At first, I was surprised to learn that Onshape would hold its own user conference just two months before PTC, which owns Onshape, holds its annual user conference. But then, I realized, it made sense. Onshape would be buried under the onslaught of information on all of PTC's other software programs. We saw the same happen after Microsoft bought Visio.
The Onshape conference seemed prerecorded, and was held online. Parts may well have been presented live, but given that another CAD vendor fakes questions from users, you just never know these days. There were tutorials on using the software; I was interested in the start and the end -- the keynotes and the what's-coming-down-the-line parts.
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Here are the notes I took:
A bit of a deja vu all over again as one of the themes at Onshape's user conference is, "Disruptive!" One of the themes at Autodesk's user conference last fall was, "Disruptive!"
Onshape says it has three million users, though no breakdown given for the number of education users. Over at Solidworks, students have traditionally made up 5/6 of the user base, so we can extrapolate a half-million commercial Onshape users, way up from the 5,000 with which Onshape arrived at PTC. Of the three million, about 700 watched the online conference live.
The big, big news is that CAM will be integrated in to Onshape this year. Also, more types of boundary surfaces to eventually evolve into general surfacing. Branching added to renders, so no more need for a Save button. Constraints are added to its 2D drawing module.
Jon Hirschtick, a co-founder of Onshape, said that his software still has not fully achieved full-cloud CAD capability; so, we can expect more to come. He put down competitors who do batched cloud operations like "punch cards for mainframe computers."
There is much more. You can watch the replay of the event after registering at https://www.onshapelive.com/. It appears there will be another Onshape-only user conference next year.
What Ralph Grabowski Thinks
How is PTC positioning Onshape, given that it has had a hefty MCAD package in Creo (and Pro/Engineer) for 35 years? When PTC first acquired Onshape, the idea was it would form the basis of "Atlas," onto which all other PTC software would be cloud-ified -- within five to ten years. But, more recently, PTC has changed to touting Onshape as the MCAD program to buy if you want your MCAD systems to be pure-cloud, such as at new companies.
Atlas, as best as I can tell, seems to have morphed into "+", which will be unveiled officially at LiveWorx in mid-May. The + nomenclature, as in Creo+, leads me to believe that the new cloud future for PTC software will look like Autodesk's Fusion: mostly running on the desktop, with some extensions running in the cloud.