There have not been many solutions for assisted design that go beyond Windows. ArchiCAD had been somewhat lonely on the Mac, now AutoCAD has decided enter this market, and Ares is another interesting alternative. His name does not sound like AutoCAD, with the shade that P2P downloads program and what reminds us of the god of war in Greek mythology.
But Ares is a robust tool that not only runs natively on the three main platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux.
How Ares is Born
While little has been known about this software, the company that creates it is not new to this. This is Graebert GmbH, born in 1983, first distributor of AutoCAD in Germany.
- In 1993 it is separated from AutoDesk and a year later they were launching FelixCAD, which was later called PowerCAD, now owned by GiveMePower Inc. This still exists although it only supports dwg versions 2.5 up to 2002.
- Graebert was the creator of PowerCAD CE, which for the year 2000 became popular as one of the few CAD applications for PDAs.
It is clear that nobody who already has AutoCAD will be interested in using another solution unless they find an added value that captures their attention. Let's see what this solution offers:
Its multiplatform potential.
This is most attractive, especially for users who are used to take advantage of Mac operating systems, which are well positioned in the field of design. Let's not say Linux.
- Ares runs on Apple on Mac OS X 10.5.8 or higher systems.
- Also on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.
- And on Linux distributions: Ubuntu 9.10 Gnome, Fedora 11 Gnome, Suse 11.2 Gnome, Mandriva 2010 Gnome and KDE.
Development potential and price.
Ares comes in two versions: One call only Ares ($ 495.99), And the other Ares CE (Comander Edition) ($ 995.00). It can be said that in terms of price is extremely attractive, it is also feasible to migrate to a lower value of PowerCAD 6 and 7 although that software is no longer owned by Graebert.
The value added by the Comander Edition version is in the core to develop applications. You can take advantage with programming in Lisp, C, C ++ and DRX in order to create new functions, macros and plugins. In the Windows version you can work with Visual Studio for Applications (VSTA), Delphi, ActiveX, COM, including embedded links of OLE objects.
You can also customize the user interface using toolbars and XML nodes.
Other interesting features of Ares
Ares works on native dwg 2010 format, although it can read and convert to any dwg / dxf format from R12 versions. It also reads and edits ESRI shape files.
The interface is quite practical, with paddles that crawl easily and accommodate without much return. The contextual functions of right mouse button facilitate the work, although it also supports command line for users who like that archaic custom.
The properties of objects go beyond simple attributes. It is possible to make annotations about the drawing, such as freehand sketches, even associating them with audio. They imagine:
"Modify all this zone, according to the logbook in its page 11, once finished they send it to my mail and look for the signature of the supervision of the contractor"
The functionalities in the handling of layouts for printing, precision aids (smart snaps) and drawing 3D (based on the ACIS standard) are quite similar to AutoCAD. Although the rendering can combine different types of shading in the same view and the creation of templates for printing seem to be more practical, also the zoom / pan do not occupy refresh and can operate in real time without bad memory kill.
It supports DWT templates, DWGCODEPAGE, you can load external references using polygon clips (not just rectangle), edit blocks on the fly, export to pdf / dwf.
In short, a great tool that comes in more than 12 languages, including Spanish and Portuguese. We will have to see how they move in terms of positioning in a very captive market but with a lot of potential.
Here you can download the trial versions for 30 days: