Design Features of DXE (Drawing eXchange Engine)


Why we are explaining the design features of DXE

Design features of the reading and writing portion...

Design features of the display portion...

You can have an entire drawing automatically displayed, retrieve and display entities one at a time, or even create your own entities and display them.

Uses for DXE

Simple - have DXE strip out or add the information that differs between releases.
Complex - programmer provides interpretations for information that differs between releases.

Extract graphic information from one drawing and use it to create another drawing. DXE is the basis for Vdraft CADview, which allows you to view DWG/DXF, print drawings, view block and layer information, area measure, plus many other management features.

Core Programming Design of Vdraft


Vdraft Data

Vdraft works directly with AutoCAD DWG and DXF files. There is no translation process so no information is lost switching between AutoCAD and Vdraft.


Design Philosophies for the Vdraft User Interface

User feedback

While dragging out new entities, the cursor is snapping to the proper point based on entity snap modes (endpoint, midpoint, etc.), grid snaps, and angle snaps (including ortho snap).

When moving/rotating/scaling new block insertions, text, etc., the object is being displayed as it will appear when the change is finalized.

When selecting a block to insert, you get a graphic preview of the blocks.

If you want to undo the last several actions, you can look at a list describing what you've done and choose how far back you want to go.

Context sensitive options and help

Selecting the right mouse button will display a popup menu filled with options that are relevant to the current action - drawing a line, selecting entities, pasting objects, etc.

The status bar always displays a brief message explaining what actions the user can perform next.

Pressing F1 or selecting help will display complete help on the current action.

All features designed for new users and experienced users

New users are unsure how to perform an action and whether to experiment with a new feature. Context sensitive popups make a wide variety of relevant options easily available. The undo list makes it easy to undo experiments or actions that didn't turn out quite right.

Experienced users know what they want to do and they want to be able to do it quickly. One way Vdraft addresses this issue is through flicks. The context sensitive popup menu is displayed as a 3x3 grid centered on the cursor. When the user gets used to an action being in a certain direction, they can flick to it - hold down the right button and move the mouse in the direction of the option. The popup menu doesn't even need to be displayed. Thus the experienced user can quickly select between context sensitive options with a flick of the mouse. This is quicker than the alternatives: switching from the mouse to the keyboard, moving the mouse all the way to a pulldown menu or to a toolbar, or even bringing up the popup menu before selecting an option.

Simple consistent access to features

In AutoCAD you can modify all the properties of a single entity with ddmodify, some of the properties of an entity or group of entities with ddchprop or chprop, or modify a few more kinds of properties using the change command. With Vdraft, all these functions are performed with the Properties option, which is always available on the context sensitive popup.

Attributes attached to a block insertion are also accessed through the Properties option.

The ability to work with more than one drawing at a time (AutoCAD 2000 finally shares Vdraft’s multiple drawing capability)

You can even cut and paste between drawings.

Most actions can be performed in the middle of other actions

In the middle of drawing a polyline you could change the grid size, turn on or off entity snap modes, pan over, zoom out, bring up the linetype box and define a new linetype, bring up the polyline's property box and change its linetype to the new one, bring up the layer list and toggle the visibility of several layers, open a new drawing and work on it for awhile, ...

You don't have to walk down a predefined path of prompts

If you draw text in AutoCAD you have to answer their questions in order. If you change your mind, you cancel and start over. If need to see how the text looks first to decide something like how big it should be, you need to finish the text then modify it using ddmodify or the non-intuitive change command. If you draw text you...

      1. pick where you want it to be
      2. choose the height
      3. choose the rotation angle
      4. type in the text

In Vdraft, you can change any aspect of the text at any time, even in the middle of typing it in, since all the options are on a context sensitive popup. If you started typing in your text and realized it won't fit, you could change the height and continue typing.

Useful toolbars are provided for common functions

Toolbars can be individually turned on or off.

Toolbars can be moved around or "docked" to the side of the window for personal customization.

Several toolbars include a list for quick access to layers, blocks, linetypes, colors, etc. plus a button which will take you to a dialog box with complete control over the item.

Use the latest capabilities of Windows NT and Windows 98

Send the current drawing via e-mail to other people across your network.

Long filenames and the Universal Naming Convention (UNC).

Print preview.

Active X (OLE) allows Vdraft to be linked or embedded in another application such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access or any other Widows OLE .

Active X (OLE) Automation for easy programmability from a large number of other programs.


Active X (OLE) Automation

Why Vdraft is programmable through Active X (OLE) Automation...

What can be done through Automation...


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