For those who've been waiting for a CAD software package based on Java,
the wait is over. At the end of October, Bentley (Exton, PA) released its
long-anticipated MicroStation/J, incorporating Sun Microsystems Java virtual
machine with a Parasolid(reg) solid modeling kernel. The software offers Java as
a native development environment for engineering applications through what
Bentley engineers call the Java MicroStation Development Language (JMDL)(TM)
Everyone is familiar with Java's write once, "read anywhere" claim to fame. But what does that mean in the CAD world? In the short term, an engineer can find any Java applet on the Internet, download that into his or her drawing, and the applet will run within MicroStation, with no programming required. Applications may be as simple as placing a date-and-time stamp on the drawing or drawing up a work order from a supplier's catalog, says Frank Conforti of Bentley. Hyperlinks between existing component parts can be set up so only a click on a part generates a drawing or obtains its dimensions.
Long-term benefits involve the support of what Bentley calls the "enterprise engineering process" which includes everything from modeling to manufacturing. MicroStation/J will be the foundation of Bentley's Enterprise Engineering Modeling products, all Java-based. MicroStation/J is fully compatible with previous versions of MicroStation and can be downloaded for free from the web at www.bentley.com.