And 6,454,656 downloads, precisely
Here we are at the second day of the Graebert Annual Meeting. This is a bit of an odd name, considering this the first time the CAD media is invited. Graebert has three developer locations, and so once a year they all come together in Berlin for a week of meetings. After a few years, someone had the idea to also invite a few customers, to get their feedback on the ARES and SiteMaster programs. And this year, four CAD journalists were invited to join in the last two days.
Today we moved from the hidden theatre to the Graebert offices, which are located a few stone throws from the famous KuDam shopping district.
This morning we are learning about the advances of DraftSight. Mark Lyons, DraftSight senior user experience specialist with Dassault Systemes, tells us that it has become a runaway hit. He gives us , this morning's shock announcement that there are now nearly three million registered users of the CAD program.
We had heard one story about why DraftSight is popular. A construction company in Columbia is mostly running DraftSight, and has all its contractors running the free version of DraftSight. The reason: they didn't want anyone running illegal copies of AutoCAD.
(With Autodesk killing of perpetual licenses in the next two years, I figure we'll hear a lot more transitions from AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT to DraftSight, ARES, BricsCAD, IntelliCAD, and all of the others that now are just as capable for many design tasks.)
The other big news is plugins for DraftSight. This is not new news, but a relaunch. This time around, Dassault is behind it, because they are looking for new ways to monetize DraftSight. Cedric Desbordes, head of Graebert sales and marketing, says there will be lots of marketing of plug-ins:
- Monthly email sent to 2.8 million users
- Posts to 1+ million Facebook users
- Communications palette inside DraftSight lists messages that can promote plugins
- And more
The breadth of marketing plug-ins impresses me, especially after my poor experience with the estore of another CAD vendor.
Another way Dassault is monetizing DraftSight: the Enterprise version is going up in price, from $250 to $355; it requires a minimum purchase of five licenses, and is procured from resellers. The 5-license minimum was a problem for small companies, so Dassault added the Pro version at $250 , bought online.
For Third-Party Developers
For developers, there are two approaches:
Free plug-ins: developer pays an annual fixed fee
Not-free plug-ins: developer shares revenue with Dassault
The free version of DraftSight can run plug-ins, but only those certified by the estore; it cannot be used to develop plug-ins. Paid versions of DraftSight can run uncertified plug-ins, i.e., those developed in-house.
Plug-ins use a brand-new API written in C++ and developed by Dassault for DraftSight. This is not a copy of an API used by Autodesk or Dassault or anyone else.
To expand the market for plug-ins, the exact same API will be available in ARES Commander 2015 and CorelCAD 2015.
Graebert is going on a world tour to introduce the new APIs for developers:
- Berlin (today)
- Paris (mid January)
- Boston (mid January; a gasp goes up that Graebert would brave Boston in January)
- Phoenix (at Solidworks World, Feb 9-10)
- Bangkok (Mar 27)