저명한 CAD 전문가인 랠프 그라보스키(Ralph Grabowski)가 최근 ZWCAD를 분석하고 인터페이스, 명령, 드로잉, 커스토마이제이션 측면에 집중하여 오토캐드(AutoCAD)에 대한 본 제품의 호환성을 비교한 리뷰를 발표했다.
랠프 그라보스키는 디지털 매거진 업프런트(upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.)의 수석 에디터로서 컴퓨터 지원 설계(computer-aided design, CAD)에 대한 140여 권의 저서와 수백 편의 기사를 발표했다.
ZWCAD는 2012년 초 발표되었으며 당시 새로운 코드 베이스를 보유하고 있다고 밝혀 많은 이들을 놀라게 했다. 이전 ZWCAD 사용자, 신규 사용자, 업계 전문가들은 차세대 ZWCAD를 사용해보고 새로운 기능들에 경탄해 마지 않았다. 다음은 랠프의 ZWCAD에 대한 견해이다.
ZWCAD의 UI 호환성에 대해 랠프는 “내가 가장 좋아하는 기능은 ‘도큐먼트 헤드(document head)’이다. 이 탭들은 오픈 드로잉(open drawing)들 간에 즉각적인 스위칭이 가능하다. 이 탭을 오른쪽 클릭하면 공통 파일로 연결할 수 있는 명령어 메뉴가 나타난다(반면에 오토캐드는 툴바 버튼이나 어플리케이션 메뉴와 관련된 드로잉 스위칭 시스템이 어색하다)”며 “ZWCAD는 스마트마우스(SmartMouse)라 명명된 기능 덕에 오토캐드보다 사용자 인터페이스에서 한발 앞서 있다. 오른쪽 마우스 버튼을 누른 상태에서 커서를 알파벳 모양으로(혹은 특정 방향으로) 드래그하면 명령어가 활성화된다. 예를 들어 글자 ‘E’를 마우스 드래그로 그리면, 지우기(Erase) 명령어가 시작된다. 왼쪽으로 드래그하면 붙여넣기(Copy)가 시작된다. 정말 좋은 것은 스마트마우스 조절(SmartMouseConfig) 명령어가 어떤 동작도 커스터마이즈할 수 있다는 것이다”라고 말했다.
리뷰 후반부에서 랠프는 ZWCAD의 오토캐드 드로잉과의 호환성에 대해 언급했다. 수많은 CAD 프로그램을 테스트해온 자신의 컨설팅 경험을 동원하고 많은 무거운 드로잉 파일들을 ZWCAD로 테스트했다. 결과는 매우 뛰어났으며 ZWCAD는 모든 테스트 드로잉을 정확하게 화면에 제시했다. 많은 CAD 사용자들이 ZWCAD가 지원하지 않는 개체를 담고 있는 오토캐드 드로잉 파일을 불러들일 때의 결과를 궁금해한다. 랠프는 이를 컨스트레인트(constraint)와 3차원 점 집합(point cloud)에서 테스트했으며 “ZWCAD는 이를 정확하게 표시했다. 속성(Properties) 팔레트가 이를 ‘프록시 개체(proxy entity)’로 보고해준다. 즉 해당 드로잉의 이동 또는 삭제, 색상이나 레이어의 변경, 인쇄 등의 간단한 에디팅 작업을 할 수 있다. 하지만 프록시 개체는 3차원 점 집합에 고유한 명령어로는 에디팅이 불가능하다”고 말했다.
종합적으로, 랠프는 ZWCAD 의 비용효율에 큰 점수를 주었다. 그는 “오토캐드가 4천 달러인 반면, ZWCAD 프로는 구입 국가에 따라 약 1천 달러 정도의 가격에 구입할 수 있다. ZWCAD는 오토캐드의 1/4 가격이며, 이는 당신의 사무실에서 4배 더 많은 워크스테이션에서 캐드 작업이 가능하다는 의미이다. 이는 무척 비용 효율적이다”라고 말했다.
랠프 그라보스키는 오토캐드 2013년판과 ZWCAD 2012년판의 차별점을 논의한 전체 제품 리뷰에 다른 많은 예제와 비교를 포함시켰다. 전체 제품 리뷰는 여기를 클릭하면 확인할 수 있다.
[본 기사자료는 해당 기업에서 원하는 언어로 작성한 원문을 한국어로 번역한 것이다. 그러므로 번역문의 정확한 사실 확인을 위해서는 원문 대조 절차를 거쳐야 한다. 처음 작성된 원문만이 공식적인 효력을 갖는 발표로 인정되며 모든 법적 책임은 원문에 한해 유효하다.]
