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Despite having been previewed at the SolidWorks World conference in January, the urge to release the 2000 version has been resisted until robustness has reached the required level.
The Pre-Release2 currently available to subscription users incorporates the full range of new capabilities including greatly enhanced surface handling tools, updates to the interface and a new add-in explorer application for handling references between multiple files.
SolidWorks are prepared to risk the temporary discomfort caused to the existing user base by altering the interface for the long term good.
There are too many examples of packages hobbled by the constraints of legacy users that either become entirely unwieldy or eventually face up to the inevitable need for a radical change and cause far greater inconvenience and user disaffection.
Most noticeable is the progressive shift away from discrete dialogs for each function towards the PropertyManager.
This uses an additional tab in the FeatureManager pane to display context specific information and allow command interactions for sketches and features such as ribs.
This minimises the need for dialog boxes that all too easily obscure the graphics area.
The FeatureManager can be split into two panes so that it can simultaneously display two tabs such as features and properties.
As SolidWorks has become progressively more sophisticated, the number of tabs in the Options dialog has become somewhat unwieldy.
In 2000, only two tabs are required offering tree structure access to System Options and Document Properties.