I recently had the need to delve back into AutoSketch 2.1 (released in October 1995 & my last version). It was the first CAD application I owned and, while it’s ancient, runs on the XP Core 2 Duo box faster that it ever did on a Pentium with Win95!
Does AutoSketch really exist?
It’s been developed since I last used it (now at version 9) and is still sold but seems rather unloved. It appears nothing much has happened for several years and it doesn’t even rate a mention in the “All Products” list on the south-apac Autodesk website. It’s interesting that many of John Walker’s comments about AutoSketch from
1998 1988 (published in the Autodesk File) still apply;
“AutoSketch was designed to give Autodesk an entry in the low-cost drawing market, both in the hope of its becoming a successful product in its own right, and to protect against erosion of the low end of the AutoCAD market by competitors who could expand from such a foothold by upgrading their products (as Generic CADD has done, precisely as we predicted and feared).
The product was previewed at the first AutoCAD Expo in 1986 and shipped in November of that year. Development of the product through shipment consumed approximately one man-year, involving senior development staff exclusively.
Following its shipment, the product was essentially ignored by Autodesk's marketing and sales effort as well as the development group until the establishment of the AutoSketch #1 Team in 1988. Recently some technical resources have been expended on the product, initially to create versions for hardware bundling deals and the PS/2, and now to add some user-requested features to the product.
AutoSketch is evaluated in the Marketing/Sales plan as ``falling behind the fast moving market of Low-End CAD and Graphics software'. No wonder--it's remarkable that a product on which no serious work has been done in two years is a contender at all…”
So is it any good?
In some ways even v2.1 shows up it’s much more recent big brother. Back in 1995 it had a macro recorder, new in AutoCAD 2009, and I think it’s still got a better Array command!
Starting with the top L/H box to create this array required picking (or entering) the two overall Row/Column distances, ticking "Fit" Rows/Columns and entering the number of items (to fit within the selected distance) in the Array dialog which even has a preview/change/apply action. How would you do this in OOTB AutoCAD today?
Maybe it does have a future?
The AutoSketch Discussion Group has a fairly recent post from Autodesk Product Manager Lisa Crounse about the future of AutoSketch. I was surprised to see it as wondered if it had “a current”, never mind a future! There is a link to a survey and quite a few responses. If you have an opinion get involved.
Help shape the future of AutoSketch!
We are currently doing some research around AutoSketch and we'd like your input…
Speaking of the future, maybe AutoCAD 2010’s Array will catch up with AutoSketch 1995
Related post: AutoSketch 2.1 creates a DWF!