▲ ZWCAD 에 대하여
ZWCAD는 ZWSOFT의 완전 소유 계열사인 ZWCAD 디자인(ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd.)이 개발한 비용 효율적인 dwg 확장자 파일 호환 CAD 솔루션이다.
존 초우(John Chow),
ZWCAD 2012 vs AutoCAD 2013
By Ralph Grabowski, Oct 11, 2012
ZWSOFT has been over the last decade working diligently to produce a respectable AutoCAD workalike. Like many other reasonably-priced CAD packages, ZWCAD was for a time based on IntelliCAD, but then the company rewrote the code to make it faster.
All along, ZWSOFT emphasized ZWCAD's compatibility with AutoCAD - the subject of this article. But it is not their only CAD system. The company made in 2010 the surprising move of purchasing VX of Florida, USA, a firm best known for its CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) software. ZWSOFT renamed VX "ZW3D," and then put it through an aggressive upgrade schedule. More recently, the company release ZWCAD Mechanical, an add-on for doing 2D mechanical design. Today, its line of CAD software is sold by dealers in 80 countries to 320,000 customers.
ZWCAD is a cost-effective AutoCAD workalike. When AutoCAD users fire up ZWCAD, they will find it similar to that with which they are already familiar. (See figure 1.) Indeed, ZWSOFT claims their software "has the closest user experience as AutoCAD, compared to alternative products." Let's take a look at how ZWCAD compares with AutoCAD in the areas of user interface, commands, drawing display, and customization.
(Because Autodesk uses the year+1 method for release numbers, the current version of AutoCAD is 2013 even though the current release of ZWCAD is 2012.)
User Interface Compatibility
Figure 1: ZWCAD 2012 looks in many areas like AutoCAD
As you gaze around figure 1, you'll find (clockwise from upper left) the application menu (under the big Z), quick access toolbar, ribbon, palettes, scroll bars, layout tabs, command prompt area, and a status bar that's not quite a feature-packed as AutoCAD's.
Figure 2: Secret button for accessing menus in ribbon mode
ZWCAD does come with toolbars, but they appeared when only I switched to Classic mode, which replaces the ribbon with the menu bar. I found that menus are always available in ribbon mode by clicking the Menu button in the upper right corner. (See figure 2.) While ZWCAD does not have workspaces, clicking the adjacent button lets me switch skin colors.
My favorite feature is the "document head," those tabs that let me switch instantly between open drawings. Right-clicking one of these tabs presents a menu of common file-oriented commands. See figure 3. (In contrast, AutoCAD has awkward drawing switching systems involving toolbar buttons or the application menu.) The Ctrl+Tab keyboard shortcut works in both CAD systems.
Figure 3: Document tabs switch instantly between open drawings
One curiosity is that to switch between the ribbon and menu bar (aka the "Classic" interface), I have to restart ZWCAD. In AutoCAD I need only enter a system variable to toggle the menu bar on and off. After I activated Classic mode, I found the menu bar to be very similar to that of AutoCAD, the only differences being those that relate to ZWCAD's extra and missing commands.
Power users tend to as much as possible employ the keyboard to enter commands and options, and here ZWCAD matches AutoCAD in command bar functions. It has command history, and so I can press the up arrow to recall earlier commands. When I start to type a command name, ZWCAD presents a list of similar names. There is, however, no dynamic input; for me, that's fine, because I don't like it in AutoCAD.
Among palettes, there is Tools, Design Center, and Properties; of other palettes found in AutoCAD, you can use dialog boxes for accessing layers, external references, and so on. There is no block editor environment, nor are there the related dynamic blocks.
ZWCAD takes the user interface lead over AutoCAD with something it calls SmartMouse: by holding down the right mouse button and dragging the cursor in the shape of a letter of the alphabet (or in a specific directions), I activate a command. For instance, when I drag the mouse to draw the letter E, the Erase command starts; I drag to the left, and Copy starts. In figure 4, I composted screen grabs of the mouse movement with the resulting command. Best of all, the SmartMouseConfig command fully customizes any of the movements.
Figure 4: Drawing an E with the right mouse button starts the Erase command
ZWCAD's commands, express tools, and system variables use AutoCAD names. All of ZWCAD commands are identically named to those in AutoCAD, except for those that are unique to ZWCAD. I didn't do a thorough check of which commands are included, except to note that there are over 500 of them in ZWCAD - as compared to around 1,200 in AutoCAD. Once you leave out the AutoCAD commands dedicated to 3D, the numbers compare more favorably. (It can be hard to decide precisely which should be included in AutoCAD, because it has many duplicate and undocumented commands).
