Sharing design and manufacturing information over the Internet is a hot topic. And there is plenty to read on the Web if you are interested. At http://www.vds.com, designers can download an engineering white paper by US-based Visionary Design Systems on e-engineering that describes all the advantages and benefits that e-business might hold for your organisation. The company’s Connect VDS system allows a design team and its suppliers to collaborate over the Web.
For its part, Intercap (http://www.intercap.com) offers the Active CGM Publishing Suite enabling users to create, view and add hyperlinks and animation to technical graphics. Active CGM allows attribute information to be linked up to graphics components. Using Active CGM and HTML, authors can create interactive graphics documents that can be used for internet distribution.
Also on this site, it is possible to learn more about WebCGM, the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) new Recommendation for standard use of CGM vector graphics in Web-based applications. Announced in January, WebCGM offers a standard approach for the effective application of the international CGM standard in hyperlinking and document navigation, picture structuring and layering, and searches and queries.
WebCGM is a collaborative effort of the CGM Open Consortium and the W3C to enable interoperability of Version 4 CGM across all Web document applications. The standard will enable CGM users to leverage existing validation tools, test suites, and product certification testing services for their applications.
Competing somewhat with this standard is the DWF (Drawing Web format) file offered by Autodesk. This file format facilitates the exchange of designs over the Internet and supports streaming and real-time pan and zoom. Autodesk has published the specifications of DWF so that it can be used openly. For more information, there is a white paper on the Autodesk vision at http://www.autodesk.com/products/whtpaper/techviz/design.htm.