Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

PowerCADD & WildTools
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Howard in Durham
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Howard in Durham » Tue Jun 15, 2021 11:59 am

Looking at the Ilexsoft.com web site for High Design, I am impressed that they are already running software that is compatible with Apple's new M chip. Makes me wonder if Todd Stanley exaggerates both the difficulty of translating PowerCadd to current Mac OS compatibility, or the difficulty of handing over the task to other developers.

Eric Pousse
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Eric Pousse » Tue Jun 15, 2021 12:56 pm

Bonjour,

I know HighDesign from Ilexsoft because, as my software RealCADD, he is written with Xojo which can compile now for Mac M1.
I have a beta version of RealCADD which runs natively on Mac M1.
I understand the difficulties of Todd to made a new version of PowerCADD.
It is true that Apple doesn't facilitate the work of developers...
I have rewritten almost all RealCADD in Objective-C to do iPocket Draw on iPhone and iPad which has now almost all features of RealCADD.
That took me some years (but I am alone).
And now, Apple says to the developers : "Use Swift and SwiftUI, Objective-C is dead" :cry:
On Apple documentation, all new features have only examples in Swift.
If you continue to use Objective-C, you spend more time.

What about the file format of PowerCADD files?
Can it be published?

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todd@engsw.com
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by todd@engsw.com » Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:21 pm

Eric Pousse wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 12:56 pm
Bonjour,

I know HighDesign from Ilexsoft because, as my software RealCADD, he is written with Xojo which can compile now for Mac M1.
I have a beta version of RealCADD which runs natively on Mac M1.
I understand the difficulties of Todd to made a new version of PowerCADD.
It is true that Apple doesn't facilitate the work of developers...
I have rewritten almost all RealCADD in Objective-C to do iPocket Draw on iPhone and iPad which has now almost all features of RealCADD.
That took me some years (but I am alone).
And now, Apple says to the developers : "Use Swift and SwiftUI, Objective-C is dead" :cry:
On Apple documentation, all new features have only examples in Swift.
If you continue to use Objective-C, you spend more time.

What about the file format of PowerCADD files?
Can it be published?
Eric,

Thanks for your insight on Apple and the disposable nature with which Apple treats developers. There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks on here who don't know the first thing about software development with notions how to 'fix' the problem. I'm aware how easy is is to theorize how something should be done, but it's quite another to be in the trenches and really understand the difficulties involved.

It is very obvious that any Mac development which continues in Objective-C is obsolete from the get go. Many new Apple technologies have no Objective-C documentation other than a machine translation of the interface files. As you indicated Apple no longer provides Objective-C examples, and there was no mention of Objective-C at WWDC21, last week.

The PowerCADD and WildTools core is written in C++, with the interface of WildTools written in Objective-C. The interface of the in-progress PowerCADD 10 is written Objective-C. PowerCADD 9 and WildTools 10.6 are still built on Xcode 9, which isn't even able to run on a machine beyond High Sierra, 10.13. Of course it is possible to rewrite PowerCADD and WildTool UI in Swift, but that introduces the issue of Swift not interoperating with C++, PowerCADD's. Yes, those issues too could also be overcome. However, the cost and time to do these things is prohibitive.

Specifically in reference to the comments by Mr Rik Negus - I'm not blaming Apple or anyone; I am simply describing the situation as it is. Had I immediately upon taking over Engineered Software began rewriting PowerCADD in Swift, which emerged about the same time (although in its infancy), it is possible that I would have been able to transition. My crystal ball was apparently not as accurate as your hindsight.

Now, to answer your question regarding PowerCADD's file format. First, be aware, PowerCADD files are not trivial! I am not opposed to sharing PowerCADD's file format, but the specification is only fully defined by the code. Engineered Software would be unable to provide technical support regarding interpreting its files.

Todd

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todd@engsw.com
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by todd@engsw.com » Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:59 pm

Howard in Durham wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 11:59 am
Looking at the Ilexsoft.com web site for High Design, I am impressed that they are already running software that is compatible with Apple's new M chip. Makes me wonder if Todd Stanley exaggerates both the difficulty of translating PowerCadd to current Mac OS compatibility, or the difficulty of handing over the task to other developers.
I can assure you, my tendency is to underestimate time and difficulty - not the other way. If I have errored in estimation it is underestimation not exaggeration.

Of course, making something M1 compatible for nearly all applications required only a recompile. The problem has nothing to do with silicon involved or even 32-bit to 64-bit conversion. This is nearly 100% related to APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). PowerCADD does it magic by utilizing the Carbon APIs which do not exist in the system after 10.14. PowerCADD uses vast swaths of the system to manage resources from colors to patterns to text to fonts to interaction with the file system, and so much more.

As for High Design, it is written in the cross-platform framework(CPF) Xojo which abstracts out the OS, but also prohibits the app from using platform specific benefits. With a CPF you get the least common denominator of all the supported platforms. I would invite you to use High Design for a bit and see if you can feel the difference between it and other Mac applications.

poolvibe
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by poolvibe » Tue Jun 15, 2021 6:20 pm

I would invite you to use High Design for a bit and see if you can feel the difference between it and other Mac applications.
I have experienced what you describe with HD. The behavior and feel are far from Mac-like.

