As might be inferred from the preceding discussions, SoftSource Vdraft's customization apparatus also reflects elegance and simplicity. By means of its open architecture and ActiveX Automation (formerly OLE 2.0 Automation), Vdraft offers a powerful model for virtually limitless programmability and program extensibility for creating complete, customized CAD solutions.
The choice of ActiveX Automation as the main customizing mechanism for Vdraft again strategically positions the program in the present and future CAD markets. Vdraft's advantage--and the far-reaching implication for the industry, in general--is summed up in one key point:
The CAD user who has had to learn any number of different programming protocols to customize AutoCAD--scripts, AutoLISP, DIESEL, ARX, and ADS, to name just a few--is sure to appreciate the beauty of this evolution in CAD programmability. Vdraft's versatile, easy programmability is designed to dramatically cut development time and cost--in other words, to accomplish the most with the least amount of time and effort. There is no need to learn a host of program-specific tools. You can program Vdraft with tools like Visual Basic and C++ (in other words, the same tools you use to customize other Windows applications). Again, if you like, you need only use ONE programming tool of your choice to cover all customizing needs.
Simply stated, ActiveX Automation (or Automation) is a means by which a programming language can control another application such as Vdraft. Familiarity with a programming tool and with the Vdraft API constitutes most of what you need to know to use ActiveX Automation with Vdraft. Vdraft's programming tools make it totally unnecessary to learn or understand ActiveX Automation. In other words, the complexity of ActiveX Automation is hidden from the programmer.
ActiveX Automation defines a mechanism by which one Windows application--called a client, or controlling application--can directly manipulate another, called a server application. By exposing Automation objects it has defined, the server application can provide data or services for a client application. These Automation objects correspond to all or a subset of the server application's internal objects (for a subset of Vdraft's Automation objects, see the illustration in the next section).
Vdraft functions as a server application. Vdraft's Automation objects are organized in a hierarchy extending from the level of the application itself and down through objects (lines, points, circles, blocks, attributes, and so on; see the diagram later in this section). This means that any other client application that can access Vdraft Automation objects can control Vdraft, request data, and manipulate the program.
For instance, say you need to track pricing or parts information in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Such information is often stored in blocks or attributes of CAD drawings. Via Excel connections to the appropriate Automation objects in the Vdraft drawing, you can easily "drive" Vdraft from the Excel spreadsheet and extract the necessary data from blocks or attributes in the drawing.
Currently, Microsoft Visual Basic and Visual C++ are only a few of the many Windows-compliant programming tools from various vendors that will fully utilize ActiveX Automation. In addition, Microsoft plans to migrate all its applications-based macro languages to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), so ActiveX Automation will play an ever larger role in program extensibility. Such developments will also have far-reaching implications for Vdraft and the CAD industry.
Again, the beauty of this model with regard to CAD customization is that the user need only learn a single programming protocol instead of the several it used to take to accomplish various customizing tasks in AutoCAD. And, again, ActiveX Automation positions SoftSource Vdraft as a CAD system truly in the vanguard.
DWG and DXF Compatibility
Tools and User Interface
Easy Transition from AutoCAD
Value and Cost-Effectiveness Checklist
Product Fact Sheet
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