ZWCAD supports command aliases; you edit them through the zwcad.pgp file in Notepad. I do wish ZWSOFT would include more workalike aliases, such as having an 'externalreferences' alias for the Xref Manager dialog box.
The ACIS modeler is part of ZWCAD, and so I am able to create and edit 3D solid models. Hidden line removal and shading of 3D drawings are included, but not rendering.
ZWCAD reads AutoCAD drawings made by releases as recent as 2012.
I sometimes consult on compatibility for competitors to Autodesk, and from this I have a collection of tough drawing with which test DWG files. Here ZWCAD scored excellent, displaying every test drawing correctly. Now, this is largely due to the diligence of the Open Design Alliance, from whom ZWSOFT licenses its DWG read-write capabilities.
So the question becomes, "What happens when I import an AutoCAD drawing that contains entities not supported by ZWCAD?" For instance, it does not do constraints or point clouds. Well, the full answer involves a lot of detailed, time-consuming investigation for which I charge clients thousands. But for this article I opened an AutoCAD drawing containing a point cloud; ZWCAD displayed it correctly, with the Properties palette reporting it as a "proxy entity." This means that I perform simple editing tasks on it, such as move or delete it, change its color or layer, and print it; being a proxy, I cannot edit it with command specific to point clouds.
When I opened a drawing containing xrefs that could not be found, ZWCAD reported them as such, but unhappily gave me no opportunity to find them on its behalf. An icon in the lower-right corner shows that xref files are attached; it also warns when they are lost. On the positive side, however, ZWCAD places drawings, raster images, OLE objects, and WMF hybrid images into drawings.
To add and remove buttons from toolbars, for instance, I need only drag them from and to the Customize dialog box; the same goes for customizing Tools palettes. As for menus, well, I think we are stuck customizing them old-style, by editing the source MNU file.
Figure 5: The Customize dialog box
This dialog box also handles the creation and editing of keyboard shortcuts, like pressing Ctrl+N to execute the New command. You cannot add "commands" through macros, as in AutoCAD; also not customizable is the ribbon.
The Options command lets you tweak user interface elements through a tabbed dialog box (figure 6) that looks like the one in AutoCAD, through with fewer options, which may well be a good thing as AutoCAD's become more overwhelming over time. This dialog box lets you customize the action of right-clicks, interface and selection colors, smart snap settings, and more.
Figure 6: The Options dialog box
The Drawing Settings dialog box in ZWCAD is not as comprehensive as AutoCAD's; nevertheless, it lets you choose options related to object snaps, snaps and grids, and polar tracking - all crucial for creating accurate drawings.ZWCAD reads many AutoCAD customization files, including the following: menu MNU and MNS; linetype LIN; hatch pattern PAT; font SHP and TTF; script SCR; plot style CTB and STB; and plot configuration PC5. It does not read CUI or CUIX files.
When it comes to programming, ZWCAD handles LISP, DCL, Diesel, COM, and script files. It does not support .Net or DVB, and it lacks the VLISP integrated development environment. It has its own version of ARX called ZRX, and it has its own SDS (not the one from IntelliCAD), which is compatible with ADS. ZWCAD supports VBA through its own ZPVB format. LISP routines can be encrypted, something no available in AutoCAD; this protects the source code from being stolen.
In addition to encrypted LISP, SmartMouse, and drawing tabs, ZWCAD includes FCMP, the awkwardly-named command that displays the differences between two drawings. It's short for "File CoMPare" and is found in the Express Tools section; see figure 7.
Figure 7: File compare using colors to emphasize differences between drawings
Not only does it illustrate differences through colors, I can use it to discover differences that are not obvious from the geometry, such as properties.
There is much more to ZWCAD that I did not have the room to write about in this review, such as viewing and editing commands, dimensions, and the full range of AutoCAD-compatible plotting controls – ZWCAD supports eTransmit, plot stamps, plotter configurations, batch plotting, publishing of drawing sets, and outputting drawings in PDF, DWG, and raster formats.
While AutoCAD costs $4,000, ZWCAD Pro is priced at around $1,000, depending on which country you buy in. ZWCAD costs a quarter of AutoCAD, which means your office can run CAD on 4X more stations, which is pretty cost-effective
About the Author
Ralph Grabowski is one of the leading CAD journalists and authors, with over a 100 books and many hundreds of articles. His upFront.eZine may be the industry's longest running newsletter. Ralph holds a civil engineering degree. More...