S. Shubin
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by S. Shubin » Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:48 pm

I just realized something

I DID NOT start using PowerDraw until I THINK the LATTER 80’s, as I didn’t get my first Mac until the end of 1986

Sorry about that slip up. Such are things with an older mind at times. That gray matter just don’t always work like it used to

Steve

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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by S. Shubin » Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:50 pm

Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I think Todd was speaking with regards to how fast the program actually works. That is — how fast it opens up — how fast the zooming is — how easy is it to get around a file and jump from layout to layout — how fast is it to use a certain tool — that type of thing. But it wouldn’t surprise me if this is not what Todd was talking about. I’ve been wrong many times before. LOL

Now I haven’t worked with large files yet. But I have played around with some example files and just with the files that I’ve created, and I found the response time to be pretty doggone good

It takes a little over 10 seconds for the program to boot up from a cold start on my entry level 2017 MacBook Pro

And with regard to how fast files have been opening up — as far as example files and the files that I’ve created — well the ones I’ve created, as soon as I click on them they open up instantly. And the other files may take a little over a second or so.

Now I imagine if you get a bigger file, it may take longer. But it wouldn’t surprise me if you found the response time to be pretty good

As for the MAC LIKE —

I’m not gonna tell you it was the most intuitive program I’ve ever used.

And granted, the program does have its little quirks here and there

But without reading the book and without hardly watching any videos at all, but mainly just playing around with the program, I got up to pretty good speed within three weeks. And mind you — I was not spending a tremendous amount of time every day over this three week period.

To me — not spending numerous hours in manuals in trying to get up to speed with something, and not having to bury myself in video after video after video, well that certainly is a Mac like characteristic of a well written program

Poolvibe, I would be curious to know specifically what you found that was FAR from Mac like

But to anyone else out there, if you go to their website, they offer free trials. I don’t know how long the trial period is.

But if you don’t buckle down during the trial time, you may not realize all the functionality about inserting doors or what side of a certain point does a wall start on or how do you adjust that, or how do I place that door 5 inches away from an adjacent perpendicular wall. Or how do you edit a parametric door after inserting. And how do you set your symbols to exact angles and sizes that you want — well It may take a little while to get all this. But once you do play with the program for a while, I think you’re going to see that there is a lot of the critical functionality, that a lot of CAD users want, need or demand

Now, I want to say this also. I’m not trying to talk anybody away from using PowerCADD or Wildtools. To those of you that can stick it out with PowerCADD for the rest of your working days, more power to you. I wish I were in that camp.

But I was afraid and certainly hesitant to get a new plotter with a program that was still not 64-bit, as I didn’t know if there would be any ramifications for doing so — so that’s part of the reason I chose HighDesign. And I’m not regretting it one bit. I do like the program

It’s only a $400 program. And you own the program out right. And they’ll give you free updates for a year. And I think if you go to the website you could even get it cheaper. But I like the convenience of the Mac App Store that’s why I went there. And after a year if they do come out with a new upgrade or update or whatever, well I think they’re going to charge you about half of the initial purchase price for the upgrade, and that’ll give you updates/upgrades from that time for another year. But if you don’t want the upgrade, you don’t have to get it. And you can still use the program. And you don’t have to go online at any time to use the program.

Lastly I’d like to say to Todd and his mom, and Alfred, and I don’t know if Mike Cleveland is still around, - well I’d like to say thanks for the great years I had using your product. It was an amazing program to use.

Steve Shubin
formerly ‘Howgoesit’

S. Shubin
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by S. Shubin » Wed Jun 16, 2021 12:48 am

But I do envy those of you that are set up for continuing the use of PowerCADD & Wild Tools, as I do think that PC & WT are amazing programs, in that they put out stellar precision CAD graphics, In such a forthright and ease-of-use manner

Eric Pousse
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by Eric Pousse » Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:10 pm

todd@engsw.com wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 2:21 pm
Now, to answer your question regarding PowerCADD's file format. First, be aware, PowerCADD files are not trivial! I am not opposed to sharing PowerCADD's file format, but the specification is only fully defined by the code. Engineered Software would be unable to provide technical support regarding interpreting its files.

Todd
Bonjour Todd,

I understand and it is not a problem for me.
My mail is eric(at)adx-online(dot)com

Thanks.

DavidScottOrkney
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Re: Life after/beyond PowerCadd?

Post by DavidScottOrkney » Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:57 pm

I've tried a few of the other 2D CAD programs out there and the thing that gets me the most is how blazingly fast PowerCADD is. I've opened DWG outputs from some of my larger PowerCADD projects and the scrolling and zooming is always way inferior, even compared to running PowerCADD through VMWare on top of BigSur. When I first tried VMWare it felt slow but once I had cranked up the engine to use two cores and 4GB RAM it really improved. The screen refresh is still not silky smooth but PowerCADD runs pretty well, even with big files.
I imagine VMWare will run on Apple silicon under Rosetta2 but the big question is, "When will Apple dump Rosetta2?" The original Rosetta (PowerPC emulation layer) was discontinued after only four years.

Of all the 2D software I've tried, RealCAD looks to be the most Mac-like but it no longer imports DWG so I couldn't test it. However, just drawing simple shapes (like ellipses) feels laggy so at the moment I'm skeptical but maybe I'll be proved wrong.

We started out in 1990 running ClarisCAD and ArchiCAD4 on 2 Mac IIfx machines running System6. The video cards (which you had to purchase separately) would only support 256 colours on the 21" CRTs. We also had a LaserWriter, and an A1 pen plotter. For other work we used Pagemaker3 and WordPerfect and ran TOPS networking software to share files, which were backed up to a tape backup system using Retrospect. The whole lot cost about £30,000 for two workstations, over 30 years ago!
ClarisCAD software development ended a couple of years later and we eventually switched to PowerDraw4/WildTools in 1995, which felt like a ClarisCAD mega-upgrade. (I still run ClarisCAD in SheepShaver running Mac OS9 to open legacy drawings. PowerDraw had a ClarisCAD importer but it didn't recognise Wall entities which we used quite a lot.)

Feels like the end of an era now. But it was fun.

David

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