To DWG or not to DWG …. Therein lays a rub somewhere I am sure!

We have been a bit quiet of late at Orange Juice Studios; however I wouldn’t mistake that for complacency. Exactly the opposite actually, we have been very busy getting cado for release. Unfortunately as you will have seen our proposed launch in the 2nd quarter of 2013 has unfortunately slipped. We know there are people waiting for this app to be available and we can only apologise for the slight delay but our intentions are honourable ……


… and we are determined not to reinvent the wheel (unnecessarily) – we are just improving on it. Promise!

We took the decision early on to offer the user a truly useful and clean CAD application, and that means we need to include DWG support. This is easier said than done, as you can imagine, there are organisations out there who would like to protect their investment in DWG and protect their rationale for asking you for £3,000 for a licence renewal!

For those that do not know, DWG is the most common file format for CAD drawings used by professionals, and really a CAD application would not be complete without it. However the creators of DWG, Autodesk are protective over it.

We are not the first to try and bring DWG to the mass market (without the exorbitant price tag) – the Open Design Alliance has “worked to provide best in class development software for engineering solutions” and I bet that when Autodesk suspended its legal battle against the ODA in 2009 to focus on the legal battle with Solidworks, the ODA was very pleased and a little relieved! The right to use DWG across software platforms remains a key asset in this industry, Autodesk knows it, Solidworks knows it and so do we.

The specification for DWG is available however there is no open source code for using DWG, so if you want to allow DWG capability without paying a truly gargantuan amount for the privilege, you have to create your own library….. Which is exactly what we have decided to do. Now good people, take a minute to bear in mind what this involves – it means writing from scratch the code to import and export every single object type that can be read by cado; and it’s properties! That’s lines, arcs, polylines, circles etc etc etc…. spare a thought a prayer for us!

Now if that didn’t seem like a big enough ask for a start-up company, Autodesk changes the DWG specification with each release, varying things like specification, encryption or compression …. No we are sure we do not know why they do this…. Do you? Anyway, we’re not bitter – we are just cracking on with it an will get it done…. it just takes a little time is all.

This all might seem like a little much to launch an application with, but we believe as strongly as we did when we started this project, that cado would be the industry leading go-to CAD application for the mobile market, and we mean to deliver just that!


  1. Pedro Fardilha says: (February 6, 2014)

    Hi there.
    I can’t even imagine how big of a task it must be to create a DWG library from scratch.
    I remember “back in the days” the import/export problems that I had while using Dinema 4D and (no longer) Google SketchUp.
    That makes me think about StechUp.
    Granted that SketchUp has a percentage of maket penetration well below the DWG format, but wouldn’t be easier, at least for an initial release, to use it as the import/export format?
    I don’t have a clue of how protective they are about their format either but since there is a decent free version of the app IF some sort of direct licensing is feasible that could ease the initial release timeframe while allowing proper time to “reverse engineering” the DWG format.

    Anyways, keep up the food work!
    Pedro Fardilha

  2. Vim says: (February 7, 2014)

    Pedro, you’re right – DWG is not an easy task. Sketchup is a good suggestion and we will accommodate file formats users tell us they need as and when we are able to.

  3. Ralph Grabowski says: (July 10, 2014)

    Why would you not use the Open Design Alliance libraries?

  4. Vim says: (July 14, 2014)

    Hi Ralph, we didn’t go down the ODA route for a few reasons. Firstly at the time we were unconvinced (rightly or wrongly) regards the completeness and quality of the iOS library, secondly being a start up the upfront and ongoing cost of the ODA library was a factor and lastly the potential for litigation was also a concern.

    By writing the code from the ground up we not only understand what is in our product, we also have control over the IP and source code. Hopefully this will prove to be the right choice, time will tell!

    Thanks for getting in touch.

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