As might be inferred from the preceding discussions, SoftSource Vdraft's customization apparatus also reflects elegance and simplicity. By means of its open architecture and OLE 2.0 Automation, Vdraft offers a powerful model for virtually limitless programmability and program extensibility for creating complete, customized CAD solutions.
The choice of OLE Automation as the main customizing mechanism for Vdraft again strategically positions the program in the present and future CAD markets. Vdraft's advantage--and the far-reaching implication for the industry, in general--is summed up in one key point:
The CAD user who has had to learn any number of different programming protocols to customize AutoCAD--scripts, AutoLISP, DIESEL, ARX, and ADS, to name just a few--is sure to appreciate the beauty of this evolution in CAD programmability.
OLE 2.0 Automation is a new programming standard created by Microsoft Corporation. It defines a protocol whereby one application, called a client, or controlling application, can control another application, called a server application.
By exposing a hierarchy of OLE objects it has defined, the server application provides data or services for a client application. These OLE objects correspond to all or a subset of the server application's internal objects. For example, Vdraft's OLE objects are organized in a hierarchy extending from the level of the application itself, down through objects (lines, points, circles, blocks, attributes, and so forth), down through given dialog box options, and so on (see the diagram later in this section).
For a transaction to occur, the client application first connects to the exposed OLE objects. Then the client application can set properties and execute the methods of objects exposed by the server application.
Vdraft can function solely as an OLE server. This means that any other client application that can access Vdraft's OLE objects can control Vdraft, request data, and manipulate the program.
For example, a user may need to track pricing or parts information in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Such information is often stored in blocks or attributes of CAD drawings. Via Excel connections to the appropriate hierarchy of OLE objects in the appropriate Vdraft drawing, the user can easily "drive" Vdraft from the Excel spreadsheet and extract the necessary data from blocks or attributes in the drawing.
The following diagram illustrates the basic scheme of an OLE Automation routine with Vdraft and another Windows application such as Microsoft Excel:
Currently, Microsoft Visual Basic, Microsoft Access, Borland Delphi, and Visual C++ are only a few of the many Windows-compliant programming tools from various vendors that will fully utilize OLE Automation. In addition, Microsoft plans to migrate all its applications-based macro languages to Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), so OLE Automation will play an ever larger role in program extensibility. Such developments will also have far-reaching implications for Vdraft and the CAD industry.
Again, the beauty of this model with regard to CAD customization is that the user need only learn a single programming protocol instead of the several it used to take to accomplish various customizing tasks in AutoCAD. And, again, OLE Automation positions SoftSource Vdraft as a CAD system truly in the vanguard.
DWG and DXF Compatibility
Tools and User Interface
Product Fact Sheet
Become a 'Vdraft Partner'
Vdraft Third Party Applications
More Information. . .