intros new 3D Training Kit - [Jun 13]

Dr. Bott's DVIator for ADC-displays now shipping - [Jun 13]

Mac3D news: POV-Ray for Mac OS and OS X - [jun 12]

Macs ousted for CAD Lab at Sacramento High School - [jun 8]

Revit attacks Autocad market, actually good for Mac users? - [jun 8]

Q: Need for Macintosh CNC Milling Software - [jun 8]

MacCAD news: Interstudio announces DigiCAD 3D 6.0 - [jun 6]

Macintosh Facilities Management software options - [jun 6]

MacCAD news: Apple seminar on new ArchiCAD 7.0 - [jun 5]

Map Resources updates site with new map finding facilities - [Jun 1]

Microspot ships new MacDraft 5.0 CAD program - [Jun 1]

Q: Need for Mac Facility Management software - [Jun 1]

Mac3D: LightWave 6.5 presentation, Apple Market Center New York - [may 30]

Home automation software for Mac, useful to architects/builders - [may 30]

280+ Architecture Firms show support of Macintosh - [may 29]

Architosh's AIWUG updated: 300+ member firms and growing - [may 29]

Mac3D news: MCnurbs Creator 2, updated for VectorWorks 9 - [may 25]

Mac3D news: Cinema4D XL 7 offers new radiosity engine - [may 25]

Mac3D news: Strata ships new 'Strata 3DPlus' - [may 22]

Mac3D news: Strata updates Strata 3DPro to v.3.5 - [may 22]

Cool news coming out of WWDC-2001 - [may 22]

Summary of Apple Store Opening Action, Links - [may 19]

Mac3D News: Looks like Blender is coming soon! - [may 18]

Mac3D News: Running Radiance on OS X, instructions - [may 18]

Mac3D News: VRML on the Macintosh - [may 16]

Learning more about Mac OS X - [may 16]

Mac Aircraft design software - part 2 - [may 16]

Architosh is TenLinks.com 'Site of the Week' - [may 15]

Hot Door introduces 'Perspective' for Illustrator 8 & 9 - [may 15]

Mac3D: Aircraft design software and Object-Maker - [may 15]

StudioDESK: Is Autodesk looking at the Mac again? - [may 11]

Q&A: Any Mac software for designing aircraft? - [may 11]

Mac Architect: Apple to host free BOA CAD seminar - [may 10]

MacCAD News: VectorWorks and PowerBooks, map ancient cities - [may 9]

VectorWorks helps student win International competition - [may 9]

A Mac version of MECcheck in the works - [may 9]

MacCAD News: Autocad sales down, Mac CAD up? - [may 9]

Architosh Forums: Multi-Prize Giveaway - [may 9]

New Architosh Highlights:

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DPG: Finding Macintosh CAD/3D and AEC software - [may 2] New!

DPG: Our Macintosh Hardware Guide - [may 2] New!

DPG: Searching our DPG FAQ Guides - [may 2] New!

DPG - FAQ: What 3D Mac apps are there for industrial designers? - [may 2] New!

DPG - FAQ: What apps are available for managing building projects? - [may 2] New!

New Architosh Site Area Content!

New Digital Practice Guide - [may 2] New!

New Revised CAD/3D Forums - [may 2] New!

New Edutainment Site Area - [Jan 9] Architosh

New Feature: Communication, Design and the Internet - [Jan 9]

Mac OS X Page: Comparative Table - Win2000/Linux - [Jan 9]

Building a Macintosh CAD Workstation - [Jan 9]

Building an Apple Server Solution - [Jan 9]

New Find Facilities and Sherlock Tips - [Jan 9]

Visit the Architosh e-Bookstore!

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