For many years the Wednesday General Session at SOLIDWORKS World has had a significant focused on what is happening with the SOLIDWORKS software! Anyone who has been to a SOLIDWORKS World always looks forward to the preview of what new features we may see with the next years release. Some look more forward to what parody they choose to present it in! I’ll cover the preview of SOLIDWORKS 2018 in an up coming post!
Over the years the lead in to the next years previews has been proceeded by the announcement of the SOLIDWORKS Top Ten. These are the results, from the voting on the SOLIDWORKS Forum, of suggested enhancement put up by the SOLIDWORKS community. Over the years these have been presented on stage and shown on the big screens of the General Session as a countdown. 10 …9 … With each being read out by a headline presenter or a Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS executive. However this years marked a change in that tradition, with the SOLIDWORKS Top Ten being presented in a couple of Breakout sessions.
This change looks to be brought on for a couple of reasons. The General Sessions have always been squeezed for time. This year saw the presentation of SOLIDWORKS 2018 preview taking on a far grander production. Along with a little audience participation! Then add to the Model Mania having an additional section and it looks like time was not available. More so, it looks as if Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS wanted time to talk more about the top two requests.
The breakout session commenced with Bruce Holway – Director – Product Definition running though some of the history of the community requested enhancement. Before introducing this years SOLIDWORKS Top Ten.
The Top Ten ended up like this:
10. Fully integrated Sub-D modeling Tool
9. Automatic Fastener BOM creation without physically inserting the fastener into the Assembly
8. Bounding Box Values for any part or assemblies
7. External Reference graphical display (like Treehouse)
6. Export BOM with Model Thumbnail included in Excel file
5. Completely release memory / GDI handle when file is unloaded
4. Allow Zero Thickness Geometry (ZTG)
3. Improve the performance and quality when importing large IGES and STEP files, especially when there are tiny surfaces in the model
2. Substantially increase stability in SOLIDWORK
1. Focus more on fixing bugWhat is of most interesting is four of the top five requests enhancements, directly relate to performance of the application and not additional features for the application!
Bruce showed examples of requested enhancement which featured in earlier Top Ten’s, that were implemented into SOLIDWORKS 2017. Noting that some of these requests, once evaluated had lead to additional “Bonus” with in the feature. A full list of user requested Top Ten enhancements that have been implemented can be found on Dan Herzberg SOLIDWORKS blog
All that Bruce Holway covered was similar to what has previously been shown, on stage during previous SOLDWORKS World General Sessions. It was the introduction of John Sweeney -Senior Director SOLIDWORKS Development which changed the focus from the past to the future! John was there, it appears, to talk about and address the Top Ten number one & two requests. That of Quality and Stability of the product.
The discussion started with Customer Focus and addressed the variety of ways Customers can provide feedback on the product. Direct engagement via user experience feedback sessions, involvement & monitoring of the SOLIDWORKS Forum and via feedback in Beta testing. There was some discussion about introducing the emoji based quick feedback menu seen in SOLIDWORKS 2017 Beta into the SOLIDWORKS 2018 release.
Of greater interest was when the discussion changed directly to the SOLIDWORKS product. Commitments were made that the focus was now on doing all that was possible to address the issue of Quality and Stability of the product. Some key points were: Software has been introduced to target issues in the existing code base. The introduction of a Zero tolerance policy on all newly written code! Projects for SOLIDWORKS 2018 have shifted towards quality projects!
Next to be addressed was Data Focus – crashes. It is important Crash reports are sent! It is hard to diagnose problems and random crashes without data! Commitments were made to address issues of the past, in regards to notifying customers when crashes are fixed
Everyone can assist by joining the SOLIDWORKS Customer Experience Improvement Program This way data can be sent automatically. Tools, Options, System Options, General, and then check Help make SOLIDWORKS products better by automatically sending your log files to DS SOLIDWORKS CorporationJohn finished by looking at the Process of how the quality of the product will be implemented. Along with some goals, with long term project! Of most interest are the areas that these projects are focused! Addressing Large Assembly Performance, Graphic Performance, Improvements to the update and update process
The session then changed to some discussion and surveys. The survey topics covered the Top Ten. With questions asked on how you participated, what you like about it, along with, should it be presented on stage in the General Session. Voting was via a website which provided real time percentage results.
There were a couple of interesting discussions around the questions. The question surrounding, should the Top Ten be presented on stage in the General Session or in a Breakout Session, raised some interesting discussion! Although a majority thought it should return to the General Session I must say, I was a fairly outspoken in disagreement. The reason I thought it should remain as a Breakout session looks to be quite obvious! With time and smaller setting, you get information, detail and discussion. When you have it in a General Session all you get is a title!
Perhaps the most interesting question was How should SOLIDWORKS R&D allocate resources? (Performance vs Enhancements). The result! I don’t have an image! It was with some irony, that the website choose this was the time to crash! Or maybe it was the internet! Either way it can be a fickle environment when dealing with software1
The session finished with Gian Paolo Bassi – CEO – Dassault Systemes SOLIDWORKS, who had been sitting to the side amongst the audience. He spoke briefly but gave his support and full backing to what had been presented. He gave very strong commitments to ensure that they are working on the quality of the product to produce a better and more stable desktop SOLIDWORKS application.
It should be interesting to see what SOLIDWORKS 2018 brings!