DWF is Dead??

After much concern for the DWF format and after bringing it up many times I had a colleague point me to the Autodesk Labs blog about the DWF file format.  Here is a little summary


Scott Sheppard said in reply to Anthony Mason…

Just so you don’t have to read between the lines.

1. Autodesk Design Review 2013 is frozen. It is still available for download for free, supports DWF files generated by the 2015 products, but no active development is happening on it.

2. DWF is not dead. The file format forms the basis for things like Autodesk Vault as well as some things we want to do that are cloud-based.

3. AutOCAD 2015 didn’t really have much change for PDF support. That wasn’t a theme for the 2015 release. DWF and PDF are artifacts from teh real design data (e.g. DWG). We want to eliminate artifacts where we can. The counter argument to this is that artifacts are a subset of the real design data whose content can be chosen by the customer.

4. Where our focus is could be called cloud/mobile/social. Cloud in that infinite computing can be applied to analysis and simulation. Mobile in that people want to access design data from a wide variety of devices like desktops, laptops, Macs, iPhones, Androids, etc. Social in that projects shoudl place people at the center and serve up the data to them.

So when people say “I don’t like Autodesk 360, will you port Autodesk Design review to the Mac?”, the answer is no. Rather than do that, we would spend our resources updating Autodesk 360 so that native design files can be viewed on a Mac via Autodesk 360. This could involve dynamically converting the data to DWF, HTML5, SVF, or whatever is suitable on demand and using modern programming approaches to deliver the user experience. The user experience of looking at design data should be part of a larger project experience where users share project status, text messages, video chats, and all of the other stuff that goes on during a design project. A design project should be more like social media than an individual tool for looking at one DWF file on one specified platform. Autodesk 360 will one day grow up to be that solution. Until it grows up, we have desktop applications bundled into suites that customers can continue to use….


Anthony Mason said in reply to Scott Sheppard

I can hear someone saying, “Architectural Desktop and Volo View Express work correctly today. You are free to stick with those versions until the end of time.”

Please don’t take this personally, Scott. I think a lot of us are just really disappointed. Also, whether it’s justified or not, it’s not common for someone to be happy to need to now pay for what they’ve been getting for free for years.

For me, I’ll be actively researching other options. Even if dwf isn’t dead, Autodesk Design Review is dead, and there’s no point planning to keep it around long term. Maybe some other options, like Tekla BIMsight or Bluebeam Revu will pan out…


Scott Sheppard said in reply to Anthony Mason…

On that we agree. Design Review is not for the long term. Only keep it until Autodesk 360 is equivalent or better. By the way I routinely answer questions from people who still use Volo View and even WHIP!

Sent from Scott’s iPhone


The bottom line, the DWF file format is not dead as Autodesk is using it for things like Vault and Autodesk360.  On the other hand, although not dead yet, Design Review has a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order and will be allowed to quietly die once Autodesk 360 is equivalent or better.


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