Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dropbox + AutoCAD WS = ??

I use my Dropbox account as a backup location for my drawing work. Dropbox works quietly in the background syncing my drawings folder on my laptop with my Dropbox account out there on the internet, or as the kids these days are calling it, The Cloud! What this means is that I have access to my drawing files wherever I am, as long as I have an internet connection.

AutoCAD WS allows me to view drawing files on any computer (within reason!). It is a fantastic cloud based app, one of the best there is. It works on various different platforms also, PC, Mac, Linux, iPad and iPhone. It doesn’t, as of yet, work on Android unfortunately, but I have high hopes that it will arrive on that platform shortly.

Now, this is where my problem starts… Obviously Dropbox does not have a DWG Viewer built in to their software, so to view the files, I have to download them and open them using my CAD software. Whilst that works, it is not ideal as it means I must have a PC or Laptop with some form of CAD on it to view these files.

AutoCAD WS on the other hand has a fantastic viewer as part of its service. This means I can view any drawing file I have in my AutoCAD WS account anywhere I have internet access, with no need for specialist CAD software. My problem here is that AutoCAD WS does not sync my drawings folder on my laptop with my AutoCAD WS folder in the cloud on the fly. So, should I leave the office without uploading the drawings needed to AutoCAD WS, I have to logon to Dropbox, download the files needed and then upload them to AutoCAD WS. Like the Dropbox solution above, it works, but it is a tad clumsy.

I tried to explain these thoughts to the AutoCAD WS team in 140 characters on Twitter, but I think I failed… To some it up in a few words, I want the best of AutoCAD WS (the viewer/editor) and the best of Dropbox (the real time syncing) all in the one online cloud app. Can someone out there in Autodesk land make this happen? I can’t be the only one looking for this type of functionality.

As a Meerkat* might say, Simples!

*If you don’t live in Ireland or the UK, you probably won’t get the Meerkat/Simples reference. It’s funny though, really it is!!

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