Bricsys: putting users and application developers in control

The challenge: compatibility without captivity

Professionals prefer de facto industry standard software because it can ease the exchange of data between colleagues, partners and suppliers and because it encourages the development of a range of complementary applications. However, these same professionals - being users and independent application developers - fear being locked in to one supplier. No one likes being a captive customer as it can lead to higher prices and complacent customer support.

The .dwg file format became the de facto standard for CAD because Autodesk was extremely successful in making AutoCAD the most popular drawing software on the planet. In addition, a large community of developers built thousands of commercial applications on top of AutoCAD, adding an incredible wealth of vertical knowledge and expertise to the platform.

This was only possible through a series of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that were made available by Autodesk for this developer community. Deciding to offer an equivalent platform, Bricsys set out to develop BricsCAD and enable each and every AutoCAD based application to be ported to it without rewriting the code.

The solution: saving time and effort with Teigha

The Teigha® binaries enabled Bricsys to develop powerful alternative .dwg-based CAD software and offer a real choice to users and application developers.

BricsCAD offers the complete core functionality of .dwg-based CAD software for the end-user and at the same time it has all the APIs required to enable the porting of existing .dwg based applications using the same source code.

Erik de Keyser, Chief Executive Officer of Bricsys notes, “Any product requiring .dwg compatibility will need Teigha, the software development platform for CAD and other technical graphics applications.” He adds: “At Bricsys we would have to rewrite our software if we did not have Teigha. Between one third and one half of BricsCAD is based on it, a substantial part of the product. If we did not have access to the Teigha platform then we would constantly be rewriting the .dwg files and formats we rely on. The same applies to the other 2000 ODA customers, everyone would have to rewrite to a certain extent; it would be a crazy situation.”

"If we did not have access to the Teigha platform then we would constantly be rewriting the .dwg files and formats we rely on." Erik de Keyser, CEO, Bricsys

The results: phenomenal growth

Founded in 2002, Bricsys has grown phenomenally and now operates through a network of more than 70 offices on four continents. Its flagship product, BricsCAD, is available in 18 languages and is used in all engineering disciplines.

Bricsys clients include several ODA founding members that now also use the 2D and 3D constraint technology provided by Bricsys, which provides all the APIs necessary for application partners to take advantage of new capabilities.

Erik estimates that it would take Bricsys 50 man-years to create the Teigha files it currently receives. “I know that the development team focuses intense effort on maintaining these critical files, it is a huge job. Certainly we could not exist in our present form without access to the Teigha source code. We have no worry about compatibility because all the potential issues have been solved and Teigha underpins all our new products. The only requirement for us is to merge our code every time there is an upgrade.”

Bricsys can underprice its main competitor because it keeps overheads very low and focuses all its effort on technical innovation and business efficiency. “Thanks to Teigha from the Open Design Alliance, we have been posting 25-30% growth every year and we are always profitable,” says Erik de Keyser. “.dwg is a de facto standard in the engineering world and customers finally have a real choice. Bricsys combines professional engineering solutions with a fair and transparent pricing model and a user-friendly upgrade policy. Because Teigha is so critical to our success we now give back all the bug fixes and improvements we make. It is a win-win situation.”

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