For us, Project Butterfly is more than a tech preview. It is a vision in which us, designers, should spend more time being creative and designing, and spend less time handling software quirks. We shouldn’t be chasing old emails, and we shouldn’t be keeping dozens of files for the same design.
The team in Autodesk that works around the clock to produce the best online CAD experience is a relatively small group of people in Tel Aviv, Israel. Until recently we were a start-up company. We consist of 20 dedicated people, mostly software engineers, and just a little over a year ago we were only 8 people.
The idea behind Project Butterfly was conceived circa 2006 by Iris Shoor, an architect at the time. She was troubled by the fact that there wasn’t a fluent way to collaborate on CAD drawings, in a business where collaboration and communication is a very important element.
The world of software and the Web was changing. Productivity software was migrating to the web in the form of Google Docs, YouTube, and other socially-able websites. Iris recognized the potential and the possibility of editing and collaborating on CAD drawings on the Web.
She gathered two of her former colleagues, Jonathan Seroussi and Tal Weiss, who both have also had knowledge and experience in software development and the GIS industry. Together they launched the company that would later produce Project Butterfly, despite all the pessimism and discouragement they received from key figures in the industry.
Since that point in time, with over 2 years of constant development, the Butterfly team has created a patented technology, based on analyzing and rendering over 10,000 different DWGs. We are very happy to spread our passion of technology and CAD throughout the CAD community with the help of the Autodesk community of users.
Written in retrospect by Asaf Sagi, a product manager in the team.
It hasn’t been long since we launched our project, and we already have a new version for you.
Project Butterfly began as a start-up, and after we were acquired we decided we keep our start-up spirit. That means frequent version updates, and close relations with our users.
We frequently check all your questions, suggestions and quirks regarding Project Butterfly. When you open up Project Butterfly today you will get all these goodies:
- Patricia and Tom needed support for displaying AEC walls and objects, and they got it.
- Paul asked us to edit an arc’s radius.
- The same Paul also wanted to draw arcs from within the polyline tool.
- Nir wanted us to implement more snapping points, such as midpoint, center, and extension. This was also mentioned in Kenneth’s video (at 2:30)
- Nir also wanted a “P” keyboard shortcut for pan.
- Jean-Paul didn’t want his browser to open a new window when downloading a DWG.
- Satish asked for panning with the middle mouse button.
- Martyn asked for a way to un-share files in the drawings section.
- We also added right-click menus at Ananth‘s request. We also made this possible in the Drawings screen.
The winner of our feature request is Add New Layers.
You can all expect that to be implemented very, very soon. Our thanks go to everyone that gave their votes.
Keep your feedback coming, we feed on it!
Does this look familiar?
Wouldn’t it be nicer to have just one file, and it would include all the different versions it? It is nice, let me tell you.
I kind of spoiled it for you, but Project Butterfly has just that.
Ever tried looking for a specific revision you made to a staircase sometime during April? You had to open, close, open, close a large number of DWGs. Butterfly eases and speeds up this process. How about that?
In Project Butterfly you have a single file for each design, and all the changes that were made on it over time are saved onto the drawing Timeline. The Timeline keeps track of your versions and all discussion carried over it during co-editing or review.
Changes that were made to the drawing in Butterfly also show up as trackable events:
Every change made in Butterfly, whether it’s from a share, co-edit, review or just editing yourself – will appear as an event which you can track. If you import a new version after editing in AutoCAD, it will make itself the newest version on the Timeline and you could go back in time to previous versions – but it will not show you the changes made, event by event. We realize that a version comparing feature is valuable to you, so we are currently working on that too.
Have a wonderful weekend, all.