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Monday, 21 September 2009

Autodesk Inventor via your web browser!

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method of delivering software usage to the user via the web, this usually means using the application, (which is hosted & managed by the vendor at their data centre) within a web browser. It’s something that has been talked about for many years and many software vendors have tried delivering their software in this way at some point.

Autodesk started delivering software via SaaS a couple of years ago and have introduced tools such as Project Showroom, Project Dragonfly and Project Draw which all give users the ability to create designs via a web browser. These are available for use from the Autodesk Labs website - http://labs.autodesk.com

Last week Autodesk announced that they were extending the SaaS offering via Project Twitch, a new on-line Labs project that will allow users to trial their favourite Autodesk software via a web browser! The amazing part about all this is the tools that you can trial - AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor and Maya - four of Autodesk flagship solutions can all be trialled via a web browser.

There are some restrictions\guides though.....
  • No ability to upload, download, or save files. To make it easier to try out the application, we have loaded a number of sample files that will allow you to interact with complex drawings.
  • No ability to load or keep any customisations that you create .
  • Access is limited to users that have hardware and network connections capable of supporting the service
  • 32-bit Windows Vista or Windows XP
  • IE 7 or higher
  • Firefox 3.x
  • 5Mbps+ bandwidth
The real limitation at the moment though is geography, users wanting to trial any of these applications via their web browser need to be within 1000 miles of the data centre which is in San Francisco. Although this is not good for us in Europe at the moment, Project Twitch shows us that the SaaS model is not just limited to 2D drawing, word processing and spread sheets and that possibly one day, the whole globe will have access to our favourite 3D Autodesk tools via our web browser.

For more information about Project Twitch, head on over to the Project Twitch pages on Autodesk Labs - http://labs.autodesk.com/technologies/trials/