Concord, MA —One of the advantages of storing digital components online is the ability to move from mass-production to mass-customization. The '90s saw consumer products move this way, with people ordering blue jeans cut to their exact measurements, or hand-picking the components on their dream motorcycles.
But the "cutting edge" software industry has lagged this trend. When was the last time you were able to choose the capabilities of your favorite CAD program?
In the meantime, hip applications like Napster, Gnutella, browsers and streaming media players have allowed users to choose from dozens of possible GUIs (graphical user interfaces) called "skins." It's similar to picking your favorite computer wallpaper or screen-saver, but skins apply to the specific applications.
Finally, CAD is catching up. Solidworks 2001 "allows various users to build different GUIs, create their own look and feel," says Joe Dunne, field technical manager. So engineers can choose a default Windows-type interface, or install wood paneling, then change the buttons and dialog boxes, and more.