OK, so maybe not all of DriveWorks 8 is being revealed, but in his blog, Philip Stears (lead developer at DriveWorks) is starting to leak details about the treasures in the new version of DriveWorks. Last year, DriveWorks unveiled their current version (DriveWorks 7) at SolidWorks World, and we anticipate that we may see that same thing happen this year with DriveWorks 8. Let’s take a look at what Philip has had to share, initially about some DriveWorks user interface improvements.
So on to the sneak peek. The first detail that Philip leaked is about new functionality in the DriveWorks Forms Designer. One of the new features revealed involves a request that we’ve been interested in for a while now – support for transparency in images. While this may not seem like a big deal, this actually allows you to overlap controls and images. This means that you can now create dynamic images by compositing a series of small images, making DriveWorks user interfaces much richer.
In the past, if we wanted to represent a car with three body colors, four wheel styles and three spoiler options (large, small and none), then we would have to create an image for each combination (3*4*3 = 36 images). With transparency, we can create images for each option (3+4+2 = 9 images), and since one option is a “spoiler = none” option, you don’t need an image for that at all, you can simply hide the image. This will also allow you to create more intuitive and better looking user interfaces. Also, with rectangular controls for everything, forms formerly had to be linear and block-like (try saying that one three times quickly). With the ability to utilize transparency, we can now make the user interface more freeform, better representing manufacturing drawings or other visual representations more familiar to the particular audience.
So start thinking about how you can redesign your user interfaces to make them sexier, more intuitive and more bulletproof against bad data. And watch this site for more details as they are revealed.