August has been a busy month here at MikesCadBlog.com / 20+ posts in about 25 days, all dealing with new functionality in Solidworks 2009.
My overall opinion of this upcoming release is that I'm anxious to get service pack 0 installed. After using the beta and pre-release versions, you get used to using some of the new functions, and then having to go back and use 2008 without them, is a bit frustrating. A few other SW bloggers have made the same comment on Twitter. When all is said and done with 2009, I think most people will enjoy the stability, and the performance fixes compared to SW 2008. While 2008 was ground breaking on the interface side of the software, its impossible for anyone to say it didn't have any performance issues. Solidworks 2009 takes a fair amount of new functionality, and wraps it up with substantial performance upgrades which will make the program that much easier to use.
At Solidworks World 2008 C.E.O. Jeff Ray promised us performance improvements, and they have achieved that. Drawings and large assemblies are the big benefactors of this new credo. Is there still work to be done? Yep, and thats the best part. SW should remain on its toes to keep developing the software. A software package should never reach a fully developed stage, technology and end user needs simply won't allow for that to happen.
In my mind, what was most evident with this release is the amount of user driven enhancements, and subsequent changes to functions that SW thought it had done right. I have hit on it a few times, but the new magnification tool in 2009 is a perfect example of where SW and a group of beta testers took a novel idea, and turned it into a useful tool. There were other instances where features in 2009 were changed based on direct feedback of the beta testers. Without that beta program, and all the people that devoted their time to it, the end result would not be what the rest of the users will receive on their DVD's next month. That is the sole reason why beta programs are beneficial to everyone, and doing away with it would be disastrous to the end product we all use. But please, could someone at Solidworks come up with a better way of submitting issues than the current interface being used? Hopefully SW will continue this sort of interaction with core users to further refine the development process of future versions. While the direct interaction of SW employees in beta was nice to see, let's hope more of them get involved next year, and in the mean time, they get out of the cubicles in Concord, and visit some customers to see how we all use the software. Come on guys, you have large budgets, start buying some plane tickets and get out there.
During August, I only touched on the highlights of whats new in 2009. Other blogs have devoted a good amount of time to covering other features, as well as covering different functions of features you may have seen here. Because of that, be sure to click through the links of the various blogs found to the left of the screen. Many of them did some excellent write ups, and even some excellent videos on new features that your bound to learn from. In fact Ricky Jordan produced some very well done videos explaining new functions, all while migrating his site to his own hosting! To me video is the best medium to communicate this kinda stuff.
I have been asked numerous times, and have received emails asking when 2009 is going to be released. I'm not sure even SW has a hard date, but what I have heard is to expect DVD's to ship at the end of September. That really doesn't mean much though, because thats when they normally ship.
So in the meantime enjoy 2008 during its final days as it will soon be getting its last and final service pack. Next up for myself, and a few of the other bloggers is a trip to Barcelona Spain on September 16th for the Official Solidworks 2009 Press Event. Myself, Matt, Josh, Jason and a few other misfits will once again occupy the back rows of the press room, and try to not fall asleep listening to the old cad media people talk about themselves! Good times and reports are sure to be had!