Nanosoft and the ODA: turning convention on its head
Familiar, fully functional and free
It has an intuitive user interface, familiar commands and it opens, edits and saves all .dwg file formats. It has all the most popular drafting, modeling and editing tools. In fact it has features that are identical to some of the most popular CAD solutions, yet it costs nothing. It is nanoCAD. While some companies are still trying to decide what CAD to invest in, users of nanoCAD are already bringing their ideas to life, accessing old data and collaborating within teams, with partners and with suppliers.
It is not difficult to understand the appeal of fully functional .dwg-based CAD that’s free of charge; especially when it comes with a free development platform on which users can create their own CAD applications. That is why nanoCAD had already attracted 100,000 users by 2011, less than three years after its launch.
An innovative business model
When it was founded in 2008 Nanosoft set out to provide an attractive route by which users of unlicensed CAD software could upgrade to legitimate software with minimal transfer issues and at no cost. The company achieved this with nanoCAD, a multi-purpose product that is easy to implement and use and compatible with all popular CAD formats. Suitable as a mission-critical application for a wide range of professions, it can cope with the complexity of disciplines such as mechanical engineering and building design.
“We were inspired by a high level of piracy in the global CAD software market,” explains Dmitry Popov, Product Launch Director. “Our aim is to protect corporate CAD users and their business processes from legal risks and prosecution by offering them a reliable, free and one hundred per cent legal solution. At Nanosoft we believe that professional CAD applications should be as affordable as operating systems or VoIP applications so that everyone benefits from better products at lower cost.”
Nanosoft also wanted to promote innovation and collaboration by building a CAD platform with an open API. “This means that any developer can port applications to nanoCAD with ease and advanced users can also easily tailor preferred applications for use with nanoCAD,” comments Dmitry.
ODA membership for development speed
It was a deliberate choice to base nanoCAD on the native .dwg format, one of the most widely used design data formats. Once drawings are made in nanoCAD, they can be used in any other popular CAD systems without conversion or data loss. In addition nanoCAD can be combined with other CAD solutions to form a comprehensive package that will reduce cost and create a competitive edge for many businesses.
Before the Nanosoft team began the nanoCAD project they evaluated all the alternatives for keeping the .dwg files within their software up to date. They decided to enroll the company as an ODA Founding Member, with full access to all ODA data and full involvement in managing the organization. Dmitry again: “It was absolutely the right decision. We had extensive previous experience of using the ODA libraries and knew that the ODA would give us true native .dwg support. It was very important to us to have the freshest .dwg compliance because it is so critical to CAD users.”
Business success stems from the ODA
Dmitry is clear that the ODA has been critical to the company. “Without the ODA we could not have been so successful with nanoCAD. We get excellent .dwg format support from the ODA.” This is clear from the impressive progress made by Nanosoft since it was founded in the spring of 2008 and the development team first began working on nanoCAD.
The first vertical application based on nanoCAD was available by the end of that year. The beta version of the free nanoCAD platform was launched in the autumn of 2009, at which point there were 6 vertical applications based on it. By 2012 there were 16 vertical applications and the company had more then 100,000 users of nanoCAD and vertical applications in Russia.
“The main source of our success in Russia has been excellent .dwg format support from the ODA. The Teigha platform allows us to provide smooth integration of nanoCAD into customer workflows. There is no problem starting in AutoCAD then moving to nanoCAD, or a nanoCAD-based vertical application, to make changes and then returning to AutoCAD or another Autodesk product.”